I admire Dr Subramanian Swamy immensely. He is among a handful of people who have the guts, the intelligence, the commitment, the dedication and the stamina to fix what’s broken in India. I agree with him on all the substantive issues and where I do disagree, I am sure that there’s room for reasonable people to disagree on. I came across an interview of his on Hans India. Below some excerpts from it, for the record. (Image stolen from Hans India.)
The interviewer is K Ramachandra Murthy. (Please note that I have concatenated the excerpts from the original text. I have highlighted a few bits to indicate my notes. The last note is worth reading very carefully.)
What according to you will happen in UP?
If there are no Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Congress will stand in the fourth position. It will not get more than 25 seats. Probably Mulayam Singh’s party will be number one. Mulayam may also be close to the majority, he may not need any other party. But the consequence is that in the Presidential elections opposition President will be elected. Then I think mid-term poll will be held very soon for the Lok Sabha.
If there must be mid-term poll who do you think will gain – NDA or UPA?
NDA has to enthuse its party workers, particularly the BJP, their party workers are disheartened. In fact some people suggested that I should align with NDA and I have said I am ready. But I wonder what we shall say to people. Congress says development and secularism. Are we going to say the same thing? Then people may not give us much chance. I think we have a better chance if we say we will unite the country on the basis of Hindutva. Because today there is a feeling in Hindus that nobody is talking about them. So that sentiment needs to be captured. If there is an honest projection with a new set of faces, there may be a chance.
It means no Advani?
It means none of them. All those who were there in NDA government. People will not believe them.
It also means no Jaitley, Sushma and all the second rung leaders?
They can be the ministers. But to be the Prime Minister, it has to be a new face. It could be Modi. The problem with him is that, he will not get the majority and other allies will not come with him.
The killings of Muslims in Gujarat will also go against him. Do you think people in South India would vote for Modi?
(laughs) That’s what I mean. He can deliver Gujarat but whether he can deliver in other places, we don’t know. That’s why even BJP also is hesitating to project him as prime ministerial candidate May be. But they don’t have anyone else.
There are predictions that if the Congress gets about 100 seats in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul will take over from Manmohan Singh and if the Congress gets around 50 seats, Rahul will remain as an MP, Manmohan will continue. What do you have to say?
(Laughs) They say a lot of new changes are going to take place in the Congress. Sonia Gandhi has terminal cancer. Rahul is not a very intelligent person, neither is Sonia Gandhi. But Sonia has the backing of Vatican.
That’s what Morarji said of Rajiv Gandhi, that he is not burdened by brains.
Yes, that’s true. But he (Rajiv) was a nationalist.
From the day you appeared in the Rajya Sabha during Emergency and created a sensation and then disappeared, till now, you have fought many a battle. What do you think of yourself and your position in Indian history when you look back?
When I came into politics, I said India needs three or four things to be done. Number one – It must give up socialism. When I said this, everyone was shocked. Ultimately, as a Minister, I got it done. Then, I said that we must have good and strong relations with Israel, which I ensured and it has since happened.
The third thing was that we must improve relations with China, and we should not be so dependent on the Soviet Union. When Morarji Desai became Prime Minister I had got Kailash Manasa sarovar opened. The fourth thing is that India can become a united country if you have a renaissance in Hinduism. I would like people to think of themselves more as Hindus than as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, North Indians or South Indians. I think that in contemporary history maybe things will not be so kind to me, because journalists get influenced by business houses. But when history gets recorded, it will be something like the improvement of the image of Sardar Patel – when he was alive nobody gave him much credit.
But Sardar Patel was considered the modern Bismark of India?
Yes, but those are after words. During his time nobody said so, as people were afraid that it might displease Jawaharlal Nehru.
Nehru-Gandhi dynasty minus Rajiv?
(Laughs) That’s a big minus. I did not know Jawaharlal Nehru. But as a historian, I think he was a bad Prime Minister. But to Indira Gandhi I was opposed because she was a socialist, pro-Soviet Union and then the Emergency. So, I had every reason to oppose her, and Sonia Gandhi naturally you know she had done a lot of harm to our country.
Now, can I say that your target is Sonia Gandhi?
She is the root cause of all problems. People blame Manmohan Singh, but it is Sonia Gandhi who prevented him from stopping Raja. And she got the biggest share of the bribe amount – of about Rs 36,000 crore.
What do you think about Anna Hazare’s movement or his fight against corruption?
Anna Hazare said corruption will be eliminated only if Jan Lokpal Bill is passed. I did not agree with that.
Do you think Jan Lok pal will come?
No, How can congress commit suicide?
You were close to PV Narasimha Rao. Do you think that he was treated properly by the Congress? Actually PV once told me that he had asked the ministers to do whatever Sonia’s secretary (George) asks them to… But what went wrong? Why had they become enemies?
He should have got Bharatratna for what he did. The economic reforms blue print was prepared by me and he gave political support. Manmohan Singh only implemented it. But everybody gives Manmohan Singh the credit. I think Sonia Gandhi was unhappy with PV because he wouldn’t give up party presidentship for her. She wanted him to remain as Prime Minister and give her the party presidentship. He told her that it has been the Congress tradition to have the Party President as the Prime Minister.
But journalists also say that the Father of Indian economic reforms is Manmohan Singh.
That’s wrong. If he could do all those big economic reforms then as a Finance Minister, what stops him now? So obviously it means that they have been Narasimha Rao’s reforms.
What do you expect the people of India to do now?
We are a very young population with over 70 percent below the age of 35. People have to take more risks. I want the people not to think of money as the final goal. You can’t sacrifice your whole life for making money. The desire for more money is the reason for increased corruption. I will say don’t imitate the West. Learn from our tradition and have the correct view of the history. Don’t learn the British version of our history. I want people to take interest in politics…clean it up…don’t complain!
Where will India be 20 years from now?
India will overtake China in ten years of time. China is going to have very big financial crisis. We will have a budgetary crisis but we are a democratic country so we can improve ourselves. When there is food crisis we had Green Revolution and when there was foreign exchange crisis we had economic reforms and so when we have a budgetary crisis we will have a more efficient government.
 Dr Manmohan Singh takes credit for reforms. That is one blatant example of how despicably dishonest Dr Singh is.
 Actually Indian journalists do get a lot of things wrong. They are trapped in an echo chamber and they just repeat what they have heard. Critical evaluation of evidence and investigative journalism is not very common among them.
 I disagree with Dr Swamy. It is not the desire for money that is the root of corruption. Desire for money (which is a proxy for desire for material goods and for power) is not unnatural or necessarily bad. It’s a mistake to confuse the desire for material gain with unethical and immoral behavior. Corruption is unethical and immoral, and in many cases it is also illegal. The root cause of public corruption is economic control without accountability and transparency.
 Actually India overtaking China in 10 years is plainly impossible. So what Dr Swamy says is nonsense. As I always say, a lot of nonsense can be avoided if you just do the arithmetic. Here’s a bit of arithmetic.
Today China’s economy is four times India’s economy. If China continues to grow at 10 percent per year (which it has been doing for the last few decades), in 7 years its economy will be double its current size — or eight times the size of India today. In 10 years, China’s economy will be 10.4 times India’s current economy.
Therefore to overtake China in 10 year’s time, India’s economy will have to expand to say 10.5 times it current size. What’s that rate of growth? That’s a growth rate of over 25 percent per year for 10 years!
The word impossible does not even come close to describing that growth rate. India at the best of times does around 10 percent per year growth rate. The Nehru rate of growth was around 3 percent — and the UPA is doing its best to drag India back to the Nehru rate of growth with its socialist policies.
At 7 percent growth rate, in 10 years India’s economy will be double its current size. China would have increased the lead it has over India. In 10 years, India will continue to be a Third world impoverished nation, and China will be in a different league entirely. You have a fairly large number of Indian voter to thank for that — they vote the Congress & the UPA & and the Nehru-Gandhi-Maino family to bring the country to ruin.