Sheila Dikshit: The Last Empress of Delhi
Perhaps the most glorious time that the timeless city of Delhi has seen was when it was ruled by its first female ruler, Razia Sultan. During Razia Sultan’s reign the city of Delhi became the ‘Dilli’ that resides in our hearts today. Another strong female leader that Delhi had the honour of witnessing was Smt. Sheila Dikshit, under whom the city of Delhi was more or less transformed. The former CM of Delhi and a profiled congress leader, Smt. Sheila Dikshit took her last breath on 3:15pm on 20th of July, 2019 after living a long and fulfilling life of 81 years. Her aura attracted even the keenest rivals of hers, to give an ode to her life and passion of administration.
Delhi, infamous among the outsiders for multiple reasons, would not have developed into the world-class city it is today with its extensive metro lines running like veins in a body or its sky high flyovers that ensure that life in Delhi goes on uninterrupted, if it was not for this empress’ mind fare. After running the capital for 15 years, during which she thrice led the Congress party to victory in the Delhi assembly elections, the 76 old year chief suffered a crushing defeat in December 2013. After all the charges and corruption scandals blamed on her, and the attempts to dislodge her from power, this empress stood strong but alas met a fate similar to Razia Sultan.
Very few really understand the position of this lady, who stood unharmed and famed even till her last breath. Ms Dikshit, an avid reader, a follower of Osho and a big fan of music, created for Delhi a system where justice was the guiding principle and it never escaped from the hands of law. Constitutionally, standing as the Chief of Delhi, has the highest risk factor, as one does not have the charge of the police forces in their hands and one’s abilities are tested at every moment of time. However, the Chief of Delhi will answerable to the people, and their answer is considered to be the legitimate one, because the Chief was not a dictator, but an empress who came to power after 3 massive victories in the general elections. Writing the fate of a city was never an easy task, but this woman, standing alone fought and raised her agenda in such a manner, that even her staunchest proponents, did not raise an eyebrow. Throughout the petroleum scandal, this lady emperor, stood straight and looked right in to the eyes of her enemies, and never bowed her head in shame or guilt, she stood up in pride of her image and her lifetime of dedication and hard work. The state governments anti corruption branch filed an FIR against her, for her alleged role in a street light project, implemented prior to the Commonwealth games in 2010 in Delhi. But she never gave up, and stood upright to the forces that tried to break her.
She praised her opponents, for their victories and strengths, even Mr. Kejriwal, who stood as her nemesis and defeated her. “I think Dikshit was worn out during the last months of her regime,” says Sidharth Mishra, author of Capital Phenomenon: A Political History of Delhi, 1998-2009, which had Ms. Dikshit on its cover. “She was unable to communicate to the people the logic of power tariff in Delhi, which is India’s lowest but was still exploited by AAP as if it were very high. She could also not explain that she was not responsible for the inflation and price rise.”
Remarking on Mr. Kejriwal’s lingo — his interviews and speeches are speckled with words common to most urban Indians, such as “setting”, “khundak” (grudge) and “panga” (provocation) — Ms. Dikshit says, “This is not my language. I think Mr. Kejriwal talked so much about corruption that people started feeling finally there here was a messiah who would get rid of it.’’ Whatever the image of Delhi she painted, it was painted with a lot beauty and fascination. The loss of the last empress of Delhi, is a nationwide loss, of an honest and matured politician. We at Caucus extend our deepest regrets at having lost a politician of her stature, and hope that the legacy of Ms. Sheila Dikshit would be carried on just like that of Razia Sultan, for the world rarely comes face to face with a force of such strength and honesty. The fate of Delhi dwindles and rests upon the upcoming elections, at this juncture we must point out, that the blood in Delhi’s veins runs the fastest with a woman at the helm. As the popular saying goes, “What is a king without his queen? Lost and weak. And what is a queen without her king? Historically speaking, more powerful.”