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Apropos your cover profile of Subramanian Swamy (The Jury is Out, Feb 20), I’ve attended a number of Swamy’s electioneering meetings way back in 1977 post the Emergency. His speeches were interspersed with humour and stinging criticism of the then leaders. Sample this: “Inka char aur unka bees, donon mil ke char sau bees”, referring to Sanjay and Indira Gandhi’s four- and 20-point programmes.
Venkatesh G. Iyer, Chennai
Subramanian Swamy has the impulsive tendency to shoot off his hip and to eat humble pie later; looks like it’ll be the same story in the 2G case as well.
George Jacob, Kochi
One thing that was omitted in the Swamy profile was that he was the blue-eyed boy of the RSS in the ’70s right through till 1977. The Harvard-returned Swamy had authored the swadeshi five-year plan in 1970, which was laughed off by the left-wing economists holding sway over Indira Gandhi’s so-called socialist regime. He was portrayed as a hero by the RSS during the Emergency for hoodwinking the police. When Deng Xiaoping allowed the Mansarovar yatra, Swamy was among the first batch of pilgrims who went there. And it’s true that Morarji Desai wanted him as finance minister but Vajpayee obstructed this and Swamy turned on him, even bringing out a booklet in Tamil alleging that Vajpayee was drunk at official banquets given to foreign dignitaries. That’s when the RSS wrote him off. They are eyeing him again now, after his pursuit of the 2G scam and the dna article on Muslims. One thing is for sure: Swamy is brilliant but destructive.
Ramesh Parida, New Delhi
Companies and governments the world over sell valuable resources and assets no other way than by auction to the highest bidder, just as, when it comes to buying stuff and giving out work contracts, they go for the lowest quotation. It’s a huge mystery, therefore, that except for people like Swamy, very few saw through the great subterfuge of A. Raja—virtually giving away spectrum licences at predetermined prices, as if he was handing out trays of French fries and soda at about Rs 50 apiece at a crowded fast food joint shouting, “everyone stand in line please, it’s first come, first served here.” Why, one wonders, did the various appointees on our numerous think-tanks, public finance institutions, Planning Commission chiefs, audit czars et al not catch on to what was going on?
Jyoti Rani, New Delhi
Since corruption is such a gigantic issue, one hopes Swamy would avoid the needless distractions of party politics and dedicate his time and stupendous abilities to his mission against corruption. Another bit of ‘unsolicited advice’ for him, he better stay away from the minefield of Hindutva issues, bearing in mind that corruption is no respecter of faiths, the only god the corrupt in India worship is money, that their highest deities reside neither in Mecca nor Mount Kailash, but in the temples of filthy lucre called foreign tax havens.
Shyam Sethi, New Delhi
Swamy may be “a person with ulterior motives with an extreme right agenda”, he may be leading a life of “character assassination, malicious mendacity and sordid blackmail” or he may be “a megalomaniac rebel, irresponsible and untrustworthy”. But it reminds me of what Abraham Lincoln said to an aide complaining about a Union general who was a drunkard. Lincoln wanted to know what the general was drinking as he was the only one winning battles against the confederates! Likewise, we need more Swamys in spite of what he is.
Rajiv Chopra, Jammu
Swamy is as opportunistic as any other politician. He hankers after positions of power and chooses his friends and enemies based on his personal political interests. Even his enemies can buy peace off him by tempting him with a bribe of a berth in the cabinet. It’s ridiculous to call him a great patriot. It’s just that his technique of picking fights selectively against politicians or blackmailing them has helped a larger cause eventually.
Dipto, New York
It’s ridiculous to suggest, as you do, that Swamy’s fight against Chidambaram is because of a personal vendetta against him.
Govindan Kutty, Thrissur
Swamy is neither a mass leader, nor a political reformer or social activist. He has his share of ideological baggage, but I doubt if he has any real ambitions or agenda. Ascribing political ambitions to him is dumb. Call him a maverick, but people like him are supremely important in our system. He’s a sharp customer himself and eminently suitable for pricking bloated balloons. At various points, Jayalalitha, Ramakrishna Hegde and Chidambaram have been reminded of this.
Manish Banerjee, Calcutta
How about a Bharat Ratna for Swamy? He has shown investors worldwide that the Indian legal system works.
Thank heavens, we have people like Swamy to speak and write without fear and without the humbug of being politically correct.
Tushar Patel, Jamnagar
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