Freedom First
Freedom First

Home » Current Issue

Issue No.: 577 | July 2015

My First and Only Meeting with S. V. Raju

Ronald Meinardus
Long before I came to India as the Regional Director of my Foundation, I knew his name. For us at the liberal Foundation, S. V. Raju was the personification of liberalism in India. For many years a close partner of the Foundation, he and his fellows at the "Indian Liberal Group” represented India in various international and regional liberal fora – and left a mark. 

"My association with your Foundation goes back to 1963”, Mr. Raju told me in our only meeting. Shortly after I arrived in India last August, I visited his modest office in South Mumbai. As a newcomer and curious amateur of Indian liberal affairs, the time spent with Mr. Raju over tea and cookies was a history lesson of a very special quality. He talked with patience and with passion, explaining the ups and downs of the liberal movement, the constraints – and also the difficulties – of a liberal resurrection in the present political situation.

Here was a committed liberal of the old school, an octogenarian with – this my impression – a zest for intellectual combat with the enemies of freedom. Mr. Raju shared his trials and tribulations as secretary of the Swatantra Party, his admiration for Minoo Masani whose memory he has kept alive through the writings in Freedom First magazine and other activities. 

Mr. Raju believed in an open society based on minimum government and maximum freedom. To push these principles in the specific Indian context was the mission he believed in. A restless promoter of liberalism, Mr. Raju continued the battle of ideas when others had long given up - or moved away to more comfortable environs. 

"It takes immense moral courage to fight a battle you know you are almost destined to lose”, writes Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, the editor of MINT newspaper, in a beautiful obituary to our liberal friend. When I read this, my mind drifted back to our meeting on that November morning last year in the window-less office with the huge Tibetan flag at our back. Support for Tibet was one of those seemingly losing battles he believed in. "It’s a matter of principle”, he explained – not more and not less.

"My idea is to keep the liberal idea alive”, he said and proudly presented the series of magazines, which in recent editions – how could this be different – dealt also with the phenomenal rise of Narendra Modi and the BJP. "We need somebody who after years of inaction is giving us action”, he said. "Modi is the right man for India at this time. We’re giving him support”, he added. "But not his party” was the immediate qualification. 

We at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom express deep sorrow at the loss of a good political friend and a great liberal of India. We will contribute to the efforts to keep his memory and the ideas he strived for alive.

Dr. Ronald Meinardus, Regional Director, South Asia, 
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, New Delhi.




Current Issue


Other Articles in this Issue


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
The journal of the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom
© Copyright Freedom First. All rights reserved.
Freedom First
3rd Floor, Army and Navy Building,
148, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Mumbai - 400001. INDIA
Freedom First Archives
Quest Archives
Contact Us
About Us
About ICCF
About Freedom First
About Quest
Swatantra Party
Swatantra Party Documents