Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022
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Why Gandhi Turned Against Lawyers

He called them “touts that suck the blood of the poor people”. But even Gandhi had not anticipated Patiala House breed of lawyers.

Lawyers carry a Tricolour as they march from Patiala House Courts to India Gate against alleged anti-national activities at JNU. PTI Photo by Atul Yadav

Thanks to 24x7 television many of us have seen lawyers at the Patiala House Court in Delhi take the law into their own hands, ostensibly in the name of nationalism. And unlike the footage of the students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, reportedly shouting anti-India slogans on campus and subsequently charged for sedition, there is no charge of doctoring of the visuals showing the lawyers’ unpardonable behaviour.

While the lawyers who were in the thick of action at the Patiala House Court are unrepentant and have even been feted by some of their colleagues, it might be worth noting what Mahatma Gandhi had written about lawyers and the profession of law in Hind Swaraj. Hind Swaraj, written in 1909, is regarded as a fundamental work for understanding Gandhi and one where we can find the essence of Gandhi’s thought, which are scattered across some 100 volumes. Hind Swaraj is also the one work where Gandhi critiques modernity and Western civilization head on.

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