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Who is Dr. Subramanian Swamy?

(October,07, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Subramanian Swamy feels embarrassed when perfect strangers accost him to enquire about his next `target'. For them it is sheer curiosity to find about his latest target which surely soon become victims, because of his stupendous success in taking on Ramkrishna Hegde, Jayalalitha, big quarrels with Morarji Desai, Indira Gandhi, Chandrashekhar and later patching up.

It needs patience, lots of them, to understand that Subramanian Swamy never targets but only defends himself against harassment, sidelining or attempted political elimination. And his defense, as his `victims' rue later vouchsafing, is vigorous, systematic and effective to the point that the `victim' is immobilized, discredited or politically disabled.

To those who care to listen, sixty six year old energetic (one learns that he has installed a treadmill at his house and uses it regularly) suave and sophisticated (only to his admirers: to his detractors, he appears absolutely evilish), Subramanian Swamy likes to clarify that he never make the first strike". But he does not take things lying down.

To begin with we will look at less publicized `target' and certainly a major, conquest' as this happened when Swamy was just a youth. At 19, as a student of Masters degree in Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta, he took on the powerful P C Mahalanobis, then the chairman of ISI, darling of the Left, USSR and Nehru. (In case you felt that Swamy is stubborn enough not to follow anyone's footsteps, then again Swamy surprises us; he actually chose to follow his father who had a distinguished career in Economics and Statistics). In a typical fashion Swamy called Mahalanobis a corrupt leftist. Mahalanobis took a dislike towards Swamy as Swamy's father and Mahalanobis held rival governmental postings in various statistical departments. Professors in ISI to please Mahalanobis began to fail Swamy in all subjected. At 19, he faced a prospect of bleak academic career. He dumped all activities and parked himself in the library to study Mahalanobis' works in detail. He soon found that Mahalanobis's so called `Mahalanobis Model` adopted as Second Five Year Plan, was actually stolen from M A Fieldman, an obscure Soviet economist of the 1930s. But Swamy realized the futility of the whole exercise: at 19, no Indian Journal would hear his critique against the powerful Mahalanobis.

Remember his earlier words that his defense is always systematic. And if you believe in the words of Mario Puzo, author of `Godfather", then revenge is best when taken in cold. Swamy soon discovered that Mahalanobis's magnum opus, `Fractile Analysis published in prestigious international journal was a useless one but a rehash of well known earlier work of another professor. Mathematics had laid bare the plagiarism. Subramanian Swamy's critique of `Fractile Analysis` was published in the same international journal and its editors asked Mahalanobis for a rejoinder. Mahalanobis had none and his reputation abroad was in tatters, from which he did not recover. If Swamy had kept quiet about the humiliation heaped on him ISI professors, he would have a doomed career. Harvard University's economics department was so enamored by a 19-year-old Swamy's expertise with statistics; it offered him a scholarship for a PhD course. Swamy was so brilliant that Harvard offered him professorship in its own economics department as soon as he completed the doctorate degree.

Swamy's `crusade' against Jayalalitha and Hegde is well documented. But less publicized is the fact that Swamy did not spare even former President Venkataraman. Swamy felt that for personal reasons Venkataraman did not approve the list recommended for appointment of judges. The list contained the name of Swamy's wife, a Supreme Court advocate. Swamy did enough damage by leaking detailed document about a trust, which had mobilized Rs. 16 crore with the address of the Rashtrapathy Bhavan and Venkataraman's daughter as its chairperson. Swamy as a minister for Law and Justice and Commerce in Chandrashekhar cabinet was once asked to `do something' to bring 2 billion US dollars (Rs 6000 crores) as otherwise the country's economy would collapse. Then Prime Minister Chandrashekhar had told him that he was the only person who had contacts in Israel, China and US. Just then the US ambassador in India had walked into his office to seek India's support in UN for a UN resolution in favour of USA to attack Iraq. Swamy asked for a US loan in return. The ambassador spoke to US president and soon Chandrashekhar and Bush Senior were communicating over phone. Soon Rs. 6000 crores arrived without any condition imposed. Of course India had to allow US planes to refuel whenever it passed over to Philippines and other countries.

Subramanian Swamy's chance meeting and later close association and blessing of former seer of Shankarmutt of Kanchi, Chandrshekhara Bharathi, revered as Parmamacharya had a deep impact on him. Normally the convent educated, Americanized Swamy would not bow to any Swamy but soon began to term Parmacharya as God in human form. It was Parmacharya who told Swamy to stick with Janata Party no matter how many years it takes to build it made Swamy to stick with it. He could have betrayed the trust of Chandrashekhar and become prime Minister of the country even if it is only for few months. It was Parmacharya persuasion that he campaigned and succeeded in persuading Chinese to allow Indians to visit Manas Sarovar in Tibet region of Himalayas.

Swamy has said that it was Parmacharya who told him that the easiest way to finish an enemy is to make him a friend. He was also advised not to hate the sin but the sinner and that the ultimate revenge on the sinner belongs to divinity.

``People who see me fighting fiercely with Indira Gandhi, Chandrashekhar, Jayalalitha and then working with them get confused, even disgusted at what they perceive as opportunism'' says Subramanian Swamy. But as said earlier he never strikes but defends himself when sidelined or humiliated but at the earliest opportunity grabs the hand of friendship when offered. Because Paramacharya had advised him that public suffered most due to the ego problems of kings earlier and politicians now and that should not be allowed in future. (JP)

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