Book Review: Evolving with Subramanian Swamy a roller coaster ride by Roxna Swamy

In the diverse world of relationships, particularly, in Indian politics, and in the era of global competition – Dr S Swamy is constantly criticized by his rivals, and almost worshipped by his followers. He hits the national headlines, often; not many will dare to dispute his claim that he is, indeed, knowing the facts while debating on matters concerning corruption, economy, legal rights, justice, injustice. As far as all of this is concerned, the same scenario has been unfolding for decades for Dr S Swamy. His wife, Roxna Swamy has written a biography of her husband: Evolving with Subramanian Swamy a roller coaster ride. Through a series of detailed chapters, she describes her life with her spouse who is never going to be out of controversy!


The book is appropriate with its timing, and amazingly appealing in content. As recounted in the Preface, it is apparent, Roxna Swamy had a commitment to fulfill... she felt, she had to share her recollections of what she had personally seen and experienced. 


The author focuses on the background and first quarter century of her life with the crusader, Dr S Swamy. Key dimensions relating to their “combined” struggle to raise a family, and build their vocations steadfastly on separate platforms, makes the book an absorbing piece on how two people from different backgrounds can build their lives without competing. Roxna Swamy is a Parsi. Dr S Swamy is a Hindu. Both are highly qualified, and both have faced the prospect of no jobs... the book is a solid source of inspiration for its readers. 


Irrespective of whether people actually believe in Dr S Swamy – in reality, the truth remains that very few have the grit and competence of Dr S Swamy. In her book, Roxna Swamy can naturally and effortlessly elevate her partner, who is a smart Indian economist, mathematician and leading political leader. He was a cabinet minister during the short Chandra Shekhar government. He has written on foreign affairs of India; he has also simplified trade procedures and formulated export strategy which became the forerunner of trade reform. Last but not the least, he is a charming orator. Presently, he serves as a Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha (Upper House) of the Indian Parliament.


Roxna Swamy's book comes alive with anecdotes, and loads of information of those gone by years of chaos, triumphs – it is a daring piece of work. The photos are an added highlight.


Is Dr S Swamy a Hindu extremist?  No. It doesn’t seem so. Neither is he a Hindu fanatic. He is an able activist... a very able activist. The book is a subtle reminder of these facts. Did he not go on a fast unto death, as an enquirer – into the 1987 Hasimpura massacre in which 40 Muslim youth were killed by UP Provincial Armed Constabulary? Yes, and he is still pursuing the case though the culprits were acquitted.


Evolving with Subramanian Swamy a roller coaster ride is a book about Dr S Swamy, but the great rally for the reader is the utterly original, informal style of Roxna Swamy. As an author, she has taken an unflinching look at Indian politics in all of its moral, immoral complexities. From Indira Gandhi to Atal Bihari Vajpayee to much more, the course covers several decades of ‘ups and downs’ for the Swamys, themselves.


The emphasis is clear that Roxna Swamy felt that a great responsibility rested upon her to come out with a book... and the book did come.


Roxna Swamy practices in the Supreme Court, and she is a mathematician by training. She did her post graduation in applied mathematics from Harvard University-USA.  In 1972, she received her doctorate from IIT- Delhi.

Geeta Chhabra

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