Who is Dr. Subramanian Swamy?
I am giving an introduction to Dr. Subramanian Swamy in this post. He comes from the Brahmin community and has an unusual penchant to fight political battles and public outrages on hos own. Sometimes people did not take him seriously. But now since his taking up Telecom Spectrum scam issue, he is getting a lot of information from people and he is constantly in the news now!
Dr. Subramanian Swamy
(National President, Janatha Party)
Born on September 15, 1939, Dr. Swamy is today a nationally known leader, who is widely respected for his conviction and commitment to furthering democracy and market economy. Infact, the Reform programme which Dr. Swamy had been promoting for nearly two decades has become today the mainstream thought and ideology in the country. Currently he is the President of the JANATA PARTY, a party founded by Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan in 1977. A look into his past achievement can provide some insight into what makes him so different from his political contemporaries. He is a political leader with a difference. Presently he represents the historic city of Madurai in Lok Sabha, his faith term in Parliament, elected in 1998.
Dr. Swamy has impressive scholarly credentials, having earned a doctorate in economics from the prestigious Harvard University in 1964, after having worked with Nobel Laureate Simon Kuznets, and jointly authored papers with another Nobel Laureate, Paul.A Samuelson.
At Harvard, Dr. Swamy taught Economics for a number of years (1963-69, 1971, 1985-86). From 1969-91, that is, for 22 years, Dr.Swamy was professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, till he resigned the post in 1991, while he was Cabinet Minister for Commerce, Law & Justice. Dr. Swamy is a linguist and is proficient in Tamil, Hindi, English and Chinese. Before going abroad for Ph.D. at Harvard, Dr.Swamy completed his Master in Statistics at the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta. It is here, that he challenged the authenticity of research done by ISI director Prof. Mahalanobis. For his scholarship, he was invited to enroll for Ph.D research at Harvard.
Contribution as an Economist:
Some of Dr. Swamy's research work carried out at Harvard and afterwards in India, have earned him a high standing in the field of Economics. Dr. Swamy published his first book in 1971 when he presented a clear alternative economic strategy, in his book Indian Economic Planning - An Alternative Approach (Vikas Publishers). The then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi took the unprecedented step of critically reviewing the book on the floor of the Lok Sabha during her reply to the Budget Debate.
His work Economic Growth in China and India 1952-1970: A Comparative Appraisal (University of Chicago Press, 1973) has received wide scholarly acclaim in the field. His jointly authored papers with Nobel Laureate Paul A Samuelson on the 'Theory of Index Numbers' published in the American Economic Review (1974) and the Royal Economic Society's Economic Journal (1984) are regarded as path-breaking research in economic theory. He is also the author of a well-known study on Indian's nuclear on China with his second book Comparative Appraisal of China and India (1870-1986), published by Vikas in 1989.
Dr. Swamy and the Authoritarian Emergency:
In 1976, during the proclaimed state of Emergency by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Dr.Swamy shot into a limelight for his daring escapades. Despite being "Most Wanted" by the police, he escaped abroad to reorganise the overseas Indians against the authoritarian rule in India.
Later in August 1976, he re-entered India under undetected, made a dramatic appearance in the Parliament to make a 'point of order' and then escaped abroad again. This bravery and demonstration that the security of the authorisation system could be breached at will, is believed to be partly responsible for the subsequent announcements of elections by a disheartened Mrs. Gandhi in 1977, and the withdrawal of the Emergency. Since then Dr. Swamy has crusaded on a number of issues of such public causes with attendant national attention.
His Role in Foreign Affairs
The reorientation of India's foreign policy (1978-85) towards China -from hostility to normalised relations - is widely ascribed in both countries to Dr. Swamy's untiring efforts in this direction. He was instrumental in persuading pilgrimage spot in Tibet - The Kailash Mountain and Manasarovar Lake. He has detailed his trip in his book jointly authored by Rahul Bedi titled: Kailash-Manasarovar (Allied Publisher -1982). Dr.Swamy has visited China nine times since 1978. His last visit was in October 1998.
In 1982, Dr.Swamy became the first Indian political leader to make publicized trip to Israel, where he met with some important Israeli leaders such as Yitzhale Rabin and then Prime Minister Mr. Menachim Begin. His efforts at normalizing relations with Israel have born fruit now with India's decision in 1992 to open Embassies in the respective countries. Few years ago, Dr.Swamy led a delegation to South Africa at the Invitation of the Indian Community there, and was received by President De Klerk of South Africa. This visit also proceeded the subsequent normalization of relations between the two countries. In 1983, he also visited Britain at the invitation of the British Government and attended the Labour Party Annual Conference at Blackpool.
In February 1997, he was invited by Prime Minister of Namibia to deliver a key note address at a conference of experts drawn from academics & politics.
He has written extensively on foreign affairs dealing largely with India-China, India-Pakistan and Indo-Israel relation. In November 1978, Dr.Swamy was member of the Group of Eminent persons called to Geneva to prepare a report of the United Nations (UNCTAD) on Economic Co-operation between Developing countries (ECDC). As early as 1963, Dr.Swamy also served for a few months at the United Nations Headquarters in New York as Assistant Economic Affairs Officer.
Dr.Swamy's Fight for Justice:
Dr.Swamy has a distinguished record in fighting for civil liberties. In 1972, he lost his professorship at the I.I.T. Delhi for crusading for academic freedom and for espousing the trade union rights of the non-teaching employees of the Institute. The Courts reinstated Dr.Swamy with full honors after twenty years of fiercely fought litigation.
In August 1987, he undertook a fast-unto death to demand an inquiry into the illegal killing of Muslim youth by the Police in Hashimpura, Meerut. The Government finally yielded to his demand for which Dr. Swamy was hailed by India's minorities.
In 1998, he led fishermen in their trawlers to Katchathivu, an island of Rameshwaram, to enforce the rights of Indian fishermen. The island had belonged to India from time immemorial. It was ceded by a Treaty to Sri Lanka in 1974, on the condition that Indian fishermen would enjoy fishing rights as before and also be allowed to visit the St.Anthony's Church on the island.
An outstanding Parliamentarian:
Dr.Swamy first entered Parliament in 1974, when he was elected to the Rajya Sabha (Parliament) from the State of Uttar Pradesh. In 1977 he entered Lok Sabha, to represent North-East Bombay for two consecutive terms. He is still remembered for the various projects he undertook and the contact he kept with the electorate.
From 1988 to 1994, he represented once again the state of Uttar Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha for a Six year term. In March 1988, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Madurai Constituency in Tamilnadu. This is his fifth term as a Member of Parliament.
Committed to the J.P. Legacy:
Dr.Swamy was greatly influenced by Jayaprakash Narayan. Infact, his return to India was a direct result of his chance meeting with the late leader who spent three days with Dr.Swamy at Harvard.
Dr.Swamy began his political career as a member of the Jan Sangh in 1973. Later 1977, this party merged with the Janata Party. In 1979 and 1980, when the Janata Party split twice, Dr.Swamy became one of the few founding leaders who remained with the original party in face of desertions and even risking political wilderness. Dr.Swamy has always remained in the Janata Party. Dr.Swamy is today President of the Janata Party, a post he has held since 1990.
Proven Administrative Ability:
A glimpse of Dr.Swamy's administrative ability was seen during his tenure as Minister for two key portfolios: as Minister of Commerce, Law & Justice (1990 - 91). As a member of the powerful Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, he fought terrorism in Tamilnadu, and is widely seen in the State as a Saviour. During his tenure as Minister, India signed historic trade agreement with China, Afghanistan and Poland. Dr.Swamy simplified trade procedures and formulated a new export strategy which became the forerunner of trade reform adopted subsequently. In 1994, Dr.Swamy was appointed by Prime Minister Mr.P.V.Narasimha Rao as Chairman, Commission on Labour Standards and International Trade, with a Cabinet Minister's rank. This was perhaps for the first time that a Opposition Party member was given a Cabinet rank post by the ruling party. This proved the recognition of his administrative capacity. As a Chairman, CLS, he produced four voluminous reports on Labour laws in the International Labour Organization framework. He also compiled an omnibus Labour Law to replace the Piecemeal and contradictory legislation Government has accepted the Commission's Reports recommended the same to the Government of India.
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