Monday, July 20, 2009

Relevance of Rajaji, Swatantra Party today

Back in Chennai, the weather continues to be oppressive, although it is not as bad as it was during April-June. There have been no rains as such although the local media does go ga-ga at the slightest drizzle when there is no reason to.

N. S. Venkataraman, who runs the NGO, Nandini Voice for the Deprived, has been doing a lot for society. He stood for the Parliamentary elections, but lost. Not that he lacked support; what he did not have was money and muscle power. And without these two elements, you cannot expect to win an election in India.

Venkataraman always comes up with something interesting. He may have lost the elections but that has not deterred him from carrying on with the same gusto. His NGO and the Indian Liberal Group is organising on August 15 (Independence Day) a meeting in Chennai to discuss the relevance of the Swatantra Party’s philosophy to present times.

The Swatantra Party was founded by Rajaji on August 1,1959. The party does not exist anymore. However, according to Venkataraman, the philosophy enunciated by the Swatantra Party, particularly its vigorous opposition to ‘state capitalism’ and ‘permit licence, quota Raj’ , appear to be well accepted by the Governments in India today. Perhaps, Swatantra Party was ahead of its time, he adds.

The discussion, Venkataraman feels, is timely. With 50 years having passed after the formation of Swatantra Party, it would be a great intellectual exercise for economists, social activists and political thinkers to introspect on the relevance of Swatantra Party’s philosophy and Rajaji’s advocacy of free economy to today’s India, he says.

A few college students will be asked to provide critical analysis on the subject, which will also give an indication as to how the present day youth view Rajaji’s thoughts and Swatantra Party’s philosophy.

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