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Issue No.: 577 | July 2015
 

S. V. Raju: A Personal Tribute

Minoo Adenwalla
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In 1967, as a member of the Lawrence University faculty, I was awarded an Associated Colleges of the Midwest Research Grant, funded by the Ford Foundation, to spend a year, in India, to study the Swatantra Party. The eminent Rustom Cooper, then Treasurer of the Party, introduced me to Raju, who was Secretary of the Party, at its Mumbai Headquarters. Russi told me that Raju’s help would be invaluable. He couldn’t have been more correct.

1967 was the heyday of the Party. If I remember correctly, it was the second largest party in the Lok Sabha. The Mumbai Headquarters was a beehive of activity. For the next eleven months, when I was in Mumbai, I became a constant visitor to the party office and formed a friendship that was to last all through the years.

In spite of a busy and heavy schedule, as Executive Secretary of the Party, Raju gave me all the time he could. He gave me party literature and publications. He told me about the short history and structure of the organization, its aims and the nature of its leadership. He evaluated individual leaders. He arranged for me to meet them in Mumbai, and later on, in New Delhi.

We also spoke, at great length about Indian politics, in general – the increasingly regulated, semi-socialist economy, and the hurdles to free enterprise and economic freedom.

A bare recital of the subjects of discussion does not do justice to my pleasure, at the growth of our personal friendship. Raju was warm, generous, articulate, and passionate about the aims and hopes of the Party. It also became clear that he idolized Minoo Masani, one of Swatantra’s founding fathers, and leading parliamentarian. This tells us something special about Raju.

Minoo Masani and my father had known each other since the 1930s. It was Minoo who advised my dad, to enrol me in the New Era School, under the dynamic leadership of the London University trained principal, M. T. Vyas. Minoo was a supremely self-confident, intellectual, direct, combative, undiplomatic, demanding, political leader of the highest integrity. He did not suffer fools easily, and he spoke his mind. He was not a person with whom it was easy to get along. Only another self-confident, direct, honest, intellectual could have bonded with, and served under him. Only someone who was efficient, loyal, hardworking, prepared to stand his ground when necessary, could have won Masani’s admiration and affection, as Raju did.

At the end of my stay in India, Raju asked me to contribute an article for Swatantra’s 1968 Convention Souvenir. I did so with pleasure, entitling it: "Swatantra and the Open Society”. It contained many ideas, we discussed during the year.

On my return to Lawrence, I kept in infrequent touch with Raju. When I revisited India in the 1970s, we met, on occasion. When Raju left for the Middle East in 1980, we lost touch completely. In 1998, on another trip to Mumbai, I asked Nani Palkhivala, whom I knew well, whether he had any news of Raju. Much to my delight, he told me, that Raju had returned from the Mideast, quite some time ago, and was now editor, of Freedom First, founded by Minoo Masani in the early fifties. The gap of many years seemed to make no difference to our relationship. Times had changed. Swatantra was no more. The 1990s had seen a dramatic shift in Indian economic policy under the guidance of Manmohan Singh.

Raju , now without Swatantra or Masani, who had passed away in 1998, continued the good fight, to keep the flag of free enterprise and political liberalism flying. Others have listed his myriad activities, regarding the India Liberal Group, the educational conferences, the attempt to revive Swatantra, which I will not repeat, in this personal reminiscence. Though older, he had lost none of his zest or optimism. And while India had moved a good deal in the direction recommended by Swatantra, he was not satisfied. He was critical of the slow pace of economic reforms, and the continuing dominance of governments in the economic policy. Raju invited me to contribute to Freedom First. Over the following years, I sent in a number of articles. We met again in 2004 and 2006, when I was in Mumbai, but, otherwise kept in touch on e-mail.

Reading his last editorials in Freedom First, it seemed that Raju, cautiously welcomed the sweeping victory of Narendra Modi. Here, at long last, is an opportunity for Swatantra’s economic vision of a prosperous India, free of the grip of excessive regulation. An India, that Raju and a small group of determined leaders and intellectuals, like Minoo Masani, Rajaji, Nani Palkhivala fought for, against tremendous odds. I often marvelled at Raju’s continuing optimism, and confidence that, someday, the tide would turn. I pray that he will be proved right.

Professor Minoo Adenwalla, Emeritus Professor of Government and the 
Mary Mortimer Professor of Liberal Studies, Lawrence University, U.S.A.

 
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Editorial

In this issue

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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
 

Perspective

Life and Death

Firoze Hirjikaka
 

Reflections

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

HOW BUSINESSMEN CAN ENRICH PUBLIC LIFE – D. N. PATODIA – REFLECTIONS

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INTELLIGENCE – AN INSIDER’S VIEW

By Ashok Karnik
 

Educating Adults

Examination Reforms at the Bachelor’s Level

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A Doctor In The Air: Ancient Aviator Anecdote

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The History of the Swatantra Party

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

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