S. V. Raju

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Singanallur Venkatraman Raju (1933 – 19 May 2015) was an Indian politician, best known for his association with the Swatantra Party.

Early life and career

Singanallur is the name of Raju's native village; Venkatraman is his father's name, and Raju his first name). Raju was hired by C. Rajagopalachari, the former Governor General of India and retired Chief Minister of Madras, on 16 December 1959 as the Office Secretary of Swatantra Party, which was launched four months earlier. It took Raju one year to shed his socialism and become a member of the party—of which he remained a member till the end of his life.

Freedom First

When Swatantra Party faded away in 1974, Raju, along with Geeta Doctor, took up full-time editorship of Freedom First in 1978. The Freedom First magazine had been started in 1953 by the Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom, which was established by Minoo Masani in Mumbai. Raju took Freedom First through thick and thin, including raising funds for its continuation in print, and funds for digitization of the magazine since its inception.

Petition against socialism

In 1996 the Maharashtra unit of the Swatantra Party, led by Raju and its general secretary, L. R. Sampat, decide to revive the Swatantra Party. To register it again and reclaim the party symbol, the star, they approached the Election Commission of India. But Indian law demands that all parties swears allegiance to socialism, in accordance with a 1989 amendment of India’s Representation of People’s Act. They refused and, instead, filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court challenging this provision. Both Sampat and Raju have died before the High Court had its first hearing on their petition.

Indian Liberal Group

In the late 1990s, he took upon himself the task of reviving the Indian Liberal Group, a platform for liberal values that Minoo Masani had started in 1965. He remained its President till 2010. Upon its dissolution, he became co-Director or LiberalsIndia for Good Governance.

Other contributions

He wrote numerous books, in addition to editing and publishing Freedom First. He had a no-nonsense approach to work. As close colleague Naozer Aga, who worked with him for thirty years, wrote: “He lived respected and died regretted”. Gurcharan Das wrote that Raju was "one of the pioneers of Indian liberalism, who kept the flame of liberty flying after the death of Rajaji and Masani".

Works of SV Raju

  • "Freedom First".
  • "Minoo Masani"
  • "Liberalism – A Contemporary View "

Documents about SV Raju

  • Madhavankutty Pillai. "Last Man Standing". Open. 5 April 2014.
  • Niranjan Rajadhyaksha. "S.V. Raju: the last Swatantrite". Mint. 19 May 2015.
  • Sanjeev Sabhlok. "Reminiscences of my interactions with SV Raju over the past 15 years". 19 May 2015.
  • "R.I.P S.V. Raju, The Man Who Wanted To Revive Swatantra". Outlook. 19 May 2015.
  • "Liberalism's last lion: In memory of S. V. Raju and the Swatantra Party". Business Standard. 23 May 2015.
  • "एस व्ही राजू". Loksatta. 23 May 2015.
  • "India’s last ‘anti-socialist’ dies". The National. 19 May 2015.
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