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The Man Behind the Magazine

Industrial Economist has been synonymous with S Viswanathan (SV). Over the years, he has interacted with politicians, business leaders and community activists and had written thousands
of articles.
As our father, our association is a bit more personal.
We see our father as comfortable with a head of state or a business leader as he is with the security guard in the office.We always saw firsthand his insatiable curiosity and constant yearning to learn more. This was useful not just for all his writing but also in adapting to the dynamic publishing industry – quickly phasing out old printing machines, embracing new computerised operations, outsourcing functions and leveraging global financing models. While many companies with deeper pockets perished, IE survived for half a century because of this tenacity. Big ships can sink but the smaller rafts remain afloat, the great cartoonist Thanu commented at our Silver Jubilee.
Social and public good trumped personal benefit for him and there was always the angst that South India wasn’t getting the required attention from policy makers in Delhi and the investing community. Causes like the focus on improving agricultural productivity, companies adopting corporation schools and creating a forum for economic awareness for college students were results of this vision.
For SV, one of his biggest sources of drive, optimism and happiness, is the intellectual stimulation from his interactions with various business and policy leaders. On the occasion of IE’s 50th anniversary, several of these leaders shared their reminiscences about their association and we are presenting a few snippets here.
– Sangita and Bala

Dr.M Anandakrishnan, Former Vice-Chancellor,Anna University
My first contact with SV was in a seminar when I was the Vice-Chancellor of Anna University in early nineties. His depth of knowledge about Tamil Nadu economy and industries was incredible. His initiative to institute, out of his own funds, the Business Excellence Award, as a follow up of IE’s silver jubilee, on well-defined parameters and objective professional evaluation, was a visionary step.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII
Industrial Economist has emerged as a strong and influential voice for industry and economy in the southern region and beyond. IE has also been instrumental in connecting Tamil Nadu to the larger Indian economy and has worked tirelessly to inform and advise about the state’s investment climate and undertake initiatives to attract investments.

Shashanka Bhide, Director, Madras Institute of Development Studies
One thing that strikes me about SV is his focus of his writings and talks on the state level policies and performance at the Centre. His concern about the slowing down of investments in Tamil Nadu for quite some time has been reflected in his writings.

R Gopalakrishnan, Former Director, Tata Sons
If you think Rahul Dravid is persistent, you have to meet SV. For IE, he will walk as far as he needs to. IE is what it is because of him and vice versa. I salute this indefatigable soldier of decent, economic journalism.

T R Gopalan, Regional Director,Indo-German Chamber of Commerce
An outstanding attribute of SV is that he is forthright in calling a spade a spade. With an elephantine memory and an extraordinary analytical mind, SV can recall names, anecdotes and instances dating back to decades and is a reservoir of data and information on the evolution of the Indian economy and the growth of her industry.

Lakshmi Narayanan, Chairman, ICT Academy
I wish I had half the energy that SV has: after so many years of launching IE, he approaches every new day as if it is his first day. If Jeff Bezos has named his Amazon buildings DAY ONE, the IE building should be named FOREVER ONE.

S Natarajan, Former Finance Director, Maruti Udyog Ltd.
My association with SV started 65 years ago when SV, a young student fresh into Intermediate class in Loyola College, Madras, faced me, a 20-year old lecturer in Chemistry. Industrial Economist has always displayed a high class financial journalism, featuring many thought-provoking articles.

R V Rajan, Author
I recently reconnected with SV to write his story for Madras
Musings. The two afternoons that I spent with SV interviewing him for the article were a revealing experience: I was impressed with his phenomenal memory for dates, names and events, and his huge network of friends among bureaucrats and industrialists in South India.

K V Rangaswami, Former President, Construction, L&T Ltd.
While there are multitudes of magazines in the market
covering various aspects of life science, to successfully run an economic magazine totally devoted to economic science is extremely tough and challenging. SV has been doing it for 50 years!

B Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint Gobain Glass India and President (Flat Glass), South Asia & Egypt
SV is an iconic figure in the field of economic journalism. In today’s era of “fake” or “make” journalism, IE adheres to the highest norms of ethics in its essays, articles and stories. Intelligent, inquisitive and independent are just some of the words that can preface SV’s name and by reflection, that of Industrial Economist.

R Seshasayee, Chairman, IndusInd Bank
Few flowers remain as fresh, lively and beautiful at dusk, as at dawn. There are very few individuals who remain productive, energetic and relevant at 80. SV is one such rare individual. SV has genuinely believed that the economic potential in south had remained unexplored and unexploited and that he must do his best to further the cause of economic growth of the region. Half a century of responsible journalism is a great cause to celebrate.

S Sethuraman, Formerly with the Press Trust of India
A critical phase of SV’s professional career began in the early 1970s when he was invited to the annual Economic Editors’ Conferences in New Delhi. Year after year, SV diligently and effectively pointed to the blatant neglect of the South while making policy choices or locating projects, becoming the prominent face for cooperative federalism in action.

Prof. Dr. V Sumantran, Chairman, Celeris Technologies
Through the years, SV’s indefatigable spirit and abiding passion for India’s economic and industrial development has seen him weather all sorts of hurdles. IE’s success is not to be measured by its circulation, but rather by the quality of journalism and the calibre of its devoted readers.

Dr G Thygarajan, Distinguished Scientist and Former Director, CLRI
SV’s journalistic acumen and vistas of knowledge are amazing. He has maintained high standards for IE in terms of selection of articles, eminence and credentials of writers and journalistic ethicsA Vellayan,Former Executive-Chairman, Murugappa Group
SV’s lucid analysis of situations and trends is valued by industry leaders and policy makers alike. I had the chance to be part of one of his forums, the Agriculture Consultancy Management Foundation. SV can sense problems ahead of time and fearlessly express his views, a rare feature among most journalists and I have always appreciated him for this.

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