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Nanabhoy Palkhivala – The Man who was the Conscience Keeper of Our Nation


Nanabhoy Palkhivala

Quick Facts

  • Name: Nanabhoy Palkhivala
  • Also Known As: Nani Palkhivala
  • Famous As: Jurist
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Date: 16 January 1920 (Mumbai, Maharashtra)
  • Died On: 11 December 2002
  • Awards: Padma Vibhushan (1998)


“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

What is freedom as per you? Is it stepping out at night with your friends without the fear of getting raped? Is it making personal choices in life? Whether it is your life partner or a career choice, you wish that you could make the decision. I am told that I do not look like a teacher. What else could I do with my qualifications? If we could judge people and guess their profession, I would be a bartender.

In our country, we get ‘so called’ fundamental rights! What are those fundamental rights?

#Right against Exploitation – Women and children are still getting raped. 14 year old children are still working in factories.

#Right to Equality – Men can marry at the age of 35+ but women have an expiry date. Where is the equality?

#Right to Freedom of Religion – Apparently people refer to Namaz as, ‘noise’.

There are other rights which we have but we cannot enjoy them because our country does not believe in actions. It is just giving fundamental rights in mere words! If a woman got raped, she must have worn something revealing.

Let me not praise our country so much! Though the topic requires immediate attention but we are here to tell a story about a jurist who was on a spiritual journey.

Nanabhoy Palkhivala or just Nani Palkhivala was an Indian jurist, who talked about the importance of fundamental rights. He was a true practitioner of God-made laws than the man-made laws. According to Jurist Dinesh Vyas, Nani Palkhivala was on a spiritual journey. Let us take a look at his entire journey.

Indian Jurist Nanabhoy Palkhivala

Early Life

Nani Palkhivala was born on 16th January, 1920. Yes, he was born before independence and knew that fundamental rights were extremely important for the citizens of our country.

He was born in Mumbai and he died in the same city. Born in a middle class Parsi family, Nani always looked for ways to educate him and improve his life. He went to St. Xavier’s College. Do you know that he was a scholar? As a young boy, he used to stammer.

Nani completed his Master’s in English and his stammering problem reduced. He applied at the Bombay University for the post of lecturer. However, he could not get through. Nani wanted a good and stable life. He realized that higher education may help to boost his career. He applied for law at the Government Law College, Bombay.

Career as a Jurist

Nani Palkhivala did improve his life and he completed his law degree. In the year 1946, Nani was called to the bar. He worked in the chambers of the famous Jamshedji Behramji Kanga. In few years, he gained recognition and became a well-known barrister.

Nani’s forte was tax law and commercial law. He joined hands with Jamshedji and co-authored a book called, ‘The Law and Practice of Income Tax’.

Do you know that he served as a professor in the same college where he did his law from? He was also the member of the first and second law commission. The jurist has fought a number of historical cases which he won hands down!

Nani was sometimes referred to as the Conscience Keeper of the Nation. The jurist won the Padma Vibhushan award in the year 1998. He has made major contributions towards the improvement of our political system. Nani Palkhivala’s name has gone down the history lane!

Stamp released to commemorate the 94th Birth Anniversary of Nanabhoy Palkhivala by the Government of India in 2004

Famous Quotes by Nanabhai Palkhivala

“To my country men who gave unto themselves the constitution but not the ability to keep it, who inherited resplendent heritage but not the wisdom to cherish it, who suffer and endure in pain without the perception of their potential.”

“Enlightened citizens cannot be produced in the factory – it has to come through education. Thus teachers are the torch-bearers of change, change for the whole nation, change for the whole world.”

Teaching is the only profession which teaches other professions. A child may grow up and become a top doctor at the best hospital in the city but we forget the person, who laid the foundation. A teacher lays the first brick in a child’s evolving mind. He/she teaches the basics of mathematics and tries to explain how the cells of an onion can be seen through the Science equipment. Factory does not produce readymade doctors and engineers. A teacher inspires and gives the courage to dream big!

Nani Palkhivala died in the year 2002. He was 82 years old when he took his last breath. The reason for his death was cardiac arrest. The conscience keeper of the nation bid adieu to the world but he left a great mark! He was one of the rare gems of our country and people still refer to his works and deeds. Some truly inspirational people never leave our hearts!


Written By: Anshu Choudhary


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Our team at include members who write Inspirational articles for this inspiring blog. Page maintained by Krishnendu Pramanick.

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