I would definitely fall short of words if I am asked to describe this legend- A person who has been a mentor, guide and inspiration to me. My first interaction with him made me realise that in his dictionary nothing was impossible. Which was prevalent from the fact that a person who came to India with a 10 Rupee note in his pocket- earned respect, power, money, and dignity- on the basis of his wit, courage and feisty spirit. His determination for the legal profession was such that a seventeen-year-old obtained his law degree from Shahani Law College in Karachi and thus created an exception to be enrolled at such a young age.
If I am asked to comment on the lawyering skills of Ram Jethmalani- the first and foremost thing that comes to my mind is his advice to me that “…if you have chosen this profession, be mindful of the fact that there is absolutely no substitute to hard work..” There is absolutely no denial to the kind of hard work he did and the number of hours he used to spend on a single brief. Even on a non-working day, he would sit at his table at 10:30 A.M. straight up to 8:00 P.M., when he used to get up for his evening drink. Every time I met him his foremost question was about the most recent case, that I worked on, the issue involved in that matter, my opinion, etc…
For him, the courtroom was a stage and he was an actor. He bought empathy and passion in every case he fought for. His way of framing an argument and also presenting it- was undoubtedly magical- when at times there was pin-drop silence even in a badly crowded courtroom.
Being an outrageous and a rebellious lawyer in the courtroom, on one hand, he was absolutely the opposite in his personal life. He was one of the most gentle and humble persons, I’ve ever met. His benevolent attitude bought smiles on millions of faces. A friend of many- Ram Jethmalani was the compassionate and kind human being, I’ve ever met.
He had immense respect for the Judiciary and always regarded Judiciary as the strongest pillar of the Democracy. In almost all of his public meetings, he has paid the highest level of respect to the judiciary. The energy with which he would argue a matter was also because of an extremely healthy routine that he followed all his life and also the small and short meals, which he used to have. He followed the wag’s dictum with great discipline- breakfast like a King; lunch like a Prince and dinner like a pauper. Even in his 90’s, he used to also play badminton regulary. His love for legal education, students and law universities had no boundaries. Ram Jethmalani was a completely self-made man, reaching Mumbai practically penniless and yet making it big by his wit, tenacity, determination and back-breaking hard-work.
I have no words to thanks him for the role he has played in my life as a mentor, role model and an inspiration. Although he is not with us anymore but I am sure his principles and his teachings will guide me for the years to come.
In fond memory of Mr. Ram Jethmalani
His dedicated student- Tanvi Dubey
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