About the Book
Nani A. Palkhivala (1920-2002) was a renowned Tax and Constitutional lawyer, and author of many books, including a celebrated treatise on the Indian Income Tax Act. He was India’s Ambassador to the United States from 1977 to 1979. For his defense of the citizens’ Constitutional rights, he was conferred honorary doctorate by two prestigious universities in the U.S.
This book presents selections from many of his uncollected writings. It also has a number of other essays containing rare writings about him and recounting many less known incidents from his life. It contains many rare, hitherto uncollected photographs.
There are many writings of Nani A. Palkhivala (1920-2002), the legal luminary, which have not been collected in hitherto published books relating to him. This book presents selections from the ‘Uncollected Palkhivala’. It also contains a number of rare tributes and other writings about him and presents brief accounts of less known events from his life.
Originally intended as comprising of two parts, this book is divided into three parts. The essays in ‘Part One ‘present a number of selections from Palkhivala’s uncollected writings. ‘Part Two’ contains a miscellany of essays, including an account of a book release function, excerpts from rare tributes and recollections and my reminiscences of the occasion when he and two other distinguished personalities were conferred Honorary Doctorates by the Mani pal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) in the year 2000.
B. Palkhivala for the success of this work. They graciously thanked me for creating this work but the exercise was my pleasure.
Two uncollected writings of Nani Palkhivala I could not find, despite my best efforts, are the ‘Mild and Bitter’ and ‘A Handful of Ashes’ columns he wrote when he was young, probably when he was in his late teenage years. Kindly acceding to my request, Mr. Behram searched his collection of papers for those writings. He does not have them but he recalled that his brother had borrowed the ‘Handful of Ashes’ title from these lines:
Theirs be the music, the color, the glory, the gold;
Mine be a handful of ashes, a mouthful of mould.
Nani Palkhivala’s views on the many topics covered in this book have relevance in the present times. The liberal spirit of the Constitution continues to undergo tremendous strain. Simplification of tax law is yet to become an outmoded demand. There is considerable focus on the pernicious influence of the Hindutva doctrine, a topic on which a rare writing of his can be found in this book. The dismal condition of Taj Mahal, a world heritage monument, is another topic on which there is a rare writing of his in this book. His views on these and many other topics, even though they were expressed a few decades ago and under the conditions then prevailing, could provide general directions on appropriate issues even today.
Two of his books, namely, We, The People and We, The Nation, are indispensable to anyone who is hitherto unacquainted with but might be interested to read the available literature related to him. Although a prior acquaintance with those writings could help the reader to better appreciate this volume, I had kept the neophyte reader in mind and endeavored to so present the contents that he or she would find no difficulty in comprehending and appreciating them.
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