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Issue No.: 570 | December 2014

The Wit and Wisdom of Rajaji

When asked in 1959, why, at the age of 80, he felt it necessary to form a new political party – The Swatantra Party – Rajaji replied: 

"When I see the spreading abuses, the cants, the hypocrisies and the general fall in the moral sense from the highest level down to the unfortunate poor, I do not feel inclined to run way from the struggle for improving things – old, weak and incapacitated though I am.” 

 "Montesquieu said in his famous book, The Spirit of the Laws, that there is no word which contains a wider variety of meanings than ’freedom’. Abraham Lincoln also said a hundred years later that we will declare in favour of freedom but we do not mean the same thing when using this word. By far the best word to denote the freedom which we desire in national economy is the word we use in India: Swatantra. It is the power of the individual to put his will in motion without having to submit to the coercion of another’s will in the management of his affairs”. 
March 26. 1966 
What a fool Rama was say, Congressmen, to give up the crown and go to the forest in order to enable his father to keep his word of honour and not to break his pledge. ‘We break pledges without compunction’ the Congress Party says.’ Our ideas of morality and honour have marched with the times. We are not old fashioned like Gandhiji or Vallabhbhai Patel.’ 
July 27, 1968 
The PM of India described that the payments to ex-rulers were an anachronism. I quite agree in another sense. It has now become an anachronism to keep promises. A people’s reputation cannot be saved when they look upon the keeping of promises and pledges made in return for performance of the obligation on the other side as out of date. Breach of promises and breaking of pledges have become the characteristics of the new era in India under Smt. Indira Gandhi. I am glad the small band of Swatantra Party members in the Lok Sabha as well as in the Rajya Sabha voted against the wreckers of the Constitution undaunted by the massive numbers ranged on the other side. 
December 18, 1971 
Democratically based governments should be able to sense public opinion beforehand and act in advance of agitation and violence. Waiting till violent and intimidatory forms of agitation start and then swearing firmness but yielding to such agitation, step by step, is the surest way to kill parliamentary government. 

February 4, 1967
 Here are two gems taken from the Sunday Statesman (August 22) weekly record of unconscious humour: "Pakistan is a peace-loving country,” said Mr. Z. A. Bhutto. He might have chosen some other time to make this claim. Even more unconsciously humorous is the following statement of Mr. Morarji Desai; "If Hindi is made the official language, the country will produce more engineers and doctors than ever”. 

September 4, 1965 
Here is a new thought, a complement to Lord Acton’s often quoted proposition which a new book on Herod gives us to understand and remember: "If power corrupts, the fear of the loss of power is the mightiest corrupter of all.” 
November 4, 1967 
I don’t know if the story is apocryphal. But it deserves to be true. Max Mueller was asked by someone, why though taking so great an interest in the ancient wisdom of India, he did not go to India. "I do not wish to be disillusioned” was his answer.
 April 6, 1968 
 We can be said to have correctly understood a principle, political, moral or legal, only if we know when to make exceptions to the general rule. Dogmatic adherence to a general rule without understanding when to depart from it is stupidity. 
August 15, 1970





Other Articles in this Issue

Between Ourselves

Between Ourselves



M. V. Kamath: A Personality Sketch


Remembering Rajaji

The Wit and Wisdom of Rajaji


“I Touch a Sensitive Spot”

C. Rajagopalachari

Rajaji in his ‘Dear Reader’ page, in Swarajya


Remembering Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Rediscovering The Sardar

T. H. Chowdary

When the Princely State of Hyderabad was integrated into the Indian Union


Assembly Elections: Haryana and Maharashtra

Haryana A Decisive Victory for the BJP

B. N. Mehrish

Maharashtra: Have the BJP and the Shiv Sena Missed the Mandate?

Nitin G. Raut

Prime Minister Modi – 6 Months After

Modi Triumphant

Firoze Hirjikaka

Modi’s Detractors in America

Sardul Singh Minhas

Federalism, Governance and Growth

Sunil S. Bhandare

The Political-Economy of Black Money in India

Ajit Karnik

Point Counter Point : Every issue has at least two sides

Maharashtra Elections

Ashok Karnik

Ottawa Attack

Ashok Karnik

The Black Money Hype

Ashok Karnik

The Rural Perspective

Agriculture and Rural Indebtedness - IV

R. M. Mohan Rao

Foreign Relations in the 21st Century

Containment And Cooperation: Continuity and Change in India’s China Policy

B. Ramesh Babu

Book Review


Lok Raj Baral


Vappala Balachandran

Educating Adults

The Legality of ‘Tolerated Prostitution’ - Remembering Meliscent Shephard as we Debate

Jyoti Marwah

Legalising Prostitution – The Way Forward

Elizabeth Rosen

Sending Sheetal from a Red Light Area to a U.S drum school?


Facilities Alone do not make for Good Education – A Personal Experience

Suresh C. Sharma

Compelling Scientists to Teach

Suresh C. Sharma

From Our Readers

Andhra Pradesh Day

T. H. Chowdary

Preserving Our Nationhood and Culture

T. H. Chowdary

Why this Discrimination?

Suresh C. Sharma

“A Tale of Three Nations” - A Correction

Arvind Banavalikar


Many Voices from the Past

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