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Former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj with some of the then governors of the Northeastern states at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan in New Delhi on October 6, 2015
Former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj with some of the then governors of the Northeastern states at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan in New Delhi on October 6, 2015|File image
MIZORAM

Thanks to guv husband, Sushma Swaraj considered Mizoram her home

Being First Lady of the NE state from 1990 to 1993, the ex-foreign minister -- who breathed her last on Tuesday -- always worked for betterment of Mizo society

Ezrela Dalidia Fanai

Ezrela Dalidia Fanai

Aizawl: Even though Sushma Swaraj was primarily busy doing her duty as a Union minister or as a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), she had had a strong connection with the people of Mizoram since 1979. Sushma even considered Mizoram her home.

Soon after her marriage with Swaraj Kaushal, one of the most prominent criminal lawyers of the country, way back in 1975, it was Sushma who associated with her husband to secure the release of the then underground Mizo leader Laldenga in the ‘conspiracy trial’ in 1979. After that Swaraj Kaushal became the constitutional adviser to the underground Mizo National Front (MNF) during negotiations with the Centre.

Many years of negotiations resulted in the signing of Mizoram Peace Accord, which he helped write on June 30, 1986 ending 20 years of insurgency. Even though Swaraj Kaushal was associated with these activities in Mizoram officially, it was Sushma who was also closely monitoring all these developments and accordingly, developed her closeness with the Northeast, especially Mizoram. She visited Mizoram on various occasions when Swaraj Kaushal was appointed as the first advocate general of Mizoram, the state’s premier legal officer.

She got the best opportunity to work for the overall development of Mizoram when her husband was appointed as Governor of Mizoram from February 8, 1990 to February 9, 1993. Being the First Lady, she always wanted to do something for the uplift of the Mizo society, especially the women.

Some of the tweets posted by former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj about Mizoram
Some of the tweets posted by former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj about Mizoram
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Zosangliani, a retired officer from the Directorate of Information & Public Relations (DIPR), Mizoram, fondly recollected the time Sushma Swaraj spent with her during those days as the First Lady of the state.

“Sushma was very fond of the traditional Mizo puan [a traditional wraparound]. I would accompany her to the stores where she would purchase them. I would then teach her how to wear it.” She added that the former First Lady of state would ask for a special top to wear with the puan.

Zosangliani narrated how Swaraj wanted to promote the Mizo women engaged with the state handloom industry. “Had I not been into politics, I would certainly work to uplift of the Mizo women while my husband Kaushal is the governor,” she recalled Sushma as saying.

Swaraj also learnt many Mizo words and would often use them when interacting with Mizo people while she was in Mizoram or in New Delhi. “She greeted Mizo people, especially students with lots of affection and love when they pay courtesy visits to her residence in New Delhi,” Zosangliani added. The former Union minister was also very fond of the bamboo dance, Cheraw.

Meanwhile, Mizoram CM Zoramthanga has also Tweeted about the sad demise of Sushma Swaraj saying he had always considered her as his sister.

Mizoram news groups on Facebooks also paid tribute to the former minister posting various Tweets she made about the state.

The former external affairs minister died on Tuesday night following a heart attack at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. She was 67.