In an hour-long interview, Roxna Swamy, a well-regarded advocate at the Supreme Court, spoke about her husband, Subramanian Swamy. Excerpts from the conversation:
On their early days: I was studying mathematics at Harvard in the mid-1960s when I met Swamy. We got married in June 1966. It wasn’t an arranged marriage. There was opposition. During the Emergency, Swamy was underground. After attachment proceedings started, I got interested in law. It was a horrible time. The children (two daughters) grew up to be positive dislikers of government. I became anti-Left when it became an appendage of the Congress.
“It is because he’s so brilliant that people are looking to bring him down. Even now, he has the capacity to be prime minister.” On Swamy: He has a great selection of friends across the political spectrum. He’s brilliant, no doubt about it. Because he’s so brilliant, people want to put him down. Even now he’s capable of being PM. He has the capacity. He’s the most relaxed person I know.
On the legal battles: There are people across the length and breadth of intelligentsia who give him support, they do. I have worked for years for a senior counsel. And Swamy is a natural senior counsel without even trying.
On being a judge: I was considered, but rejected. I would’ve made a dreadful judge, and am glad I didn’t succeed.
On the inflammatory article against Muslims: Swamy has the interest of the country at heart. Any patriotic Indian will endorse the view. You should have pride in your ancestry. These are all suggestions that have to be done through the law. These are ideas. Swamy genuinely feels India has to be a certain way. As an intellectual, you have to suggest. But it is for the country to decide.
“He genuinely feels that India has to be a certain way. Patriots will endorse that. The Muslims give him the benefit of the doubt.” On the Harvard censure: I was shocked. Harvard had backed Swamy during the Emergency. They rammed the whole thing through. Have you seen how big it is online?
On Swamy’s worldview: I do not have religious feelings on the subject. As a Parsi, we were driven out of Iran by the Muslims. We do not want something like that. Yes, I have a Muslim nephew-in-law and son-in-law. If it comes up at dinner, you have an argument. Do you want India to become like Saudi Arabia? What solutions do you have to counter Islamic terrorism? Look at the way people are screaming about Salman Rushdie and (M.F.) Husain. Muslims give Swamy the benefit of the doubt, believe his views are those of a patriotic Indian.
What kind of garbage journalism is this (‘His views are those of a patriotic Indian’)? You do a sort of investigative piece on a guy and you ask his wife for opinions? His wife!
S. Iyengar, Baroda
Every Indian wife considers her husband brilliant. Roxna is no different.
V.N.K. Murti, Pattambi
I read with interest your article on Subramanian Swamy, particularly the interview with his wife whose banality surprises me. She sounds like a gushing teenager (My husband is brilliant! My husband is PM material!) and does not seem to think that her husband’s exclusivist communal agenda for the nation is anything less than patriotism. I wonder if someone in Harvard explained to her the differences between chauvinism, nationalism, fascism and humanism! It might help to give her an example. Her husband in his article in DNA said that people of other religions would be allowed to convert to Hinduism and choose any caste they liked provided they took on the discipline of that caste. Does that mean that if I convert to Hinduism and choose to be a Dalit, the discipline would require me to collect faeces from their Iyer-Parsi household? First, the ideas he has are hardly based on any serious study of history. His versions come from the same swamp that gave N.S. Rajaram the title of historian during the bjp’s term in office. Swamy maintains that the Aryans sprang up from Indian soil and did not migrate from elsewhere, contrary to what serious historians in general (and not only Romila Thapar) have to say. His seeming distance from Jayalalitha is a ploy. Some years ago, when M. Karunanidhi was asked what he made of the minor altercation between Jayalalitha, Hindu editor N. Ram and Swamy, he laughed and rightly pointed out “Elarume Swami thane”. Aren’t they all Swamis—the colloquial term in Tamil Nadu for Brahmins. N. Ram’s newspaper gave scant space to Swamy’s expulsion from Harvard but gave a full page to a sublime diatribe against Harvard letting down its standards of free speech. If Swamy was really so strong on corruption as he now is against the Karunanidhi group, why did he not go daggers drawn for Jayalalitha and his friend Narasimha Rao who bribed MPs to keep his party in power?
George Kurian, Pondicherry
A little more research might have led you to comments by K. Madhavan, the famous cbi joint director associated with the Bofors investigation, in his autobiography in Malayalam, regarding his experience under law minister Swamy. The latter had manipulated the case, and Madhavan found himself arguing against the state counsel, leaving the court baffled! Swamy complained to the PM, though he did make an effort to soothe Madhavan later. Wonder what made Swamy do it?
K.S.C. Nair, Indianapolis
Swamy’s legal campaign and triumph in the 2G cases marks a high in an otherwise lacklustre political career of false hopes, sound and fury. Now we know that barking dogs can also bite and even maim, as Raja & Co would testify.
P. Prasand Thampy, Thiruvalla
Love him or hate him for his politics, polemics, tenacity or outrageousness, but you can certainly never ignore Subramanian Swamy.
G. Niranjan Rao, Hyderabad
Swamy is a nut but he is on to something in pursuing the real culprits of the 2G scam—Sonia and the Nehru-Gandhi criminal enterprise which has robbed the nation through its acts of commission and omission.
Vijay, New York
Not for nothing was Swamy dubbed the second Subhash Chandra Bose during the Emergency.
Karavadi Raghava Rao, Vijayawada
A progressive magazine with an anti-communal outlook like yours should not have given its coveted cover to Subramanian Swamy, a hardcore communalist and a Hindu fundamentalist. In fact, for spitting venom at Muslims in his article in DNA, he should have been cooling his heels behind bars. PS: Outlook was bold, blunt and brash under Vinod Mehta’s captaincy. I wish new editor Krishna Prasad continues the tradition.
K.P. Rajan, Mumbai
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
This is not the outlook I knew.....Please do not let the pages of Outlook go for right wing fascist sympathisers. The statements he made is really imature and this is not what is expected of a man of his caliber.
But for our COMRADE ( Not in the sense Communist) the biggest Scam of Independent India woll not have come out. He is a relenless fighter. A. Man with Corage to oppose any powerful person.Though a strong champion of Hindutwa he can not adjust in any party. In the emergency days he was called as Second Subhash Chnndra Bose.
Every Indian wife cosiders her husband brilliant,
and suspects all are pulling him down.As for Roxana
she dont want to be away from her 'comfort zone'
unlike her husband.
It takes a lot of courage to take on the government. But this professor has shown that that could be done if one has the patience and perseverance.
I agree with his wife that theis gentleman has the capacity to be the PM of India. He would be many times better than the present PM who is extremely honest,but an useless PM and who, by knowingly or unknowingly, has encouraged corruption. Either way,he cannot avoid his share of responsibility.
Your husband, Subramanya Swamy sold the Jantha party tickets to anti-telangana people in 2004 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections. He is a crook.
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