July 09, 2008

The lawyer I knew

Four years ago, in another context entirely, I wrote these lines about him:

An advocate I know has had a long, fruitful career at the courts in Bombay. Like others have, he might have become a judge -- a job many would lunge for without a second thought. Except for the unusual view this man has on being a judge. "I'll lose my independence," he says. "As a judge, you have always to consider both sides of a dispute. But I prefer to argue one side thoroughly, so I don't want to be a judge."

Today, he has a flourishing practice, even though he wants to slow down and take on fewer cases. But he has not forgotten the days of the early '60s, when he was just another young advocate struggling to make a living.

He grew up in Goa. As many others did in those days, he might have chosen Portuguese citizenship and emigrated there. It was possible, it was easy, he knew several Goans who did it. But it was not for him. Instead, he stayed in Goa and fought for independence from Portugal.

That came in 1961. Two years later, there were bomb blasts in Goa, set off by Portuguese sympathizers wanting to spread terror in the state. This still-raw young lawyer was asked to be on the team appointed to prosecute the men responsible for the bombs. He remembers that trial well. The way he speaks about it, you know how much it meant to him. Professionally yes, but also personally -- because of his connection with the struggle for independence. You know how all this shaped the kind of man he is today.

Today, I mourn him.

Narendra Kamat. March 27 1929 - July 8 2008. My father-in-law.

1 comment:

Sidhusaaheb said...

May his soul rest in peace for eternity!