Part 1 of this article can accessed ‘here’. This is part 2
Rajiv Malhotra: I was driving one day and happened to hear an interview with Anil Bokil on the National Public Radio. He represents the Arth Kranti organization. He was saying that he was the one who has since 2000 been talking about demonetization. He seems like an interesting person.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Yes. They have an interesting idea. There is only one difficulty with their proposal.
Rajiv Malhotra: The proposal being that 2% or some percentage on all banking transactions.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: With every tax being removed.
Rajiv Malhotra: Which would be very simple to enforce.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Yes, absolutely. But two things have to be safeguarded against. These they have not worked out in their documents: (i) the habit of banking transaction is only now being brought in by Modi. Everybody must participate in banking transactions for this system to be fair. May be that this argument may disappear after six to seven years. (ii) The second argument is that it shouldn’t induce people to get off the banking system.
Rajiv Malhotra: This should not encourage people to have more currency transactions because you save 1%.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Yes. That is right. So, both these are problems, but I think it is a very revolutionary proposal.
Rajiv Malhotra: He is very sure about the idea, he started thinking on these lines in 2000, and has published a book in English, Hindi, and a few other languages and before the elections he has talked to Baba Ramdev, who started propagating the idea. When Modi was in Gujarat as a CM, he talked to Modi and Modi told him that if he had a chance to implement, he would go on to implement it. I guess you were also involved in it.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Yes, there was a party meeting chaired by Advani, where we considered this proposal and they gave a Power Point presentation. I pointed out the shortcomings at that time and also that theirs was a fine proposal.
Rajiv Malhotra: I am going to do an interview with him. Of course, certain people have been claiming that they are the originators of the whole demonetization idea. I don’t know why some people want to steal credit from someone else. Anil is a very quiet, decent fellow. He does not want to be in the limelight and is trying to work hard.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: He is not only for demonetization but also for many other things.
Rajiv Malhotra: He wanted to get rid of currency completely. He felt that there should be no currency, it should all be electronic.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: For the time being he is alright having only small denomination currencies.
Rajiv Malhotra: Yes. Those that are less than hundred rupees or so. What is your overall take on the state of Indian economy now?
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: I will start with this paradox. We have been winning elections and demonetization was something which Indian people surprisingly welcomed saying “Well, we are suffering, but these big guys have been brought down to my level”. Pew international has done a study which says 86% of the Indians think that Modi’s economic policy is wonderful. I began exploring this because there are many negative trends. The rate of growth of employment has dropped to 1%. The credit which used to be sent by banks at 16 to 17% is now 5%. Exports and imports are both falling at the same rate.
I have written to the Prime Minister about five storm signals in our economy. But still, the people are happy and they are voting for us. I was wondering as to why was this happening, I have never seen it earlier. When I found out that at the micro level, Modi has been a spectacular success. His Jan Dhan Yojana, where practically everybody has now got a bank account, all the formalities have been removed and all the MGNREGA benefits and so on are coming directly into their account. Secondly, he had said that he will see that every family has a cooking gas cylinder. That had a huge impact because women used to literally cry with these flames and fumes while cooking. Now he has made cooking gas accessible to them. He then made an appeal to middle class to not accept subsidies. If they give up their subsidy than he could give gas cylinders to so many more people. 30 million people voluntarily handed back the right to subsidies. Then his loan initiative through the Mudra Bank is also a success. He has implemented many micro packages which haven’t got international coverage. Even the national coverage is very poor.
Rajiv Malhotra: But they have helped at the grassroots.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: I have always felt and I used to say to Narasimha Rao that if you make reforms, find out who are going to be the losers and if they are going to lose immediately. If I abolish quotas and licenses, these hacks are first ones who are going to lose and in case of Narasimha Rao’s reforms, they were all Congress party members. That is why Narasimha Rao lost an election. You have to balance that by making some of the gains reach the people immediately so that they stand up for you. And that wasn’t done by Rao. He used to tell me that it will filter down. But Modi has done these and that has given him a cushion and because of that, all these negative trends can be reversed.
Rajiv Malhotra: But why is the new rate of employment growth only 1%? We have the population growing so fast.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: That is because the high-interest rate policy has destroyed our informal sector.
Rajiv Malhotra: But now they have realised that they are going lower the interest rates.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: No, the present governor of Reserve Bank is resisting but we will get it done.
Rajiv Malhotra: If the interest rate goes down, the economy will go up again.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Absolutely. I also think that taxes should be simplified. I don’t think GST (Goods and Service Tax) is the answer yet.
Rajiv Malhotra: GST has also got too many levels.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: That is right! GST is not the answer yet and I don’t even know whether it can be implemented in the present form because the cyber brain of the GST has got too many foreigners. This is going to be a national security violation.
Rajiv Malhotra: Overall, on the economy, you think there is a short-term crisis but it can be solved.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: There is a macro crisis. We have got elbow room to fix it and I think we will fix it.
Rajiv Malhotra: I want to go on to some cultural issues. There is this crisis about beef and India is the second largest beef exporter and most people do not even know this. The government giving subsidies to set up these things is quite a disgrace. I am just shocked that India would do such a thing. It is just painful and completely ridiculous. It is also shocking that there is this intellectual class that actually defend beef economy and culture when Americans are actually going against it. The medical establishment in America is saying beef, red meat is bad for you, people are turning vegetarian, the vegetarianism curve and veganism are increasing. There is a huge decline in smoking. All these things are shifting for the better in this country. Many of these ideas have been inspired by Indian thought and Indian culture, during the new age movement and so on.
Recently I was reading a report on Alzheimers and dementia, the cutting-edge treatment is coconut water and Haldi (turmeric) which is amazing. The author of the study names a village in Haryana and says that his team went there to find out why nobody in that village had Alzheimer’s. They looked at all the variables, did computer analysis and they brought it down to these ingredients. They started testing it on the author’s wife who had a terminal case of Alzheimer’s and he also had many relatives with Alzheimer. All of them are fine now.
If we look at our civilization, we don’t understand what a treasure we have. We are very happy to give it away and adopt outdated Ameican ideas while others actually are adopting some of our ideas. Beef is one of those where there are moral, ethical, and dharmic arguments against it. There are also the environmental, medical and animal rights arguments, all of which are logically against the consumption of beef. I am shocked at the subsidy and promotion of beef export. I want to know from you because you are also concerned about it. What is the politics, why do the politicians not get it?
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: For this purpose on 18th June, my Virat Hindustan Sangam is holding a one-day seminar on why cow slaughter must be banned.
Rajiv Malhotra: Wonderful and I wish I was there, you sent me an invite but I will be coming a month later but I will support this.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Those who say “I have a fundamental right to eat what I want” should read the Constitution. The constitution has laid down that all fundamental rights including the right to worship are subject to reasonable restrictions. If I find for instance that a religious practice violates either morality or creates a danger to public order or is bad for health, then the state can impose a restriction on it.
Right to eat is also subject to restrictions on the same grounds of health, morality and so on. We do have the ban on eating other living beings such as the peacock since the early ’50s.
Rajiv Malhotra: Like the American eagle in America. It is a criminal offence to kill it.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Yes. Peacock was being eaten by Indians and we have banned it and there is no protest. The third point is, Article 48 of the Constitution actually directs the government as a directive principle of governance that they shall ban the slaughter of cows. Therefore it is a constitutional requirement. If you don’t want us to do it, please bring a constitutional amendment in Parliament and remove it.
The breed that we are trying to protect is called the Bos Indicus.
There have been patents in the United States on the Bos Indicus’ milk which is A2 milk. They have patents on the fertilizer value of the cow dung and on cow urine. Cow urine has medicinal qualities and that has also been established. The previous government was giving heavy subsidies and leading lights of the UPA had set up slaughter houses. But now we have withdrawn these subsidies for exports and that is why the beef exports have come down very sharply.
Rajiv Malhotra: But if there are constitutional provisions then why can’t we implement that part of the Constitution and protect the cow?
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: The issue is, we need a central law. We began by this process that, all right, you have animals to slaughter, you can’t take it to the animal market because you destabilize that market. We soon found that agriculture markets are now shifting to the border areas. So, it has become easy to smuggle cattle out of the country. So, we said that in agriculture markets if you want to sell a cow, you will have to produce a certificate that you are selling it for the purpose of agricultural use and not for meat. But you cannot sell them in the state organized agricultural markets. Now, what an issue they made out of it! There is a plan of the opponents that anything about BJP should be made into a controversy converted into an issue of…
Rajiv Malhotra: Something about human rights and so on.
Your mention of cow urine for health purposes reminds me that when Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister, he came to the US and he was interviewed on “60 Minutes”. It is a famous show, Dan Rather, the legendary person was interviewing and I remember that he asked Desai about his policies, government, India, geo politics and economics and in the end, he said: “I have to ask you a personal question, I hope it is okay”. I think Desai was expecting it. He said “It is known that you consume a certain amount of urine for medical treatment, but people find it very strange. Morarji Desai was not at all bothered and he answered very nicely. He replied by listing many medicines that are sold in the pharmaceutical industry that is made out of urine. He then said, “the only difference is that you are consuming the urine of someone else and I am consuming my own”. I did some research and found that the names he gave were true. A few weeks later I was in a pharmacy downtown picking up something and at the other end, there was a big shouting going on. In this country, people don’t shout openly and fight. There was this lady shouting away at the person at the counter, and I just didn’t know what was going on. When it was over and she left, I asked these people who were all ruffled up as to what happened. They said that the lady was very angry because she finally read that little fine print in the medicine insert. It said that the medicine was made of horse urine. She was shouting because she thought they had been selling her urine for a long time but never told her. Actually, Morarji Desai is right. Many people consume a lot of things because it is sold to them in the form of a pill. The urine is probably sourced from prisons and urinals! Urine in pill form is okay for many but not okay in a different form. I think many vilify culture and civilisation in the name of human rights or science or aesthetics and we have to fight that.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Absolutely. Their main idea is to make us feel somehow inferior. What they want to convey is that there is nothing about our past that is worthy of emulation for the future.
Rajiv Malhotra: I have written a whole series of books on some of the things in our civilisation that have been taken viz. medicine, agriculture, mathematics, metallurgy and so on. Many volumes that I have been working on for a long time and am now in the process of finishing and getting them out. The importance of the cow to the environment is significantly large.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: In fact according to another study, producing excess cows for slaughter actually harms the environment because of the gases released by them.
Rajiv Malhotra: I know someone who is reviving soil degraded and made toxic due to chemicals using bulls that would otherwise be slaughtered and have no other economic value. What they do is that they take one acre of land and fence it, then they have 30 – 40 bulls live on the land for a while. The Bulls’ urine and dung mix with the soil and revive it because it has a capability of breaking down toxic chemicals that have been there for a long time. They are successful in making several feet of earth organic. What they do next is to take this group of bulls to the next one acre. This is a fantastic idea and an interesting technology. I am glad that you are taking this kind of action and we should fight back. We should not be hiding out of shame. We have enough logical arguments to fight right back.
In the US, they would never accept if somebody said: “okay let’s eat dogs”. It is not about science, it is against American ethos. Something similar is the right to carry guns that are part of the American ethos. This is not about science but it is a national heritage. The cow is a part of Indian heritage and respect for animals is a wonderful thing to have. I think we should fight for this.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Absolutely! There should be no inferiority complex. We should be proud of our past.
Rajiv Malhotra: I want to now talk about Tamil Nadu. Infinity Foundation India is based in Chennai headed by Vijaya Viswanathan. We are doing many activities in Tamil Nadu. It is sad that Tamil Nadu has become de-Hinudised and de-Indianised, because of the Aryan Dravidian divide. What is BJP doing to Tamil Nadu? Because if Tamil Nadu is won, you can win back the whole of Southern India.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Well, there is an ideological tactical conflict which the BJP has to resolve. We are working on it and it may take time. The issue at hand is whether the party should make alliances like every other party does, get a few seats and come to Delhi or, come to the assembly. That means we have essentially either be part of AIADMK alliance or the DMK alliance. That means you will have to keep quiet about the Dravidian ideology that they preach.
Rajiv Malhotra: Essentially being a junior partner.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Being a junior partner and just as waiting for crumbs. The other thing which is long term but will surely produce results is to fight every seat and say that we represent a different culture. There is no such thing as Dravidian racial culture or Dravidian community culture. Dravidian is a Sanskrit term, which Shankaracharya invented to mean Southern India. It is a geographical term. The word Aryan means a civilized, cultured person. DNA results published show that Tamilians and Gujaratis and Marathis and all Indians are of the same DNA. So, also Muslims, Brahmins and Scheduled castes. We are one people. We didn’t come from somewhere else. These need to be propagated.
Secondly, I found educated Tamilians to be afraid to speak out openly that privately they tell me to somehow help them learn Hindi because they find themselves at a great disadvantage. Assamese, Gujaratis, Marathis and so on speak Hindi and when it comes to jobs and survival in the North, they find themselves at a great disadvantage. We have to strengthen this concept that we are Indians first and only then Tamilians.
Now for almost couple of centuries, this has been pounded into the Tamilians’ minds that they are Tamils first. The Congress party had cornered every medium and there was no other way for anybody else to propagate ideas except through the cinema. Cinema became actually the medium of the propagation of the Dravidian ideology. And it was supported from abroad.
Rajiv Malhotra: That was the subject of my book, “Breaking India”.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Yes. Coming back to the point, I think BJP has a big future if it stands alone and starts propagating the unity of India, that we are all one and there is no difference in the tradition. Surprisingly Rama was made into God by the Tamils first. The Azhwars and Nayanmars were the ones who made him into God. Otherwise, he was not regarded in North India as a God at that age.
Rajiv Malhotra: So, how good is political machinery viz. RSS and VHP on the ground?
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: The network of RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is there, but it needs a leadership which propagates the right ideas. The present leadership does not want anybody new to come up because they have worked out this parasitical system with which they are comfortable.
Rajiv Malhotra: You played a role in the recent government shakeup in Tamil Nadu. Tell us about it.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: I had prosecuted Jayalalitha and her associate, Shashikala as a co-conspirator in disproportionate asset case. But Jayalalitha died before the judgement came. What happened is that after Jayalalitha died, Shashikala had a clear majority because during Jayalalitha’s time she was the one who was handing out the tickets and the money. But, some of my colleagues felt that it was the time to enter Tamil Nadu. Again, this was a shortcut psychology to somehow capture Tamil Nadu. They tried to engineer a split and the split did not take off because the man they selected, Panneerselvam was not up to the task.
I took the stand that constitutionally the party led by Shashikala has the majority and one cannot go beyond it. Because the disqualifications to be a chief minister or, or ruling party is listed in the Constitution itself and none of them applied to these people. This whole idea of somehow getting the rebels to form a government who did not even have more than three or four MLAs was unconstitutional. I must say again that at a much later stage the Prime Minister’s office conveyed to me that I had followed the correct constitutional procedure. I don’t think they are going to last long because the national outlook in Tamil Nadu is growing very fast. People going to temples is very large. The only problem we have is timidity because the Dravidian parties are now reduced to drug peddlers, corrupt men …
Rajiv Malhotra: So, they are desperate enough to become gangsters.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: And then we had this brief interlude with the LTTE which is now almost at the end. So, Tamil Nadu is ripe for the picking but it requires a little sacrifice.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Interestingly all the main Gods of India are from Northern India, but all the saints seem to be from the South – Adi Shankara, Ramana Maharshi, Ramanuja, Agastya and so on, you know. The North South unity seems automatic.
Rajiv Malhotra: Very important point! The centres of learning have been in both places, North and South. Tirupati is a great place for learning, there is sacred geography in the North, but also Rama Setu in the south. In the imagination of the Indian – the Bharatiya Itihaasa, this is a whole integrated continent. Breaking this is a very bad thing and this is what some people are trying to do. We have to fight it, reverse it, stick our necks out and do whatever it takes. I wish you great health and more success. We are trying to create through Infinity Foundation India, an institutional mechanism with which we can create more Subramanian Swamys.
We have not had an institutional ability to reproduce. So, when J Krishnamurthy, Sai Baba, Ramana Maharshi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, or Osho die, their ideas and organizations fall apart. We also have the record of Adi Shankara, who established the Mathas. They have institutionalised knowledge for so many centuries that it has withstood invaders, economic ups and downs and so on. They retain a certain robustness to replicate into the next generation. There are three ingredients to create a renaissance of Indian thought. Firstly, knowledge through research like what you and I are doing. We produce knowledge and publish it in books. This knowledge then needs to be taught to people or else it may just sit in libraries. So, secondly, there needs to be an army, a home team, who imbibe that knowledge and utilize it to do further work on their own. So, we need knowledge and then we need the human resource. Thirdly we need institutions. Because human resource needs places to belong to. A roof on their head, a job, a stipend, an organization that tells them what to do, guides them, manages them and so on. We are trying to take the knowledge and train many people and then institutionalise it. I think that VHS and IFI can together create something of this sort.
Dr. Subramanian Swamy: Absolutely. Institution building has now become necessary. Now that you have laid the parameters and the basic theory, now is the time to institutionalise.
Rajiv Malhotra: We will work on it together and I will do whatever it takes to get us to work on this. We will build a team. I want to thank you again for this wonderful experience with you, Dr. Swamy. We are grateful that you give us your time generously. You are always welcome here at my home.
The article is based on this ‘video’
Rajiv has conducted original research in a variety of fields and has influenced many other thinkers in India and the West. He has disrupted the mainstream thought process among academic and non-academic intellectuals alike, by providing fresh provocative positions on Dharma and on India. Some of the focal points of his work are: Interpretation of Dharma for the current times; comparative religion, globalization, and India’s contributions to the world.
He has authored hundreds of articles, provided strategic guidance to numerous organizations and has over 300 video lectures available online. To best understand Rajiv'sthoughts and contributions, his books are a good resource. Besides Invading the Sacred, in which Rajiv is the main protagonist, he has authored the following game changing books:
Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism
Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines; and
Indra's Net: Defending Hinduism's Philosophical Unity
The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive?
Academic Hinduphobia: A Critique of Wendy Doniger's Erotic School of Indology
Currently, Rajiv Malhotra is the full-time founder-director of Infinity Foundation in Princeton, NJ. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Center for Indic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and is adviser to various organizations.
Infinity Foundation has given more than 400 grants for research, education and community work. It has provided strategic grants to major universities in support of pioneering programs including: visiting professorships in Indic studies at Harvard University, Yoga and Hindi classes at Rutgers University, research and teaching of nondualistic philosophies at University of Hawaii, Global Renaissance Institute and a Center for Buddhist studies at Columbia University, a program in religion and science at University of California, endowment for the Center for Advanced Study of India at University of Pennsylvania, lectures at the Center for Consciousness Studies at University of Arizona.
Rajiv Malhotra inspired the idea of Swadeshi Indology Conference. The first ever Swadeshi Indology Conference was held at IIT, Chennai from July 6 to July 8, 2016. This conference hosted well-researched papers that highlighted the discrepancies and mistranslations in the studies of Indology done by Prof. Sheldon Pollock. This conference is the first of a series of conferences that have been planned to address multiple issues raised by Western Indologists requiring astute examination, analyses and rejoinders, culminating in a published volume with a selection of papers.
Another major initiative of the Infinity Foundation is the HIST series. The HIST (History of Indian Science and Technology) series is a compilation of multi-Volume History of Indian Science and Technology based only on solid academic scholarship, and not on wild extrapolations. To accomplish this, each volume was subjected to rigorous peer reviews. The following volumes have already been published and printed as part of this IF project:
1. Marvels of Indian Iron Through the Ages
2. Indian Zinc Technology in Global Perspective
3. Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering in India
4. History of Metals in Eastern India and Bangladesh
5. Harappan Architecture and Civil Engineering
6. Beginning of Agriculture and Domestication in India
7. History of Iron Technology in India
8. Indian Beads History and Technology
9. Himalayan Traditional Architecture
10. Animal Husbandry and Allied Technologies in Ancient India
11. Harappan Technology and Its Legacy
12. Reflection on The History of Indian Science and Technology
13. Chalcolithic South Asia: Aspects of Crafts and Technologies
14. Traditional Water Management
Rajiv Malhotra has an active Facebook following with about 1.5 million followers.
He also has an online discussion group. He can be followed at:
Latest posts by Rajiv Malhotra (see all)
- Part 2: Discussion between Dr. Swamy and Rajiv Malhotra - September 10, 2017
- Dr Subramanian Swamy In Conversation with Rajiv Malhotra - July 24, 2017
- P2 – Discussing the Digestion of Yoga with a White Hindu - July 3, 2017