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Issue No.: 577 | July 2015

Raju Lived for a Cause

Y. Sivaji
Dying for a cause in a fit of emotion is one thing. Dedicating one’s entire life for a cause, however, is altogether another. It calls for passion, dedication and discipline. It is to the latter category that Mr. Raju belongs.

My memory takes me back 60 years. Raju in his twenties reached Bombay from down south to eke out a living and joined as executive secretary of the newly born Swatantra Party in 1959. Rajaji founded the party in which Ranga and Minoo Masani were the President and the General Secretary. Masani entrusted Raju in his formative years with the responsibility of running the back office. In the Fort area, in the heart of south Bombay, the Swatantra Party office was located at 143, M. G. Road, just opposite Army and Navy Building at 148, M. G. Road where Masani’s office of Personnel and Productivity Services was housed.

During the early 1950s, Communist ideological propaganda was sweeping the nation and Sardar Patel asked Masani to do something to counter it. Masani replied that he could do so if he had a place to sit and Rs.5,000 to run the show. Sardar Patel ordered Morarji Desai, the then Chief Minister of composite Bombay State, to acquire a place under the rent control law and offer Rs.5,000 to Mr. Masani to start this mission. With that petty amount, Masani brought out innumerable booklets on liberal philosophy and launched Freedom First, a monthly magazine. Raju took on the editorship of the magazine in 1985.

I came in contact with Raju as a medico of Guntur Medical College in the mid-sixties. Since then, I have maintained my friendship with him. I attended the National Executive Committee meeting of the Swatantra Party in Lucknow in 1974 following its debacle in the 1971 Lok Saba elections. Masani stepped down as President of the Swatantra Party and Piloo Mody succeeded him. Though he was about to be relieved by the end of the month, Raju worked with all his energies at the meeting in Lucknow. Raju guided us on the agitation against the 17th amendment to the Constitution during 1963-64 as well as the historic Jai Andhra movement of 1972-73.

When the Swatantra Party was merged with nine other parties to form the Bharatiya Lok Dal, Masani and his associates including Raju opted out. While we differed on this, our friendship continued. A very important trait of Raju?s personality was his humility. Even though he dealt with stalwarts in the Swatantra Party, I found him to be very humble. He knew his limitations. That is the reason he always worked in the back office without exposing himself to the public domain.

In 1977, soon after the general elections, Raju coauthored with Dr. S. P. Aiyar, a voluminous book When the Wind Blows. He was so affectionate as to refer to me in his book.

Whenever I happened to be in Mumbai, I made it a point to spend some time with Masani, Pai, Nani Palkhivala and Raju. Raju was always a source of inspiration. Under his guidance, we organized several workshops on subjects like education, agriculture and liberalism at Guntur, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Coimbatore.

In 2004, Raju encouraged us to conduct a meeting at Guntur on agriculture and rural indebtedness. Mr. Dinesh Chandra, former Secretary of banks was invited. The meeting recommended that the Government of India waive farmers’ debt. Our recommendation and continuous efforts resulted in the Government of India waiving debts to the tune of Rs.65,000 crore in 2008. This would not have been possible without Mr. Raju’s perseverance.

I met him last in February this year at the seminar on 150th birth anniversary of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. The unerring prophesy of Rajaji, Minoo Masani and Ranga on liberalism has come true with the entire nation embracing it for the last 25 years. Unfortunately, they were ahead of their times. Some of those who profess LPG (liberalization, privatization and globalization) these days are doing so only by compulsion and not by option. If conditions suit them, they will not hesitate to abandon LPG like a hot potato. Raju may be ruminating over the visionary thinking of stalwarts like Rajaji, Masani and Ranga in his Heavenly abode. He was a loner who carried the cause of liberalism till the end.

Dr. Y. Sivaji, 
former Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha




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In this issue


Tribute to S. V. Raju

Truly, The Complete Man

Vivek Raju

S. V. Raju: A Political Rishi

Nitin G. Raut

Memories of S. V. Raju

Sharad Joshi

Raju Lived for a Cause

Y. Sivaji

S. V. Raju: A Personal Tribute

Minoo Adenwalla

My First and Only Meeting with S. V. Raju

Ronald Meinardus

My First and Last Meeting with S. V. Raju

V. Krishna Moorthy

Tributes from Friends


The Economy

Trouble Spots and A Way Forward

Sunil S. Bhandare

Point Counter Point : Every issue has at least two sides

Modi's Year in Power

Ashok Karnik

AAP's Ambition

Ashok Karnik

Cricket with Pakistan

Ashok Karnik

Facts and Rumours

Ashok Karnik


Life and Death

Firoze Hirjikaka


Questions Needing Answers

Ashok Karnik

Foreign Relations in the 21st Century

“Manufactured Sovereignty” in South China Sea: Sino-American Confrontation Heats Up

B. Ramesh Babu

Book Review


S. V.Raju


By Ashok Karnik

Educating Adults

Examination Reforms at the Bachelor’s Level

R. W. Desai

A Doctor In The Air: Ancient Aviator Anecdote

Cecil Parker

The History of the Swatantra Party

The Swatantra Party in Gujarat: A Shooting Star (Part III)

Usha Thakkar
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