Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Subramanian Swamy in Indian Politics: Why India cannot do without him

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The field of Indian politics is crowded with every kind of undesirable criminal who somehow get elected to Parliament and pose as "peoples Representatives". In most Western democracies one can expect a basic level of education and civility from the elected representatives. In India politicians tend to focus on personalities rather than the issues and hence we need to take personalities seriously. We have had number of colourful figures--Raj Narain, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narain etc.All these personalities have contributed immensely to Indian politics, either in a negative manner like Raj Narain or positive manner like Lohia and Jayaprakash. However there is one and only Subramanian Swamy. A Tamil Iyer,and I must say that like the Jews, the Brahmins of Tamil Nadu are targeted by the Dravidian parties,by birth Subramanian Swamy has earned for himself an abiding place Indian politics by sheer strategic intelligence and perseverence. Given the overwhelming superiority in numbers commanded by the backward caste, the political scene is grim for the brahmins and dalits. In this menagerie Swamy has created a niche for himself.

Electoral democracy has given space to the criminals who masquerade as politicians and men like Swamy cannot be a match to the Mulayam Singh Yadava, Laloo Prasad Yadava, and D P Yadava. He does not have the muscle power or the money power to take on the dynastic fascism of the Congress. Therefore he has concentrated on "issue based politics". This means that ideology is not the main factor in his politics. Rather he creates a space for himself by exploiting the very weaknesses of the so called political class. Swamy is well aware that Indian dynastic fascism is both corrupt and criminal so he uses the laws of the land to corner the politicians. He is a highly educated individual and the semi-literate Indian politician is virtually defenceless in front of him.Men like A Raja, the DMK minister who is in jail, should have known long ago that the backward class dominated DMK will sacrifice him and that is exactly what happened. Kani is out and Raja is in. Men like Swamy understand the caste dynamics of Tamil politics and play the tune like an accomplished pianist.

Swamy, the Harvard Ph D, is sometimes mistaken to be a serial blackmailer, targetting cash heavy politicians in order to force them to offload some of the mullah. I too for sometime believed that this was indeed the case. I have now come to realise that while Swamy ruthlessly pursues his quarry, he does not negotiate with it and so he is not a blackmailer, as he is sometimes portrayed to be. Had this been the case the Harvard Zero, Chidambaram would have long ago purchased peace. Swamy's technique is to use the law and procedures to harass the politicians who he perceives to be anti-national. He has the ability to research the subject thoroughly and being a well known economist has an array of sources which he deploys in a deft manner. Dr Arun Shourie was one such individual, but has since become a writer close to the BJP. Swamy, however, is still independent.

In the world according to Swamy, there are no permanent friends and permanent enemies in politics and he truly lives up to the golden adage of Machiavelli: it is better to be feared than to be loved. Indian politicians from across the political spectrum loathe Swamy and this is proof that he is on the right track. Attempts to target and paint him using the Congress party's contribution to politicalexicon of India--communal-- will not wash because in his personal life, Swamy shows the he is more secular than Nehru who did not want his daughter to marry a parsi. Even India's animus against Meneka seems to have had a communal and caste tinge to it.

Swamy's list of "victims" is impressive: Jayalalithaa, Ramakrishna Hegde, A Raja and scores more. Some his his antics have been wasteful. He brought down the Vajapayee Gavernemnt in 1999 by one vote on sheer whim. He had no hesitation in teaming up with J Jayalalithaa and Sonia to bring down the NDA Government. I do not know what he achieved by doing this except the vicarious pleasure of tweaking Vjaapayee's nose. He relentlessly pursued the cases against the other major crimianl organisation in India, apart from the Congress, viz the DMK and kept the spotlight on the Jain Commission of Inquiry which indicted the leadership of the DMK for various acts in support of the LTTE. He kept the pressure on the DMK until the Congress forits own political reasons jumped into bed with the DMK. Even in the 2G Scandal nothing would have happened without the sustained intervention of Swamy.

I think India needs a ruthless hunter like Swamy and I say all power to him.

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