Sunday Celebrity: Dr. Subramanian Swamy, his presence a must in Indian politics
Mahinda Rajapaksha will be a ture solution-finder to the Tamils problem. And Tamils in Lanka should vote for him in the forthcoming presidential elections on January 26. “I am of the view the Tamils will get the best chance of getting relief if Rajapaksha is getting elected.”
Dr. Subramanian Swamy, the fiery Indian politician fighting for rights, economist and Harward Visiting Professor, said this when this writer met him for Asian Tribune at his party office in between his busy schedule last week.
Talking further on Sri Lankan elections, Dr. Swamy said the position of Mahinda Rajapksha was clear. “He is head of a party; no contradiction with his allies; his policy is clear. Moreover the Tamil-speaking President has open mind to solve the problems of the Tamils. He can be trusted,” he said.
In the case of Gen. Sarath Fonseka he was an Army Commander until the elections came; new to politics. A General who carried out the political will to destroy the LTTE. He deserves appreciation, titles and medals, that’s all. If there is any credit for victory over terrorism, it should go to Rajapaksha, who pursued it, who willed it. In short, the name and fame should go the politician and not to a general, who carries out the order, Dr. Swamy said.
“The main opposition common candidate Sarath is supported by the UNP and the hardline JVP who hold opposite views. And the TNA are the LTTE stooges. How can the Tamils get relief after the elections from them,” he asked.
Rajapaksha has a fair chance
India gets the estimation that Mahinda Rajapaksha stands a fair chance of getting elected. The TNA parliamentarians bluff that it has India’s support. Government of India is not supporting anybody in this election, but it is keenly watching, he said.
The TNA Parliamentarians on their own had come to New Delhi, he said, and there was no invitation to them as claimed by them. As far as he knew they were seeking appointments to meet some leaders, he said. That’s all they have spread in Lanka media that they have been endorsed by the Indian Government.
But he said, “Sonia’s family has a long standing connection with the LTTE.”
Asked if he had ever met Rajapaksha, that he is supporting him, he said “no and neither I have gone to Sri Lanka for any activity. Once accidentally I had to be there for 24 hours. That was in 1976 during emergency time”. And he was escaping from Emergency arrest in India to the US. He took first flight to Colombo and to catch the next flight to States, he said he had to wait 24 hours in Colombo. “ I would like to visit. I have emotional reason for it. If Rajapaksha invites me for his swearing in ceremony, I will,” he said.
“In India we represent ourselves as Indian first and Tamils second; in the same way the Tamils in Sri Lanka should project as Sri Lankan first and Tamils second. They should not only aspire things good for Tamils but also good for Sinhalese. Then there will be hormany,” the keen Sri Lanka watcher and author of books said.
What he has to say on Keitheeswasram temple town recently been declared as holy town by Mahinda Rajapaksha, since he being a staunch Hindutuva. He said declaring Keitheeswaram in North Lanka as holy town by Rajapaksha, was welcome, good. “It is a positive sign. That shows again the long standing bitterness can be resolved only by him. Rajapaksha will lay true and real foundation for the unity of Sri Lanka,” he said.
‘No ethnic differences in Sri Lanka’
“I always protested to America that there is any ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. My claim is supported by DNA tests that shows Tamils and Sinhalese are of one racial stock. The only difference between them is that they are of two language groups. Not a racial/ethnic difference. This has to be registered in their minds who stand across the line.”
Dr. Swamy is known for his efforts in normalizing relations with China and Israel. On Indio-China relations he said there is no tension. We should have good relations with China. At the same time, it is not necessary to sacrifice any national interests. We should have bilateral talks to solve any hitch that is there. Dr. Swamy also is campaigning for India’s recognition of Israel.
When he was Minister of Commerce he brought about useful dialogue between India and China. In 1981, he persuaded Deng Xiaoping to open the Kailash and Mansarovar in Tibet to Hindu pilgrims. Because of that, the holy places were thrown open for visit by pilgrims from India.
Although it is a Communist country it has permitted the Hindus to have their darshan at the holly places which was closed for 75 years. That was the result of bi-lateral talks.
The trade agreement he had made during his ministership, had paved way for border trade at the UP-China border, Himachal-China border, Arunachal-China border and Sikkim-China border.
When Buddhist leader Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh recently he caused a stir by objecting to the visits by foreign journalists. As per the agreement we have made in 1954 on China, Dalai Lama was permitted his stay in India at Dharmathala but no political activity. But he has been practicing political activities, which is illegal. In 2003 when Vajpayee was PM he also accepted that agreement. Therefore both Indian and China by bi partisan agreement have agreed Tibet to be a part of China, he said.
Wants Ram-Sethu bridge as monument
On Sethusamudram project he said he would fight to the end to get the government declare the Ramar bridge as a national monument. He also wants a joint Indo-Sri Lanka corporation to handle the historical monuments, spread in the area and in Sri Lanka numbering 32, on the propagation of the historical Ramayana Both the countries have common heritage.
He is instrumental in fighting for the cause of preventing the destruction of Rama Sethu bridge. He moved the Supreme Court of India and successfully got a stay for the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project at the final hours on August 31,2007. The case is under hearing before SC currently.
Not a single one of the fifteen committees that went in to consider various routes to cut short the need to go around Sri Lanka when moving goods in Indian Peninsula since 1860 ever recommended the route that destroys Ram Sethu. The current Government at the Centre took on its own to destroy it at the behest of Karunanidhi and his cohort T.R. Baalu.
Why did Government ignore 35 lakhs verifiable signatures requesting not to destroy Ram Sethu and the protest of 5 lakh people? The same Government that is hell bent on destroying Ram Sethu, modified the New Delhi Metro route at cost of thousands of crores because a small Muslim NGO complained that the vibrations could cause cracks in a cemetery. The same Government that will bend backwards for even slightest dissent from their vote banks chose to break the back of Hindu society, he asked..
The only beneficiaries are T.R. Baalu who owns the shipping company with ships of the size that can go through the proposed route through Ram Sethu and his son who has company that needs to clear the sand that will be thrown by sea into the dredged area every year, worth multiple crores, he said
Opposes Nalini’s premature release
On Nalini Sriharan’s premature release process that is going on, the Janata Party president said the matter cannot be easily disposed of by just an Advisory Board. ‘There are many more stages to go through and I will fight each and every stage in the memory of Rajiv Gandhi’.
“I am one of the parties that I have to be heard before orders are passed. I had gone to court last time and the State government was then forced to take a stand against her release,” he added.
He even met Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala last week and urged him not to sign any recommendation of the State government for freeing Nalini Sriharan, a life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Fighter of justice
He has been very effective in the Courts fighting for Justice and has used the Courts effectively on issues of public importance. It is worth noting that he is an economist but has been very successful arguing PILs in Court for the public good.
He has been a bitter critic of Ms. Sonia Gandhi, the foreign-born President of the Indian National Congress and his Janata Party's web site www.janataparty.org has an article titled "Do You Know Your Sonia?, an article with a lot of 'Facts' about Ms.Sonia. Surprisingly, Sonia never dared to challenge against Dr.Swami in court.
His stance against the LTTE has had five successive Indian governments place him in the Z category of Indian security because of the high LTTE threat to his life. Subramanian Swamy was attacked by a group of pro-LTTE lawyers . Violent clashes between the Tamil Nadu police and practicing lawyers occurred on the 19th of February 2009 on the Madras High Court premises.
Dr.Swamy, born on September 15, 1939 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India is a leading politician, having been elected Member of Parliament five times (1974-99). He has twice represented the city of Mumbai (Bombay) North East during 1977 and 1980, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the Parliament.
Held cabinet positions
He held Cabinet positions in the Union Government twice, first as a Minister for Commerce, Law and Justice (1990-91) and later as Chairman with Cabinet rank of the Commission on Labour Standards and International Trade (1994-96).
As Commerce Minister he prepared the blueprints for economic reforms subsequently implemented by the successor Narasimha Rao government of which he was also a part (1994-96). As Law Minister he is appreciated for his bold fight against terrorism in South India.
He also worked as Assistant Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Secretariat, New York in 1963 and as Member of India’s Planning Commission (1990-91).
Dr. Swamy has a long and continuing academic association with the world famous Harvard University (since 1962). He was awarded a doctorate in Economics by Harvard (degree conferred in 1965) based on his research with two Nobel Laureates Simon Kuznets and Paul A Samuelson. Dr.Swamy has also jointly authored with Professor Samuelson a path breaking study on Index Number Theory.
Upon completing his Ph.D., the author joined the faculty of economics at Harvard (in 1964) and from then on he has till date taught at the Department of Economics for a total period of about 12 years. He also teaches at the Harvard University (Summer School) in July-August 2005 since 2001 - two courses titled: Economic Development in India and East Asia and Quantitative Methods in Economics and Business.
From 1969 to 1991, Dr. Swamy was Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi from which post he resigned upon becoming Union Commerce, Law and Justice Minister. He also served on the Board of Governors of the IIT, Delhi (1977-80), and on the Council of IITs (1980-82).
Dr.Swamy is a prolific writer. Besides numerous articles in journals, periodicals and newspapers, he is the author of ten books. He is proficient in many languages including Mandarin Chinese (Guoyeu). Dr.Swamy is widely regarded as an expert on the economy of China.
He is the President of the Janata Party since 1990 which party was founded by Jayaprakash Narayan in 1977 in the aftermath of the Emergency. Dr.Swamy is a founding member of the party. He is also Chairman, School of Communication & Management Studies, Kalamaserry, Ernakulam District, Kerala, (www.scms.com) and Life Trustee, Naveen Hindustan
Subramanian Swamy has two daughters, Gitanjali and Suhasini. Suhasini is a journalist with an Indian television channel. His wife Dr. Roxna Swamy is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India.
- Asian Tribune -