A revelatory, comprehensive and perceptive autobiography - candid, compelling and
Over the decades, Fali S. Nariman has attained the status of a pre-eminent advocate
whose views are not only heard by those in the corridors of power - both judicial and political - but
also respected. This volume presents his life journey right from his childhood in Rangoon to the
present. Starting with his formative years, when he had the good fortune to interact with many
eminent judges and advocates, the author moves on to deal with a wide variety of important
subjects, such as:
The sanctity of the Indian Constitution and attempts to tamper with it, as in the case of
the Constitution Forty-second Amendment Act, which sought to greatly reduce the power of the
Supreme Court and high courts.
Crucial cases that have made a decisive impact on the nation, especially on the
interpretation of the law. Golaknath and Kesavananda Bharati were two such cases in which the
Supreme Court grappled with the problem of whether or not courts are empowered to adjudicate
upon the validity of constitutional amendments.
The relationship between the political class and the judiciary, and how political power
can be asserted in the guise of judicial interpretation.
The cancer of corruption and how to combat this menace. For instance, the setting up of
the Central Vigilance Commission to maintain a hawk-like vigil over the activities of high government
The author also outlines measures to restore the now-low credibility of the legal
profession. He delineates his role in several high-profile cases (like the civil litigation arising out of the
Bhopal gas tragedy), and describes the highlights of his tenure in the Rajya Sabha (he left his law
practice in the Supreme Court to effectively contribute to the deliberations in the Upper House).
This book is a must for both members of the legal profession and the lay reader who will
find the contents informative, educative and thought-provoking.
Internationally admired and respected, fail S. Nariman (born on 10 January 1929) is a
senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India. He began his career at the Bombay High Court in
November 1950, and has since been active in the legal profession. Over the years, he has held
several prestigious posts at both the national and international levels. He became a Member of
Parliament (Rajya Sabha) in November 1999, and is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan (1991) and
the Padma Vibhushan (2007). He lives in Delhi with his wife Bapsi, a well-known cookbook
Back of the Book
In the relentless march of the history of a nation, there is no second chance. There are only lesions to
be learnt from a similarity of situations elsewhere.
Dictators take over and establish themselves wherever and whenever the situation in a
country goes completely out of hand (in the minds of right-thinking people), when law and order
breaks down, when politicians will be bought and let it be so known, and (confound them) when
once bought, they have not even the residual decency to remain bought!
When settled principles and norms of decent behaviour and set at naught, when
established conventions are thrown to the winds, no constitution, not even the best-worded, can
In such situations, democracy tends to commit suicide.
Praise for Before Memory Fades
Whoever has heard Fali S. Nariman…never ceased to be impressed by his eloquence, command of
the language, and a flair for the apt phrase. All these attributes are at their height in his autobiography
Before Memory Fades that is lucid, concise, witty and absorbing;…not just a good read, it is also a
delightful one. For those who have anything to do with law-its formulation, enforcement, enforcement
or practice-it should be compulsory reading.
Billed as “An Autobiography”, Nariman’s book is less a continuous narrative than a
collection of reminiscences, anecdotes and reflections on the events and people that have filled his
very full life-recounted with that ineffable charm, gentle persuasiveness and quiet humour that so
characterize the man…There is much else-on the Emergency and its judges, on fellow-lawyers and
court anecdotes, a brilliant chapter on river water disputes and engaging reflections on his tenure as a
nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. I commend this easy and profitable read.
Over the decades Fali S. Nariman has attained the status of a pre-eminent advocate whose views
are not only heard but also respected. This autobiography is informative, educative and
thought-provoking….It isn’t the content alone that makes this book as endearing read. This
autobiography is suffused with a rare warmth and modesty, a spirit of liberalism reflected in the
willingness to seriously address rival points of view, and a scholarship that is worn very lightly….All
in all, a compassionate work written by someone who comes across as a compassionate man.
Fali Nariman’s autobiography…is a joy to read. No doubt the author starts at the
beginning but it’s not his life story he relates so much as an honest account of the important events
that stood out in his life…it is exceptional for two other reasons…First, it deftly avoids the pitfalls
most memoirs inevitably hurtle towards and, second, it discovers the real secret of a delightful
read…He’s not just the raconteur but the man in the middle too. An autobiography that makes you
think. The author makes you engage with the book rather than simply read it.
The book is brilliantly planned and beautifully designed. The 18 chapters, laced with quotations,
anecdotes and series of vignettes…provide a glimpse of his jurisprudential wisdom…It is a must not
only for judges, advocates, students of law and political science, but also for editors, people’s
representatives, administrators, academics and all those who believe in the sanctity of constitutional
values, the majesty of law and, above all, independence of the judiciary.
What makes his autobiography very readable is the all-pervading sense of modesty and touches of
Fali S. Nariman, the legal luminary, lifts the dark veil from the facts long shielded from public view in
his autobiography Before Memory Fades. Nariman serves us shining examples of the exceptions,
both of the bench and the bar.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend