Swaminathan Gurumurthy was Born in a village called Panampattu in Villupuram, about 160kms from Chennai. At his age of five, his father Swaminathan, had reached the abode of God and it was his mother Lakshmi Ammal, whom Gurumuthy describes as a tapasvi, strong willed and no interest in mundane matters, brought him up in to who he is today along with 3 elder brothers and 1 elder sister, Gurumuthy being the youngest. Like any family in 1950s it was hit by poverty and hunger. Gurumurthy says, if not for Kamarajar’s Free education policy, he would not have got his basic education.
As an outstanding student across all grades, though Gurumurthy completed his 10th grade with flying colors, his results were withheld as he was younger to the stipulated age criteria. This ended up in a situation where he couldn’t gather any college seats on time. He joined Vivekananda College Mylapore Chennai. Later a well learned man from Kanchi Mutt guided him to pursue a career in Chartered Accountancy. He completed his Chartered Accountancy and he got an offer from ITC for a salary of Rs. 1500. He also got an offer from a CA firm Gowri Kanthan and Company for Rs. 800. He tore the offer from ITC and joined Gowri Kanthan and Company where he had the liberty to learn at his will.
Mr, Gowri Kanthan, was Gurumurthy’s Guru for audits introduced him to Shri. Ramnath Goenka and this began a long journey of Gurumurthy’s Journalism and Corporate career. Through him the write-ups of Gurumurthy on how Indian Express could deal itself legally from the clutches of Emergency period, impressed Mr Ramnath Goenka. His write ups on politics, economy and business got featured in Indian Express. His investigative journalism skills rocked the country and created political twists and turns across the nation. He furiously campaigned against corruption at high places, exposed bribery in Bofors arms deals and opened to the world, about illegal relationship between corporate giants like Reliance, Labour Leaders like Datta Samant and Political Leaders like Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in the intial days when he was not even 30 years old. The issues raised by him became election issues and led to the defeat of the most powerful government post Independence, that of Rajiv Gandhi. Post this the Congress never got a majority on its own.
Hamish McDonald, well-known Australian journalist, wrote in his book ‘Polyester Prince’, which was banned in India, that Gurumurthy’s investigative work ‘must rank among the most powerful examples of investigative journalism anywhere in the world’, adding that Gurumurthy had ‘a strong sense of probity’. Business Baron magazine rated Gurumurthy’s knowledge of economics, finance and accounts as ‘outstanding’. In his biography on the media baron Ramnath Goenka, BG Verghese, a highly respected editor and writer, described Gurumurthy as a ‘brilliant chartered accountant and exceedingly astute amateur lawyer’. Till now, his career in journalism has been vast and wide spread across 3 decades of in depth experiences.
Gurumurthy is the Visiting Faculty of IIT Bombay in the domains of Economics, Finance and Management. He is also the Distinguished Professor Legal Anthropology in Sastra University.
A chartered accountant by profession for over 4 decades, Gurumurthy is also a corporate adviser of high standing. Gurumurthy has been consistently seen by the media as a powerful from 1990 till now. He was rated among 50 most powerful persons in India. In 1990 [Gentleman magazine]; as the 8th most powerful [Business Baron magazine 2004]; as the 17th most powerful [India Today magazine in 2005]; as the 50th most powerful person [India Today 2015]; as the 25th most powerful person [India Today 2016] and as the 30th most powerful person [India Today 2017].
On the advice of his spiritual Guru, the Sankarcharya of Kanchipuram, he has kept away from all positions of power offered to him by different governments, corporates and others.
Gurumurthy and Founder of Thuglak Late Cho Ramaswamy were very close friends and Cho had great respects for Gurumurthy’s intellectual thoughts on geo political, economic and strategic issues. Cho wanted Gurumurthy to take care of Thuglak post his demise. Though Gurumurthy was not very keen on taking it up, Thuglak team approached Gurumurthy to take up the position as Editor and Gurumurthy had tos take it up if not the Magazine would be closed without an Editor. Now in his term as Editor, the circulation of the magazine has increased and Gurumurthy’s views on State Politics is being keenly watched by the decision makers and becomes an important factor that determines the direction state politics and is often result in news headlines.
Gurumurthy is one of the founders of the Vivekananda International Foundation, an independent, non-partisan institution that promotes quality research and in-depth studies and is a platform for dialogue and conflict resolution and he is also the chairman of its board of trustees.