Swamy has made the most of his provenance through the technology of Twitter, his 7.6million mostly young followers attest to his popularity
Passing through Delhi this morning on spec I requested a meeting with Subramanian Swamy, BJP Rajya Sabha member and former Cabinet Minister, but kept out of government this term. Swamy is both revered and feared for his intelligence, wit, and tactics; as it happened, he was in a genial mood and spoke in his relaxed but precise way, without formality or stiffness.
Swamy is at the helm of a youthquake that is sweeping India; he attributes this to an increasingly educated population
First, he considered his some of his achievements, namely relaunching the national desire to fight corruption, eliminating the previous sense of hopelessness that politics equals corruption and no government will be brave enough to prosecute offenders. With his 2G private complaint, he has shown how an individual can use existing laws and government to get results; this case is now in appeal. His 2G case has demonstrated how an ordinary citizen can play a part in the fight against corruption and courtroom delays.
Swamy is proud of how he has raised the feeling of a united India, raising the consciousness of Indians to feel they are one people and have never been defeated by Christianity or Islam. His theory of an ancestral DNA, whereby he claims all Indians are brothers and sisters, has elevated him to the most recognised leader of Indian consciousness.
Since 1990 and following his work with fellow economists Paul Samuelson and Simon Kuznets, Swamy has promoted the concept of economic and social progress driven by incentives, not by controls; he believes his prescriptions will make India a developed nation in ten years.
Of the Indian Prime Ministers to date, Swamy most admires PV Narasimha Rao for his ability to get things done, Rajiv Gandhi for his open-mindedness and receptiveness to good ideas. He credits Rajiv Gandhi’s decision to program the Ramayana and Mahabharat on Doordarshan TV channel as the beginnings of Hindutva. And compliments Rajiv Gandhi’s decision to open the locks of the Babri Majid and allowing the foundation stone for a Hindu Temple to be laid. Swamy also praised Morarji Desai and Chandra Shekhar for their instant decision making. Then he ventured into three qualities he considers necessary in a Prime Minister, first and foremost adherence to the principle in the Bhagwad Gita, be devoid of ego and control your actions to achieve the desired outcomes, ego denotes inferiority. Second, a PM needs to have excellent team building skills, good teamwork will successfully carry things forward. Thirdly it is very important to have the ability to take risks, as risks bring change.
Swamy is at the helm of a youthquake that is sweeping India; he attributes this to an increasingly educated population, his own education at Harvard and the joint authorship with Samuelson and Kuznets are inspirational to young people today. Also, his legendary escapades during the Emergency seem to have given him folkloric hero status amongst the young, despite multiple arrest warrants he escaped abroad and campaigned against the Emergency. Swamy has made the most of his provenance through the technology of Twitter, his 7.6million mostly young followers attest to his popularity; he is interactive, responding to questions, providing guidance and values. He respects women and has propagated their advancement, he says “female Goddesses have important portfolios, finance, education and defence”.
Theoretically, the government could hand over the land at any time and the building could begin with compensation distributed later
I asked, how his views are so suddenly popular at JNU, where he was barred from 1972-late in 2018. Swamy explains this generation of students have realised the failure of the Soviet Union, China’s economy has had a slow-down and India has the potential to be the equivalent of China. And the real history of India is challenging the colonial narrative. Swamy argues that Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel should all have good bilateral relations with India, he says “unlike other right-wing people I have an ideology that can challenge communists, I have a new relaxed approach for teaching students how to question and merge democracy with socialism.” His nationwide lectures and teachings have re-introduced Indianness and nationalism.
He continues “Hindus accept differences but at the core, all Indians are one, not separate ethnicities.” Swiftly moving on to the subject of caste and the Varna system, he says caste has nothing to do with birth, citing Vishwamitra was not born a Brahmin but became a Brahmarshi, a change of caste can be achieved by learning and sacrifice.
With the election in mind Swamy considers the five essential priorities for the next Prime Minister, most importantly to grow GDP to 10% or preferably 12%, he believes 12% is possible. Second, that agriculture should become an exporting sector, third provide an innovation budget for hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles and for desalinisation plants, and to provide a budget for research and development in medicine/science and technology. Finally, to introduce the de-falsification of Indian history and aim to make Sanskrit the link language in courts, administration and universities. In Swamy’s world, every Indian language from Jamnagar to Dibrugarh and Kashmir to Tamil Nadu would contain Sanskrit words.
On the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, Swamy insists it is up to the government to hand the land over to the VHP, he has proved it is a fundamental rights issue. PVN Rao’s government filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in September 1994 stating on oath that if there was a pre-existing temple before the Masjid was built, then the Government would hand over the land to Hindus to build the Ram Temple, this pre-existence was proved in the Allahabad High Court. Swamy says the land was legitimately nationalised in 1993, the government is apparently waiting for the Title to be decided, but now under section 300A Swamy says “the government is recognised as having eminent domain to let the Supreme Court say who has the title and distribute compensation. Theoretically, the government could hand over the land at any time and the building could begin with compensation distributed later.”
Regarding India’s judiciary he says “broadly speaking I admire it, the workload is huge about 200 cases a day, at the moment the balance is probably 60% left-wing and 40% right-wing” he comments he would like to see the imbalance reduced.
With the budget looming he outlines his wish list, to abolish income tax, raise interest on fixed deposit from 6% to 9% and reduce loan interest rates from 12% to 9%.
He believes in good neighbourly relations with China, noting that India has met China’s core interests vis-à-vis Taiwan and Tibet, but China has not yet reciprocated
Regarding the existential conversation about introducing a structure into Hindu practice, eliminating some of Hinduism’s elasticity, Swamy says “Hinduism from the Vedas is immutable, you cannot change it, Shruti is the real knowledge. Smriti is the code that can be amended at any time and has been by consensus to include modern values. The Constitution is the new Smriti.”
Venturing further afield Swamy is fond of the US and UK, he likes democracies who stood by India during the Emergency, apparently, the BBC was very helpful in presenting the undiluted picture. He wants to foster kinship between democratic societies, he promotes the sharing of knowledge, debate and know how. He believes in good neighbourly relations with China, noting that India has met China’s core interests vis-à-vis Taiwan and Tibet, but China has not yet reciprocated. India thrives on reciprocity, revolving reciprocity advances bilateral relations. Swamy advocates India having a free hand to resolve the issues with Pakistan. He says again that he would like Pakistan to split into four states, Baloch, Sindhu, Pakhtun and residual Punjabi lands.
Regarding the US he says “America expects India to accommodate their interests without reciprocity. India is no longer the junior partner; the US has not used their power to place India on the Security Council”. Swamy says the US is India’s friend, not an ally, he is looking a triangular relationship of equals, India, China, and US. Likewise, he foresees another friendly triangle of India, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, he says “the Shia have been very friendly with Hindus and Saudi Arabia have given India the unique privilege of flying over their airspace, these are priority friendships with mutual benefits.”
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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