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Swarajya magazine is a disaster because its editorial director, Sandipan Deb, is a socialist Modi bhakt

At one time there was this thing called centreright.in. I recall reading a few articles on that website from time to time. I notice that Harsh Vora, FTI member, contributed some articles to it. 

In the meanwhile, centreright become Swarajya.

I was delighted when I first heard that someone was taking forward Rajaji's legacy. I widely circulated news about Swarajya to everyone I knew. Maybe to 5000-10000 people. 

I was anticipating something really good.

Since it has come out, I've not read all of Swarjya, but two of the articles I've come across have totally put me off.

1) No Country for Other Ideologies?

2) The Land Acquisition Amendments Don’t Change Much

I've commented on these here: Swarajya magazine has MUZZLED Rajaji’s voice. It is nothing but the voice of RSS and I can have nothing to do with it. – and on Facebook.

Today I decided to spend time to identify and review the owners/managers of this magazine. Here is what I found:

Staff
Sandipan Deb, Editorial Director
TR Vivek, Executive Editor
Amar Govindarajan, Chief Digital Officer
Prasanna Viswanathan, Chief Executive Officer

Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) 
Jerry Rao
Surjit Bhalla 
Bibek Debroy
Swapan Dasgupta

OWNERS
UNKNOWN: "Reluctant to divulge the ownership pattern of the magazine but state that Swarajya is backed by like-minded professional venture capital and angel investors with expertise in nurturing start-ups." [Source]

MY COMMENTS

I know Bibek Roy very well and Surjit Bhalla well enough. Both are excellent economists and liberals. Jerry Rao is modestly liberal – nowhere in the league of Bibek Roy or Surjit Bhalla. Swapan Dasgupta is simply not in the same league. Extremely pro-BJP, hardly liberal.

Now to Sandipan Deb. I checked that he runs this blog. I then read this article Sandipan wrote last year: http://www.sandipanonline.com/modis-first-i-day-speech/. A more fawning view of Modi can hardly be imagined. And he ends his write-up with this:

for me, the most important point he made (other than the removal of that bullet-proof shield) is that he would ask every MP to create a “model village” within his constituency. This is a specific goal, its success easily verifiable, and in one stroke, puts pressure on the MP to deliver to his people. This simple scheme can have extraordinary ripple effects, and no extra government expenditure is needed. Every MP anyway has funds allocated for development of his constituency. It’s just that now, part of what he does with those funds has been formally delineated.

This will force every MP sing for his supper, empower the people, generate competition and pride, and is truly one of those simple ideas that makes you wonder why no one thought of it before.

This is deeply illiberal, 100 PER CENT SOCIALIST. It displays no understanding of governance systems, no understanding that villages don't become "model" villages through MPs' charity. To put it mildly, this is an absolutely idiotic view, typically shared by most "intellectuals" of India who have never spent five minutes to understand governance, incentives or liberty. 

With such a confused Modi bhakt as its editorial director, is it a surprise that we are getting utter socialist gibberish from this magazine?

And who exactly are its owners? These are people who have chosen to hide their names. Why? Are they are backed by BJP/RSS/Modi? All very suspicious. I don't trust those who claim to be liberal but hide their identity.

But why do I even care about Swarajya – to spend time commenting on it? Had it continued as centreright.in I would have ignored these articles as being of one piece – the standard confused repertoire that comes from typical Indian "intellectuals". 

But this is supposed to be SWARAJYA! That's a highly respected name. Deb even harked back to Rajaji in his interview that I've cited above. I had every right to imagine that this was going to be a genuine classical liberal magazine. It is not. That's what's bothering me.

Also that its owners are FLUSH WITH MONEY. They have paid off CCS to create indianliberals.in website which contains a link to this magazine (but not to the Sone Ki Chidiya agenda!!!). So now should CCS be deemed to be part of the Sangha parivar?

The term Swarajya has been hijacked by illiberal Modi bhakts who have little or no clue about liberalism. They definitely have no clue about Rajaji's work, and little understanding of painstaking further work on liberalism in India since Rajaji's death.

I will share this post with Bibek Roy and Surajit Bhalla for their information. Either they should get themselves a genuine classical liberal editor for Swarajya, or they should resign from the editorial board, lest their reputation is tarnished by some of the articles being published. 

ADDENDUM

This is almost conclusive proof of Swarajya's RSS/BJP origin (apart from Rupa's praise/defence of Adani)

India Ideas Conclave: A Hugely Important First Step

My FB comment on this article:

If further proof of Swarajya's BJP/RSS origins is needed, here it is – in open sight (and I'm excluding Rupa's strong defence of Adani):

"India Foundation, a think tank based in Delhi with ties to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), organised a three day event at the Park Hyatt in Goa, 19-21, December 2014, at which there were some 350 delegates, both from India and abroad, and encompassing all walks of life.

Some of the notables present from the current government included Manohar Parrikar, Sushma Swaraj, Nirmala Seetharaman, Piyush Goyal, Suresh Prabhu, and Jayant Sinha. 

Indeed, what was striking to me was just how accessible many of the senior politicians present were with only a discreet and not overbearing security presence. Ministers like Suresh Prabhu and Nirmala Seetharaman and Jayant Sinha were mingling freely among the crowd in an entirely unpretentious manner…

All told, the first India Ideas Conclave represents a hugely important first step in the creation of a non-left, non-politically correct, center right ecosystem which is still in its infancy and is yet to dislodge the mainstream establishment’s grip on a hegemonic narrative. That hegemony was built in no small measure by an ethos in which intellectual, political and other thought leaders of the left would frequently meet and share views in a convivial atmosphere. It was a refreshing change to experience that ambience in this alternative space that is slowly taking shape in India."

FURTHER

Know the real Narendra Modi -The making of a leader

And there is this article that BLINDLY AND SHODDILY exonerates Modi for his crimes

Swarajya states "We will not be politically partisan". Well, there is ONLY one side that is being defended/ supported, and that is BJP/RSS.

Case closed!

ADDENDUM

Extract from an email from a 100 per cent reliable source: "the CEO, the Chief Financial Officer and the Publisher and Chief Digital Officer  of Swarajya are staunch BJP loyalists".

MY COMMENT IN AN EMAIL TO SOMEONE:
It is not that the magazine is blatantly anti-market. But it is deeply confused. 

a) Instead of asking why we still have Doordarshan, it defended its right to publicise RSS's annual event, live.

b) Instead of demanding a strong defence of property rights, thereby no land acquisition for private purpose, it laid out a defence of Modi's land acquisition ordinance.

c) Instead of calling for privatisating of nationalised banks, it defended the massive loan given by SBI to Adani.

d) Instead of asking for deregulated agriculture and end to subsidies, it supported the development of "model villages" that are funded by MP's discretionary grants.

And so on. What is missing is a clear principles-based approach even towards markets.

ADDENDUM

A FB friend conducted some research on Swarajya and identified Kovai Media Private Limited as the company that produces this magazine. The directors paid a pitiable amount to create the company (Rs.1 lakh). There is some major funding coming from elsewhere. Unclear who is actually investing in this, or (most likely) subsidising it.

Based on this I did some more google searching and came out with this PDF (which I've uploaded on my server, for safekeeping). 

Deb did not divulge the amount of money being invested in the business but claimed the second round of funding has been lined up for March 2015. “The investors have a profit motive and they are also ideologically aligned with the product. However, no political party is an investor in this venture,” he said. [Source]

SOMEONE IS FUNDING THIS EFFORT IN A BIG WAY.

ADDENDUM 8 March 2015

I have now found out that Aravindan Neelakandan – a co-author of Breaking India by that obnoxious and illiberal Rajiv Malhotra – is a PROMINENT columnist for Swarajya. In his articles, he has been rabidly fighting in favour of BJP. 

How can such hardcore RSS types be part of a "liberal" magazine?

Rajaji's legacy has been badly hijacked.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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11 thoughts on “Swarajya magazine is a disaster because its editorial director, Sandipan Deb, is a socialist Modi bhakt
  1. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I don’t really care about others, but Swarajya was they name of the journal started by Rajaji. The idea that communal extremists and hardcore socialist supporters of RSS/BJP have taken it over is a travesty of what Rajaji stood for.

     
  2. Pradyumna Reddy

    Going by the state of your discourse, you can safely label yourself illiberal. We are a country deeply rooted in Socialism, thanks to Nehru. A daily or magazine has to engage with the current politics which is still and will continue to be influenced by populism. For example, Fox News is conservative and backs Republican voices but the Republican party in the last two decades has hardly been true to its professed conservative character. Fox News would have to confine itself to reporting on Libertarian and Tea party issues which would make it irrelevant.

    You keep clamoring about RSS influence based on a couple of columnists having a BJP bias. Isn’t it deeply illiberal of you to claim for yourself the legacy of Rajaji as if its your perquisite right to pass judgement. Finally, to burst your bubble, the erstwhile Swatantra Party founded by Rajaji had K. M. Munshi who was the founder of the ultra right VHP. Swarajya magazine coalesced different voices under its aegis. It didn’t conform to some egalitarian standard that you claim it did.

     
  3. Milind

    Shooting the messenger… I read an article in Swarajya highlighting the nefarious activities of Christian missionaries in Tamil Nadu. What do you have to say about that?

    Can you dispute that?

     
  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I don’t read BJP’s mouthpiece.

    The facts about the criminality of ALL religions can’t be denied. But Swarajya denies Modi’s and Hindutva/RSS’s criminality. That’s where it deserves to be thrown into the bin.

     
  5. Surapaneni

    Mr.Pradyumna Reddy writes well. He called you out on important inaccuracies ! Not surprising at all – hypocritical liberals often provide biased information or incorrect data and seem to think, only their opinions matter. You consider yourselves liberal, even though you are intolerant of views that differ from yours !! So much for your liberalism !! Who are you to judge a magazine. They didn’t ask you for your opinion. So what if their opinions align with those of the BJP ? Are you a crony of the Congress ? There are quite a few newspapers & magazines that are on the payroll of the Congress party. Why don’t you investigate them ?

     
  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    “intolerant of views that differ from yours”

    No, I’m not intolerant of views different from mine. That’s the folly of your analysis.

    I’m intolerant of intolerance, I’m intolerant of supporters of murder and mayhem.

    Show me one editorial from Swarjya condemning the violence that erupts repeatedly from the bowels of RSS/BJP and asking these groups to be disbanded, and then come back.

     
  7. Ramakrishna

    Hindu culture is liberal , not Christian, not Muslim, not
    Marxist , not Congress . You say you are intolerant of
    intolerance.

    Romans practiced slavery, Greeks practiced slavery,
    Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians , ancient Israelis
    they all practiced Slavery.

    Christ was usurped by the Slavemasters i.e,. Romans.
    Christianity is a slavish religion. It meekly surrenders to
    slave masters. That is because Jesus said – “Vengeance
    is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans found this
    meek attitude useful, so they pretended to get converted
    to Christianity, used the roman slaves turned Christians ,
    as preachers to confuse the pagans of Europe, just as
    they are doing to Indians now. Once converted, they were
    put down by – “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
    The Roman emperor exercised great control on people
    through Roman Catholic Religion. Why were they
    prevented from all scientific enquirers ? Because they
    feared, the people will get to the myth of Biblical heaven.
    With that they will demand worldly freedom and secular joys,
    which have been denied to them by the Emperor.

    The old Roman slavery took a new form and came clothed
    as Christianity . The men at the helm of the Christian Church
    were always hegemonistic . For them the worldly goal of
    religious expansion by hook or crook is more important than
    an inner spiritual pursuit. So the church blessed the most
    cruel genocides, cultural mayhem, robbery of gigantic
    proportions, slavery and conquest, all over the world. It is
    naive to assume that pope , the head of a 44 hectare palace ,
    could be the center of political conspiracy behind evangelism.
    Even at present times there are political forces with ambitions
    for global hegemony , that are promoting Christianity .
    The present day Christianity is not the spiritual message of
    Jesus, but the colonial tool of subverting all nations and all
    cultures. In effect, Christianity is The Upadhi ( shelter ) for
    SATAN , it pretends to fight .

    Islam is blatant banditry in the name of God.

    These two are not religions but political ideologies out to
    subvert our freedom, our culture, our free thinking.

    The third pretender to claim the role of liberator was Marxism .
    By now it has become clear that, Marxism is a greater
    oppressive force than these two Semitic religions . Once upon
    a time people thought it was operating out of USSR & China .
    Both these countries gave triple talaq to Marx. So where from
    and what for are these Marxists operating in India ? It is clear
    to perceptive analysts, that Marxists of all hues are batting for
    America and China . These three , Islamic Idealogy
    ( not necessarily Muslim people ), Evangelical Christianity ,
    Marxism ( opium of the pseudo intellectuals ) are India’s three
    top enemies in the ascending degree of threat. There is a fourth
    enemy , the Congress party. It is the facilitator for all the three
    anti – Cultural forces . It pretends to protect the Indian culture
    but in practice perverts it through its shit.
    It is the grand facilitator of india’s trioka of enemies.

    You, Mr. Sabhlok, where do you to locate yourself ?
    Hinduism is world’s truly spiritual culture. It accomodates all
    genuine spiritual or worldly pursuits not detrimental to the
    society. We also can not tolerate intolerance.
    We will fight back for the freedom of all of Humanity .

     
  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    ALL religions are largely incompatible with liberty. The way liberty arose was through the rejection of Christianity.

    I reject all religion. Period.

     
  9. Krishnamurthy

    Looks like Mr Sanjeev Sabhlok does not like atrocities against Hindus being shown publicly. BTW, would like to know if you have raised similar voice against other biased media (NDTV??? )
    One really needs to think what is the REASON for Hindus taking law into their own hands in the last few years. What is the reasoning behind their anger and uprising all of a sudden. It is very easy to sit and give speeches to Hindus on being liberal and tolerant citizens. Actually, they are ones always under attack. And Government does NOTHING to address the issue. Instead, they are adding fuel to the fire by resorting to appeasement of Muslims and Christians.

    When rest of the media is completely left oriented and anti-Hindu (since independence), it is great to have some media opening up showing the real issues faced by Hindus in their own country.

     
  10. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I couldn’t care less about other “biased” media.

    The problem is that these guys have cited Rajaji’s Swarajya as the precursor of this effort. There are a dime a dozen “Hindu” magazines and much worse than this one, but none claims the legacy of liberalism that Rajaji brought.

    It is the deception involved here that rankles. Else, this is just one more of the thousands of biased media outlets of India.

     

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