Dr. Subramanian Swamy : Has age finally caught up with him?

Some brief facts about Dr. Subramanian Swamy

Dr. Subramanian Swamy needs no introduction. His political life is the stuff of legends. From his Emergency Hero days, to his lone ranger days in the almost, but not quite, dead Janata Party to his current Hindu Nationalist avatar, he has had many friends and perhaps as many enemies. But he has always been an interesting and newsworthy person. He made news when he slipped through the fingers of authorities during emergency after making a daring statement in the Parliament in 1970s, he made news when in 1980s he was seen with the Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, and in 1990s when he brought Sonia Gandhi and Jaylalitha together to topple Vajpayee government{Vajpayee was a rival since Janata days}. In recent years, he has become popular than ever by his bold pronouncements on Hindutva issues and his relentless pursuit corruption cases{specially against Gandhi family}. He can be credited in large part for 2014 BJP win, final decision in Ram Janmabhumi Temple and for promoting discussion on important public policy issues.

Dr. Subramanian Swamy
Dr. Swamy : economist, politician and activist.

A lone ranger

However his contributions to opening up the Indian economy, in normalizing relations with China, and in building a formidable RW ecosystem around himself are not much appreciated. An economist by training, Dr. Swamy has had the courage to call a spade a spade since his student days. He publically called out the venerable Dr. Mahalnobis while he was a student at ISI{established by Mahalnobis himself!}. We have already seen his courage in fighting lonely battles against corruption and for Dharma. He stands by his convictions, even if he is mocked and trolled for them.

Controversial Dr. Swamy

Dr. Swamy is also no stranger to controversies. He has been allegedly an agent for both China and USA{which is a feat in itself!}. He has expressed controversial opinions about voting rights of Muslims{although his daughter is married to a Muslim}, character of Sonia Gandhi and assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. He has a phenomenal twitter following and his opinions are heeded by millions. To many of his followers, he is the final word on everything. He employs cryptic acronyms and colorful language for his detractors. In the otherwise intellectually barren and monochrome field of Indian Politics, he brings a lot of color by his brilliant intellect and witty remarks.

Is he always right?

Age however has started catching up with Dr. Subramanian Swamy. Although active as ever and very regular in his habits, as evidenced by his early morning tweets, he is now eighty years old. His tweets in last few weeks have shown how Dr. Swamy, who could be depended upon facts, has started losing his touch. I will attach a few screenshots and my explainatory comments are after the pics. All the three tweets were made within last three days:-

Case 1

Dr. Swamy makes a wrong statement.
Pic 1 : Swamy does accept when his mistakes are pointed out to him.

In Pic 1 above you can see Dr. Subramanian Swamy claimed that Government of India has taken a moronic decision to charge steep rail fares from migrants returning homes. Of course, this was the propaganda by opposition. He must have made some inquiries as after a while he tweeted that it was to be paid for by Central and State govts jointly in ratio of 85:15.

It is good that he provided clarification, but I wish to point out two things here. First, the damage had already been done. Those opposed to BJP used his statement, which was false, to counter the supporters on social media. Of course what is the credibility of a humble karykarta, even though right on facts, in front of great Dr. Swamy? Even when he tweeted the clarification, see the difference in response. The false statement has 62500 likes and around 16000 shares. The clarification has a paltry 40 likes and 15 shares. The damage could not be undone. Secondly, he did not even delete the first tweet, where wrong information was mentioned.

I will leave the judgement on you.

Case 2

Dr. Swamy wrong on facts again
Pic 2

In the pic 2 above, Dr. Subramanian Swamy claims that “There are 16 languages of India recognised as ‘national language’. Let us designate Sanskrit instead ‘Raj Bhasha'”{sic}

I respect Dr. Swamy a lot and am an admirer of his legal acumen. Therefore, I refuse to believe that he is unaware of the real facts. There are only two possibilities. One, he is being economical with the truth. That is absurd as there is no stakes involved here. Second, he has forgotten something that is very basic. I will show below how these facts are wrong.

There is no national language in India. The constitution of India however has multiple provisions related to languages. In the eighth schedule, there are 22 languages{which Dr. Swamy confuses with 16 national languages!}. Article 343(1) of the Constitution provides that Hindi in Devanagari script shall be the Official Language of the Union. It is called Raj Bhasha in Hindi.

Dr. Swamy has stated two wrong facts here. Unfortunately, due to his huge popularity, these will become Brahmvakyas for some of his followers. Already more than 3000 people had liked it and more than 500 shared it at the time of writing this.

Case 3

Dr. Swamy again dismisses a fact
Pic 3

In the Pic 3 above, Dr. Subramanian Swamy admonishes a certain Mr. Peeyush Relhan. Mr. Relhan says that “sir, federal structure is basic structure of our constitution”{sic}. This statement Dr. Swamy dismisses with a single word : “Rubbish.” Of course, the final word has been spoken. Who would dare to contradict Dr. Swamy? He famously gives as good as he gets. In fact, even though I know this fact by heart, I had to recheck just because Dr. Swamy said otherwise.

The truth is, Mr. Relhan is right. The basic feature{or basic structure} doctrine was given in the famous Keshavananda Bharathi case judgement of 1973. Incidentally it was decided the same day Sachin Tendulkar was born. It is the most important case in the constitutional history of India and was decided by the largest ever 13 judge bench. Although it did not define what a basic structure was{a strategy that has made Indian Judiciary very powerful}, it did say that federal structure was part of the basic features. According to this judgement, basic features of the constitution cannot be amended. Even before this judgement, many constitutional experts have described India as “bargaining federation”, “cooperative federation”, “federation with a unitary bias” etc.

I am quite sure that Dr. Swamy knows these things better than I do. There is only one possibility that makes sense. Age has finally started catching up with him.

Is Dr. Subramanian Swamy a spent force?

Certainly not. He is like Bheesm Pitamah of Indian politics, an elder statesman with formidable intellect and vast experience and a moral compass. Hopefully, he will still serve this country for many years yet. He has valuable opinions on economics, politics and Hindutva. It is natural that, impact of old age will show more frequently from now on. So we should take his facts with a grain of salt. As for Dr. Swamy, it is not my place or stature to advice him. I just hope, he shares more of opinions, arguments and reminiscences than such ‘facts’.

Follow me:-

Leave a Reply