Thursday, September 29, 2011
Now that the RSS has given a slap on Vajpayee's face, it is up to him to show that he is not a hypocrite by quitting public life as Bajrang Dal has demanded. Vajpayee is already at the foothills of the Himalayas, and he can continue to stay there at his son-in-law's ill gotten and illegally acquired 5-star hotel, and save the country from his insincere pontifications. While in office Vajpayee did nothing about Narendra Modi. Now that he has lost, he should not behave like a rat on a sinking ship. It will further disgrace him and add to his history of disgraceful behaviour as in Quit India Movement in 1942, during the Emergency during 1975-77, and in the Indian Airlines hijack episode in Kandhahar in 1999.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
From News Archives:Either Swamy considers himself oversmart or counts his new age followers/Sangh fanboys as ignorants if not morons. I can't understand how can any person change his belief system in TOTO and turnaround 180 degrees at Swamy's age. I hope it is not some issue related to degeneration of mind given Swamy's habit of making wildest claims
Swamy wants VHP banned (Jan 23,2001)
Swamy criticises Kanchi Acharya's mediation (March 7,2002)
Invoke POTO against VHP leaders: Swamy (March 8, 2002)
Omnipresent Sarvagnya Swamy then disappeared from SNN coverage area and made his presence felt at Sant Ramdev's anti-corruption yatra in Madhya Pradesh. Speaking at a self-promotional press conference in Indore, Swamy continued his tirade against Chidambaram, termed him a "traitor" and claimed that he has proofs for Chiddu's anti-national activities and Rs.50,000 crore deposit in foreign banks. Swamy suggested an international conspiracy hatched out by Chiddu,ISI and one well known UK firm to pump fake currency into India. It seems he is waiting for the right kind of Muhoort or he is still drafting the evidences before he releases them to the public.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
A disillusioned and dispirited RSS has set the ball rolling for mid-term general elections in which it hopes that the BJP will gain an absolute majority and implement the Hindutva agenda.
THE situation in India today is characterised and manifested by creeping fascism. Never before in our history have we been confronted by such an almost invisible phenomenon. India has seen a crawling imperialism (1750-1947) when foreign traders turned me rcenary protectors, and then slowly became our masters. But that process took a century to consummate and another century to unwind. The Indian people have also experienced the Emergency (1975-77) that came upon the land in a flash and went out much the same way. Nevertheless we had got a taste of dictatorship of the modern state in that short period. We had felt it, hated it, but then the nation also revolted against it.
Today the creeping fascism of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is coming upon us not as gradually as imperialism did, nor as suddenly as did the Emergency. Its spread is being calibrated adroitly by seven faceless men of the RSS, the RSS "high comma nd". We barely feel it. Some yesteryear civil libertyites such as Arun Shourie have been co-opted. Others are being wooed or chased.
But the RSS leaders are now in their late seventies, some not at all in good health, and so in a mood of frustration. Their glide to a total capture of Delhi's gaddi (throne) has been interrupted and put on 'hold'. Symbolically, the bhagwa dhwaj (saffron double triangle flag) does not yet flutter from the Red Fort; but the hated tricolour which no RSS office can hoist even on August 15, still does. The climb to total power is up a slippery slope. Having come so close, the RSS could lose it all in a sudden throw of the electoral dice. That is the frustration; so close yet so far. Last April, my tea party nearly put their goal out of reach. It was a close call.
So the RSS warhorses recently have chalked out a game plan: the "Final Solution". The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the National Agenda for Governance, they concluded, cannot go on forever. It must be ended at some poi nt. Otherwise the danger is that the RSS may.
Between the 1998 and 1999 general elections, the BJP had for the first time in 15 years and after six general elections, hit a plateau in Lok Sabha seats won. Its tally was stuck at 182 seats. The tally of its "allied parties" - which do not believe in H indutva - rose in terms of numbers (18 to 24), as well in terms of seats won (80 to 120). This rang alarm bells in the RSS. For an organisation that has been banned three times in 15 years, the 1999 election results naturally, justifiably, caused neurosi s in the RSS. Under the compulsions of the coalition calculus, they have had to dilute their goals for the rewards of office. It was a trade-off: a BJP Prime Minister meant acquiring national and international legitimacy they never had before. It also me ant a conspiracy of silence of the intellectuals in the creeping advance of their Hindutva goals.
But then there is a downside to that trade-off: the RSS cadre is disillusioned and disspirited with the compromises and the stunting. India is nowhere the Hindu Rashtra that the high command had been promising, and on which they had been weaned and brain -washed. The cadres' patience is now wearing thin. They want to strike out on their own even at the cost of losing power. I have seen this mindset before. Between 1977 and 1980, in the undivided Janata Party, I had witnessed the agony in the cadre. At th at time the same trade-offs were pointed out to the disgruntled rank and file by the high command. But the welling of sentiment could not be capped. The seven (younger men then) had therefore to act. They had to abandon the compromises in order to keep t he Janata unity. They thus allowed the government to fall, and then went on their own to form the BJP.
The current situation for the RSS is also characterised by the same paradigm. The RSS has, according to reliable sources, made up its mind that the NDA has taken its cause about as far as it could. The trade-off is no more worth it. Therefore the groundw ork has to be laid clandestinely and in small doses for achieving an absolute majority for the BJP. In other words, in the not-too-distant future, I believe the RSS will call for a mid-term poll when it feels that the ground has been prepared. The RSS ju ggernaut is thus on the move, and the groundwork is already there for the discerning to see. For this to fructify, the RSS has drawn up a game plan which has three components.
The second component of the RSS game plan is to shake public confidence in every institution that can circumscribe or act as a speed-breaker for the RSS juggernaut. The Law Minister has already initiated moves to emasculate the Supreme Court via the judi cial commission and by threatening political monitoring of judicial ethics. Just in case his ilk got too rebellious, he has threatened to amend the law (through an ordinance) to permit foreign lawyers to practise in Indian courts. Briefless Jaffna lawyer s are waiting to fill the vacuum.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister has elevated an RSS activist to the post of a selector of teachers in the National Council for Educational Research and Training, a person who defends his credentials of valour by recording that he once had s hot dead a young Muslim girl to protect her honour and to end her misery while she was being gang-raped by Hindu youth during Partition. That, of course, is Hindutva justice: that is, the minorities can best look forward to liberation through mercy killi ng.
Christians are being targeted by the front organisations of the RSS in order to terrorise and ghetto-ise all minorities. Since Osama bin Laden is stalking the Hindustan peninsula with his millions of dollars and narcotics, for the wily and cautious RSS. Christians are an easy target because there are no Christian terrorists to retaliate. As the period of the Emergency clearly demonstrated, the RSS is astute enough to know when to hunt with the hounds and when to run with the hares. They are smarter than the German fascists in this respect.
The third component of the RSS game plan is to ready the blueprints for implementing the agenda. Of course they cannot implement it in the present Parliament, but it will be their USP (unique selling proposition) for the mid-term poll. They have already scripted the new history texts; they have sent into circulation amongst the faithful how the new Constitution of India should be structured.
ACCORDING to a draft circulated at the 1998 October conference of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), an RSS front organisation, the following measures are planned: The present bicameral Parliament would be replaced by a three-tier structure. At the apex will be a Guru Sabha of sadhus and sanyasis (read VHP activists) nominated by the President who is elected by a Lok Sabha constituted on a limited electoral college of primary and secondary school teachers, the rolls of which will be prepared by the HRD Ministry and not the Election Commission. All legislation and money bills will have to originate in the Guru Sabha and be passed by it before being sent to the Lok Sabha. The Guru Sabha will also be the judicial commission to nominate Supreme Court Judges, and impeach them. In between the Guru Sabha and the Lok Sabha, there will be a Raksha Sabha of serving armed forces chiefs and retired soldiers who can decide when to declare an Emergency. India would be, it seems, converted into a state w hich is a cross between the Taliban and the Vatican. It is for this scheme that they will seek a mandate in a mid-term poll.
The RSS game plan also has proposals to bridle the electoral system. Adult suffrage is out, but furthermore, the electoral college for the Lok Sabha will not vote for candidates, but for parties under a List System. Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in all the constituencies. Perhaps it is then easier to rig the outcome. After all, in the 1999 general elections, the BJP and its allies won 34 out of the 45 Lok Sabha constituencies which had EVMs. On that ratio, the NDA should have won 405 se ats of the 544 Lok Sabha constituencies and not 292. EVMs have to be programmed by an engineer to tabulate the votes in its memory. It can easily be programmed to transfer votes of one candidate to another, or one party to another. The EVMs are entirely unsafeguarded today. I suspect it was rigged in the 1999 general elections.
The RSS game plan is thus ready. Only the D-Day for the blitzkrieg is to be determined. Since it appears that the RSS has already been generating momentum on religious fundamentalist issues (for example, Gujarat's Ram temple) and raised the fanatical emo tional temperature (chasing of Christian missionaries), my guess is that this campaign will be taken to a fever pitch by November 9, 2001 (the 1986 date for shilanyas) and then mid-term elections will be called.
Prime Minister Vajpayee will as usual waffle and wobble, but he will not resist. That is his nature; he is a mask for the RSS, as Commissar Govindacharya had once said.
Of course, the good news is that the game plan can fail. I live on the hope that in India, no well-laid plan ever works. India, after all, is a functioning anarchy. That has been the undoing of every attempt to straitjacket its society. That is why we ar e still the longest continuing unbroken civilisation of over 10,000 years. The RSS is, luckily, our counter-culture. The vibrations of Mother India will, I hope, be its undoing.
Even Today Swamy sees jaitley as a roadblock to his tie up plans with BJP
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy today demanded dismissal of Defence Minister George Fernandes alleging he was a ``national security risk.''
Swamy, in a letter to President K R Narayanan, said sacked Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat's remarks on Fernandes had ``confirmed that the present Defence Minister is a national security risk and should be sacked either by the Prime Minister or by your intervention.''
Alleging that Fernandes was ``deeply involved'' with the LTTE, Swamy told reporters here ``Our Defence Minister has humiliated our top naval officer at the bidding of the Eelam.'' http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19990224/ipo24011.html
Interestingly and unsurprisingly, Swamy joined hands with George Fernandes to launch "Rashtriya Swabhiman Manch" in 2004 http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20041012/nation.htm#23
Monday, September 12, 2011
Subramanian Swamy’s Islamophobic outbursts in the July 16th edition of DNA did not come as a surprise to many. The maverick always displayed a knack for hogging the limelight throughout his political career. For many years now had been displaying an extreme anti-Muslim attitude despite having close professional as well as family relations with Muslims. However, this was not always the case. As late as the early to mid-90s Swamy was the most vocal critic of Hindutva. Lest anyone, including Swamy, has any doubts about this we only need to go as far as 1993.
On March 13, 1993 Swamy gave a speech at the Madina Education Centre in Hyderabad on the topic, “Demolition of Babri Masjid and Aftermath.”A verbatim transcript of the speech was published in the April, 4-11, 1993 issue of The Anti-Corruption and was also brought out as a booklet by Madina Publications. A comparison of the DNA article with this speech reveals how radically his views have changed in the short span of 18 years.
In that article Swamy had stated that RSS, VHP, BJP, and other affiliates are not ‘pro-Hindu’ but ‘anti-Muslim’ organizations. ‘After the Babri Masjid demolition, the first thing we must do, is to disabuse the minds of the people, that RSS stands for Hindus…they have vulgarized the name Hindu, like Hitler, in the name of nationalism, vulgarized the meaning of nationalism,’ he had stated.
Dr. Swamy now wants to scrap Article 370. But in his 1993 speech he had asked why the Hindutva parties only talk about Article 370 and not about articles 371 (A),( B), ( C) and‘ so many articles and subsections of article 371 which say that in areas of Himachal Pradesh the outsiders cannot buy land.’
‘In Mizoram outsiders cannot buy land. In Arunachal you cannot buy land, there are so many states where you can’t buy land,’ he continues.
Answering his own question he says that the Hindutva leaders only talk about 370 because that will mean ‘something harmful will happen to Muslims.’
He now raises concerns about the Muslim rise in population. But in 1993 he had stated that there is no scientific evidence to show that the Muslims will become demographic majority in the near future. He had attributed the slightly higher Muslim birthrate to the differences in per capita incomes. ‘If you bring the per capita income of Muslims on the same level as of Hindus, the difference in growth could disappear.’
Swamy calls for removal of Gyan Vapi mosque and the construction of temples on the sites of 300 other mosques. In the 1993 speech he had stated that the Hindutva forces rake up the issue of Kashi Vishwanath and others to ‘collect crores of rupees for it.’ He had then also stated that the ‘Ram Lalla Mandir must be demolished, because it is not a mandir, it is built on sin, it is built on treachery. It is built on deceit, it is not built according to Agama Shastras.’ As a way of getting out of the deadlock he had supported the view of the Babri Masjid Action Committee that it be resolved by independent enquiry committees.
Swamy now calls on conversions to be prohibited, scrapping of Muslim personal law, and the essential reduction of Muslims to second class citizens. In his 1993 speech challenging the Hindu right he had asked: ‘Does it say in Hinduism, that you have no right to preach other religions except your own religion? It does not matter what the Muslims are doing to their minorities in Saudi Arabia. Even in Pakistan or anywhere. We are not going to imitate them. Our society is different. It came out of a joint struggle of Hindus and Muslims. It is true that some Muslims didn’t want to be a part, but didn’t some Muslims want the Muslims to be a part of India.’
Swamy’s ideological journey has made many twists and turn over the years. That would have been inconsequential in another age. But in the current atmosphere of violent Islamophobic hate, as is evident most recently from Norway, hateful rhetoric can very easily lead to violent action against minorities. It is heartening to know that Swamy’s fulminations have been condemned a cross-section of the society. At the same time it is sad that one strong votary of peaceful coexistence has transformed himself into a merchant of hate.
- Ayub Khan
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Extracts from chat with Dr.Swamy, March 23,1998
"The denial of a ministership to me despite my qualifications reflects more on those who denied it to me"
"I did not want to be the finance minister. Since my name was proposed I was happy because it would enable me to apply some of the prescriptions I have been writing about for the last 25 years. Abolition of personal income tax, financing a southern rivers water grid and making Bombay and Tuticorin free ports like Hong Kong"
"I did not want to be the finance minister. Since my name was proposed I was happy because it would enable me to apply some of the prescriptions I have been writing about for the last 25 years. Abolition of personal income tax, financing a southern rivers water grid and making Bombay and Tuticorin free ports like Hong Kong"
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Last week's political crisis has been prompted by none other than Swamy and his new ally, the AIADMK empress, J. Jayalalitha, on whose anxieties and fears he worked on with meticulous care. Swamy had sworn vengeance on the beleaguered Vajpayee almost hours after the BJP-led coalition had lurched into power last April, when he was refused a Cabinet post on the terse instructions of the Sangh Parivar's fountainhead, the RSS. For someone who made his debut in politics with the erstwhile Jan Sangh, the political arm of the RSS, it is apparent that much blood has flowed in the last two decades. After his last humiliation by the Sangh last year, a stung Swamy likened the RSS to ``a drop of lime in a jug of milk,'' while the latter dismissed him like a troublesome fly.
Earlier this year, Dr.Swamy made his presence felt at BSA's anti-corruption rally in Delhi's Ramlila ground.Anna Hazare too was present on the dais. Later on, during Anna's fast in April 2011, 'Team Anna' decided to keep at distance all persons with controversial past. Around the same time our Swamy went on record to say "Mr. Hazare was a man of great dedication and a great asset to the country. Mr. Hazare was surrounded by those who belonged to the non-government organisations who are bogus. The social activist required the support of politicians to handle politicians"http://www.hindu.com/2011/04/20/stories/2011042065851200.htm
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
• When Mr. R Venkatraman, in his book wrote about how he returned the file of the appointment of Roxana Subramanian Swamy as Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court to the then Prime Minister Mr. Swamy accused Venkataraman of having given shelter at the Rashtrapati Bhawan to an Indian naval officer who confessed to have been a spy for Pakistan. Mr Swamy also said that part of the book was written because Venkataraman knew he was investigating a case against Venkataraman's daughter that she had misused the Rashtrapati Bhawan stationery to collect Rs 18 crore for a private Trust which she misrepresented as being an official Trust. A cinema-esque quality if conjuring up things.
• He incessantly attacked Late Mr. Rajiv Gandhi but later he pretended to be very close to him claiming the fact that Rajiv Gandhi wanted him to be the Prime Minister of India but he generously passed on the gift to Chandra Shekhar. This all in just a span of two years.
• Not only lies, when he was serving as a law minister in Chandra Shekhar's Cabinet he tried to avoid an investigation against corrupt Supreme Court judge by taking the view that the motion of impeachment had lapsed on the dissolution of the House. This act was clearly anti-law and quite close to being called anti-India.
• N.K. Singh, the then CBI Joint Director was investigating the St. Kitts forgery case in which Chandraswami , Mr Swamy's close friend was an accused, Mr Swamy and his machinery transferred Mr. Singh which delayed all the investigations for atleast two years. So, all this anti-corruption talk does not suit him.
• It has also been proven in the court that Mr. Swamy passes contentious and mindless remarks about people around him. Mr. Ramjethmalani sued him for making defamatory during hearing of a case under the M.C. Jain Commmision Inquiry in which the former was acting as a counsel for Ms. Jayalalitha who had been alleged for links with LTTE. Mr. Jethmalani won the defamation suit and Mr. Swamy had to pay him Rs. 5 Lakhs as a compensation.
In a dramatic but not an unexpected development, former Chief Minister and AIADMK (J) general secretary J Jayalalitha on Thursday announced an `understanding' between her party and the Janata Party headed by Subramanian Swamy.The once bitter political foes, Jayalalitha and Subramanian Swamy, met at the AIADMK party headquarters to formally `cement' the recent coming-together of the two parties. ``We have decided to work together,'' Jayalalitha declared at a crowded media conference at her party office after her 30-minute meeting with the Janata Party president, whom she had once said she would ``crush like a mosquito''."Circumstances are different today. This is nothing new in politics, where there are no permanent friends nor foes,'' she replied to a barrage of questions from scribes. Jayalalitha said that she had not tried to `finish' anyone politically. ``It is not a question of profit or loss. It is just that like-minded parties have come together.''The understanding between the two parties would involve ``working and fighting together on issues of common interest. We have already been working together at the ground level. We will continue to fight injustice, protect democracy and people's rights,'' she added.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Outlook Magazine, March 23,1998: IT is common knowledge that there is no love lost between Atal Behari Vajpayee and Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, whom Jayalalitha desperately wanted as finance minister of a BJP-led government. But few are aware of Swamy's autobiography serialised in the Tamil weekly Kumudham, where he has poured venom and vitriol on Vajpayee and cast aspersions on his private life. The serial titled Swami and Friends—a Few Enemies Too was published in early 1997.
Here are some excerpts from the magazine which explain why Vajpayee "cannot stand the sight of Swamy":
Issue dated February 20, 1997
WHEN the Morarji Desai-led Janata government came to power by defeating the Congress, many expected that I would get a cabinet berth for my outstanding resistance to the Emergency. But, Atal Behari Vajpayee interfered and spoiled it. Just to get out of the prison on parole, Vajpayee had given a letter of apology to Indira Gandhi and had created a bad precedence. But he had the 91 MPs of the Jan Sangh under his control. He could not stomach the fame I got as an 'Emergency hero'. Further, he was desperately trying to cover the humiliation of his all-out surrender before Indira. He tricked Morarji Desai into giving me just a minister of state...
"As the then external affairs minister, Vajpayee tried his best to prevent me from visiting China and he indeed succeeded for a year. However, in 1978, Morarji paved the way for my China visit. Morarji accepted only my ideas about China and totally rejected Vajpayee's readings. Vajpayee's only concern was to please the Soviet Union. His continuation as the external affairs minister was based on his having 91 Jan Sangh MPs under his thumb and only because of this numerical strength he was not removed from the foreign office...
"Though Charan Singh got a bad name for pulling down the Morarji government, the real culprits are Vajpayee and Ramakrishna Hegde. They deliberately engineered a duel between Charan Singh and Morarji and in the process pushed down Morarji. It was Vajpayee and Hegde who met the president with the letter claiming support of 279 MPs. Out of this 23 MPs' signatures were forged. Investigative agencies alerted the president and he made it public. A shocked Morarji resigned and withdrew from the public life. In fact, on that day Hegde and Vajpayee should have quit public life."
Issue dated March 20, 1997
MORARJI and Charan Singh are known for their morality. But some immoral elements in the Janata (regime) calculated their personal gain by creating a wedge between them. For instance, Vajpayee was embarrassed when Morarji sternly warned him to stop drinking. In Delhi the Japanese external affairs minister had organised a party. Vajpayee, who was present there as India's external affairs minister, was drunk. I was also invited for that dinner. I was shocked to see the external affairs minister fully intoxicated...
"When Morarji asked me, I told him everything. Then, in front of me, he summoned Vajpayee and abused him. But Vajpayee did not open his mouth. He was standing there like a student caught redhanded for stealing by a teacher. As a retaliation and to keep Morarji within limits, Vajpayee sowed poison in Charan Singh's mind. It was Vajpayee who first planted the idea of prime ministership in the mind of Charan Singh. He kept meeting Morarji and Charan Singh separately and started spreading stories against each other. Popular perception is that it was Charan Singh who broke Janata. But the fact is that it was Vajpayee who destroyed the fort called Janata.
"Morarji and Charan Singh are like Kaikeyee of the Ramayana. In the Janata Ramayana, Kooni's role was played by Vajpayee."
Issue dated April 24, 1997
AFTER the 1977 general elections, based on the assurances given by Vajpayee and Nana Goray, Jagjivan Ram was confident of becoming the PM. The Jan Sangh had 102 MPs and the Socialists had 35 and Jagjivan Ram had 27 MPs. That is, out of 318 MPs, nearly half of them were behind Jagjivan Ram. But when Charan Singh clearly expressed that his choice was only Morarji Desai, Vajpayee did a silent somersault and met JP and said that he was willing to change his support. I was there with JP when Vajpayee came running—panting for breath—and expressed his support to Morarji. Jayaprakash Narain turned towards me and winked his gleaming eyes and smiled. Poor Jagjivan Ram was not aware of these developments."
Sunday, September 4, 2011
When I was a kid, I was fooling around, one time, with a thermometer. It slipped out of my hand, and broke. My dad gave me, in that order, a clout on the back of the head and an order that every bit of the remains be picked up, pronto.
The shards of glass were easy. The nightmare, for me, began when I tried to scoop up the little blobs of mercury. I was too young to spell "impotent" then, or to understand its meaning. But impotence is what I felt then, as I chased those elusive blobs along the polished floor, under the sofas... dammit, you would think when you get something cornered against a wall you got a chance against it, but no way...
Now it is my editor's turn to reduce me to similar impotence. Which he did by the simple expedient of demanding a profile of Subramanian Swamy. Two days of chasing a paper trail later, I find myself wondering why I made a fuss about a few blobs of mercury, that time... compared to this job, that was a piece of cake.
It was about three-and-a-half years ago that I had my last encounter with the gentleman. At the time, I was with The Sunday Observer, and was deputed to go to Madras and cover the mega-profile marriage of Jayalalitha's adopted son with the grand-daughter of celluloid icon, Chevalier Shivaji Ganesan.
On the day I landed in town, Subramanian Swamy was hosting a press conference at the Janata Party office in the TN capital, so I happened along. And listened to him describe his trials and tribulations at the hands of Jayalalitha's police -- the story, way Dr Swamy told it, made him out to be a cross between the Scarlet Pimpernel and James Bond.
At the end of the briefing, I handed over my visiting card and asked for an interview. "Sunday Observer?" Dr Swamy scoffed. "That anti-national paper?" (Dr Swamy is big on "anti-national" -- you sometimes suspect that he uses the phrase as synonymous with 'anti-Swamy').
Why so, I demanded. "Didn't you carry an interview with that fellow Gopalaswamy?" (A reference to V Gopalaswamy, leader of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam). "The fellow who hobnobs with the LTTE, risking India's security?"
I pointed out that we had also carried an extensive interview with former IAS officer turned Swamy acolyte Chandralekha. "She needs the publicity, I don't," shrugged Dr Swamy, apparently confusing a newspaper with a handbill.
It was this memory that came most vividly to mind when the news broke that for the 1998 general election, the BJP would ally, in Tamil Nadu, with J Jayalalitha's AIADMK, Subramanian Swamy's Janata Dal, and V Gopalaswamy's MDMK among others.
The turnaround was, frankly, mind-boggling. After all, what was Dr Swamy doing in Tamil Nadu? Carrying out an intense campaign for the ouster of Jayalalitha's government, alleging wholesale corruption by the lady. Who was Dr Swamy's ally in arms? Chandralekha -- who, during her stint with SPIC, refused to sign at Jayalalitha's behest papers that were aimed at putting the government-owned concern's shares on the open market, and who for her pains got her face marred with acid.
"Jayalalitha has turned out to be a failure as chief minister," he said, at the time. "Her continuance would mean the return of forces that are not conducive to our national interests (there goes the anti-national refrain again). She has slackened her efforts against the LTTE".
And lo -- today, there stands Dr Swamy, with the "corrupt" Jayalalitha and the "anti-national" Gopalaswamy wrapped tight in his political embrace.
Then again, why would this come as a particular surprise? The man's political career has seen more ideological hairpin bends than National Highway 17. Starting with his return to India from Harvard, where he was professor of economics. "I left behind a sure chance of winning the Nobel Prize," Dr Swamy, whose worst enemies have never found cause to accuse him of being a modestly shrinking violet, said of that return.
His stint as professor of mathematical economics at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, was marked by open warfare with the Leftist lobby led by the likes of P N Haksar, Mohan Kumaramangalam and Nurul Hassan. Swamy was sacked -- and a long, acrimonious and eventually successful court case followed.
During that period, he joined the Jan Sangh, and worked closely with the likes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And it was during this phase that the legend of "Sherlock Swamy" had its genesis.
At the time, then prime minister Indira Gandhi was on a major anti-corruption kick. Which continued until, out of the blue, Dr Swamy stood up in Parliament and challenged her on the issue of -- wait for this -- her elder daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi.
Sonia, Dr Swamy claimed -- with documentary evidence in support -- was at the time functioning as a benami insurance agent for Oriental Fire and General Insurance Company, and had in fact given her office address as 1, Safdarjung Road -- the prime minister's official residence.
Under fire, Indira Gandhi finally got her daughter-in-law to give up her 'employment'.
This made him a hero in Jan Sangh circles, that lasted through the Emergency. Until the Jayaprakash Narayan-inspired wave catapulted the Janata Party into office. And Vajpayee got a taste of what it means to thwart Dr Swamy's ambitions -- specifically, his planned trip to China and his desire to be included in the delegation to the United Nations.
In due course the Janata government fell, and Indira Gandhi returned to power. Sitting in the Opposition, Vajpayee began a campaign in Parliament against the Congress government withdrawing all pending charges against the Galadhari brothers of Dubai.
Dr Swamy saw his chance, and struck -- hard. Flourishing a copy of the concerned Cabinet note, Swamy cut the ground out from under Vajpayee by pointing out that it was Vajpayee himself who had, as external affairs minister in the Morarji Desai Cabinet, recommended that the charges be dropped in the interest of India's relations with Arab nations.
"It was good fun," Dr Swamy was to say, later, about that episode wherein he added to his enemy's embarrassment a personal touch, with scandalous stories about the private life of India's most famous political bachelor. " tried to play mischief with me, and I responded when the opportunity came my way."
The landscape of Indian polity is strewn with the victims of "Sherlock" Swamy.
There is Ramakrishna Hegde, the Mister Clean of Indian politics. Whose image was forever tarnished when Dr Swamy dug up, first, the telephone tapping scandal and then the urban land scam, under the cumulative weight of which Hegde resigned the office of chief minister of Karnataka.
Vishwanath Pratap Singh -- the man who rode his anti-Bofors crusade to the prime ministership, only to be ambushed by Dr Swamy. First, by having his name linked to the Bofors scandal with a stream of documentary evidence. Then, in a reprise of the Hegde episode, through allegations that Singh was having his political foes investigated. This charge however boomeranged when the letter Swamy produced, purportedly written by Singh to American investigator Michael Hershman asking that the latter investigate the foreign assets of various political VIPs, was proven to be a forgery.
A bit chastened, Dr Swamy bounced back by engineering the defection of Ajit Singh at the head of a band of 20 Janata Dal MPs, that destabilised the fall of the Singh regime. It must have tickled Dr Swamy's sense of political humour that the defection took place on the very day Singh was celebrating the second anniversary of his government's acceptance of the Mandal Commission report.
"If you want to split any of your journalist bodies, come to me," a gleeful Dr Swamy publicly chortled on that occasion.
The beneficiary then was Chandra Shekhar -- the man against whom Dr Swamy had earlier fought a bitter, public duel for presidency of the Janata Dal, and who he, in one of his memorable turnarounds, was now backing for the post of prime minister.
This, of course, led to a headline-grabbing stint in the Shekhar Cabinet, as minister for law and commerce. A stint that saw Dr Swamy, a misguided missile if ever there was one, shoot his own government in the foot by claiming, in an interview to David Housego of the Financial Times that the government's decision to raise import duties was a "panic reaction".
And then, of course, there was the famous, and prolonged, crusade against Jayalalitha. In course of which he accused her of systematically buying up half of Madras city, of sponsoring over a dozen attempts to murder him, of going soft on the LTTE, of being, what else, 'anti-national'...
Intriguingly, only one person has ever remained immune from the long and much-bloodied knife Swamy has wielded through his almost three decades in politics -- Rajiv Gandhi, to give him a name. Pointedly, Dr Swamy's anti-Bofors diatribes, which touched at various times on Arun Nehru, V P Singh, Ram Jethmalani and even George Fernandes, always stopped short of Rajiv's name.
Why did he never investigate Bofors, as he has probed much else? "Why should I?" he demanded. "There are so many others doing it, I don't have to reinvent the wheel."
One aspect of Dr Swamy's functioning that has always intrigued observers is the amazing facility with which he digs up documentary evidence on his target of the movement.
Dr Swamy himself once explained his success by pointing out that his father was a former secretary to the Government of India, and his father-in-law a high profile ICS officer. "I know people in the right places," he gloated.
There is, too, consensus that the fraternity of Tamil Brahmins, who are all-pervasive within the Indian administrative framework, has been of immense help to Dr Swamy. To cite just one instance, during the height of his anti-V P Singh crusade, Dr Swamy publicly asked for help from the finance ministry. Then finance secretary S Venkitaraman ordered the then enforcement director, Bhure Lal, to meet Dr Swamy and give him the requisite information. And when Bhure Lal demanded written authorisation to talk to a person not part of the government, Venkitaraman promptly put his order on paper, under his imprimatur.
Swamy-watchers of long standing, thus, maintain that almost every single one of his coups has come courtesy the 'Tam-Brahm' network. A word in season thus put Dr Swamy on the track of Sonia's part-time employment. A party-time whisper indicated to Dr Swamy that Vajpayee was vulnerable in the Galadhari brothers incident. The Hegde phone-tap scandal was reportedly laid out for him by disaffected elements within the state bureaucracy...
And therein lies the real danger Dr Swamy poses to his enemies -- his ability to dig up the dirt, thanks to a largely helpful bureaucracy. This could explain, too, why the Bharatiya Janata Party, last week, showed itself determined to turn down Jayalalitha's demand that Dr Swamy be made a part of the Vajpayee Cabinet -- the last thing you need is to have a 'friend' accumulating evidence which will, sooner or later, be turned against you.
The BJP's reluctance to break bread with Dr Swamy owes, too, to perhaps the one political consistency in a largely inconsistent career -- Subramanian Swamy has been, and remains, a BJP-hater.
Sample sound-bites from the man give an indicator of his mindset:
"I think the BJP is a joke. It is a party of semi-literates, and has fascist tendencies. Such a party can never have real roots in India because Hinduism is the antithesis of fascism." This, in April 1991.
"The RSS is an anti-national organisation. The quicker it is disintegrated, the better for India. Today the RSS and BJP are thoroughly marginalised, I do not rate them very highly." This, too, in the same period.
"How did the BJP give Enron a clearance? The 13 days Vajpayee was prime minister, he only cleared that one project. Why?... Why do they drink Coca-Cola in their working committee meetings, and not nimbu-paani?" -- this, as late as February 1998, BJP-AIADMK alliance was announced, in an interview to Shobha Warrier of Rediff.
All of which, coupled with the contretemps involving Vajpayee, explains the BJP's determination that it would rather not form a government, than do so at the cost of accomodating Dr Swamy in the Cabinet.
Examine the Swamy flip-flops down the years, and "immoral" is an adjective that springs to mind.
Then you think a bit, and wonder whether you should not be amending that to "amoral".
And that is not mere semantic quibbling. "Immoral" implies that you know the difference between black and white, and deliberately choose the darker colour. "Amoral" on the other hand implies that the gent in question is, in this context, totally, completely colour blind.
And that describes Dr Swamy to a T -- as far as he is concerned, "right" is defined by what suits him at the moment. And "wrong", by whatever thwarts his progress towards he alone knows what destination, which destiny.
Check out a few choice Swamy sound clips:
"I bring glory to an office. The post does not bring glory to me!" -- this, when asked if he ever hungered for power.
"Swamy is not known in the country because of a post or a party, or because be keeps hangers on. Swamy is known as Swamy, because he is Swamy."
"As a good Brahmin, I think any money being given to me is dakshina. I will accept money from anybody as long as it is Indian. As a good Brahmin, it is my right to accept money. When I ask a businessman to five me money I speak as if I am demanding it. I collect money for my party, my personal life has not been aggrandised by it." -- this, on his attitude to taking 'political contributions' from industrialists and assorted moneybags.
On the surface, what do those statements symptomise? Incredible arrogance? Or unbelievable naivete?
You pays your money, and you takes your choice!
That Subramanian Swamy could write the definitive guide on How to Make Enemies and Antagonise People is a given.
The question -- that elusive blob of quicksilver that dances tantalisingly in front of you -- is, why?
What drives the man?
A sheer spirit of freewheeling anarchy, or is there something more to it?
One possible answer probably lurks in a famous Swamy sound-bite, of 1979 vintage: "I have a feeling of destiny. I know in ten years time I will be prime minister."
Exactly ten years later, Dr Swamy was asked to give his personal progress report. "That ambition remains, nothing has gone wrong with it. I am within striking distance of that ambition. I am well educated, I am known all over the country, I am more capable than most people around, all I need is a vote bank and an organisation."
That same year, he was asked who he would like to see as the next prime minister. The response: "Next to me, I would like Chandra Shekhar to succeed Rajiv Gandhi."
Could unbridled -- some would say unrealistic -- personal ambition hold the key to the political gadfly's destructive path?
Or is it just coincidence that his victim of the moment is whoever appears to be getting that share of the public spotlight that he deems his due -- a Vajpayee, a Hegde, a V P Singh, whoever?
In Subramanian Swamy, have we found the ultimate exemplar of the chaos theory? Destroy whatever you see, destroy anything and everything that comes up, in the hope -- or belief -- that when all else is ruin and rubble, you alone will remain whole. And, by default, become leader, even if you are left with aught else but rubble to rule over?
Dr Swamy the tormentor of the high and politically mighty, we know. But is that Dr Swamy, himself, tormented by his own personal demon -- ambition?
Are we looking at the political equivalent of a child crying for the moon?
Rediff Special, posted in 1998: http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/mar/17sswamy.htm
Saturday, September 3, 2011
I met JP first in USA in 1968, when he came on a tour sponsored by an American organization - the Quakers. I was then a Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and had already made a name in the field having collaborated in research with two of the most famous Nobel Prize Winners, Paul Samuelson of MIT and Simon Kuznets of Harvard. In fact both of these Nobel Laureates had said that I too would get some someday the Nobel Prize if I continued to work on my theory of Index numbers, for which I had already achieved fame. But it was that fateful meeting with JP that changed my life and my profession from teaching to politics.
Read Dr.Swamy's experience with JP Narayan here : http://janataparty.org/articledetail.asp?rowid=8
Thursday, September 1, 2011
STATEMENT OF DR.SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY, PRESIDENT OF JANATA PARTY MADE IN CHENNAI ON 03.11.2010
1. The Home Minister Chidambaram’s inane comment on ‘Hindu Terror’ acts is actually a Home Ministry project of 2004-06. With the explicit approval on exercise of her extra-constitutional authority Ms.Sonia Gandhi had instructed the then Intelligence Bureau Director to recruit army, Hindu sadhus and sadhvis on the call of ‘patriotism’ and thus motivated them to commit acts of terror to polarize the Muslim community against Hindus.
2. In 2007, Ms.Gandhi ordered the termination of this clandestine operation that she had order in 2004. She then used the project to discredit the Hindutva movement by targeting innocent and unsuspecting persons, focussing on RSS persons.
3. The framing of the Kanchi Shankaracharya in the Sankaraman murder case was also on the instruction of Ms.Sonia Gandhi to Ms.Sasikala. Ms.Jayalalitha the then CM, being a performing ‘circus lion’ in front of the ‘ring master’ Ms.Sasikala, obliged and hence the Shankaracharya was arrested.
4. The foreign Christian missionary lobby has been against the Shankaracharya because he had tried to co-opt Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes into the Hindutva movement.
5. I therefore welcome the RSS decision to launch a nation wide agitation to expose this slandering and framing of Mr.Indresh Kumar, and the RSS as an organization.