Before Memory Fades: An Autobiography, Fali S. Nariman, ISBN 9788189988227
Before Memory Fades: An Autobiography (hardbound)

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by: Fali S. Nariman
Publisher:Hay House
ISBN: 9788189988227
List Price: Rs. 599.00
Our Price: Rs. 419.00
Pages: 459
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Starting with his formative years, when he had the good fortune to interact with many eminent judges and advocates, Fali S. Nariman 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.
Crucial cases that have made a decisive impact on the nation, especially on the interpretation of the law.
The relationship between the political class and the judiciary.
The cancer of corruption and how to combat this menace.
The author outlines measures to restore the now-low credibility of the legal profession.
He also delineates his role in several high-profile cases. In recognition of his track record, the Government of India nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. He describes the highlights of his tenure there. Both members of the legal profession and the lay reader will find the contents informative and useful.

Media Reviews of Before Memory Fades: An Autobiography
Three Zoroastrians (Parsis) have dominated our jurisprudence through the last four decades: Nani Palkhivala, Soli Sorabjee and Fali Nariman.

This is of a piece with what this community, given refuge in India when they fled the Muslim invasion of Persia (and guaranteed through 700 years of Muslim rule here), has given to this country for this one act of generosity: Dadabhai Naoroji started our freedom movement; Jamshedji Tata launched us on the path to industrialisation; Homi Bhaba gave us Atoms for Peace; and Sam Manekshaw the liberation of Bangladesh. What an enormous return for a small investment in good sense and kindness.

Fali Nariman ends his book with a passionate plea for secularism. If such a tiny community can give back so much, imagine the returns that await us if we were to be as kind to our largest minority, the Muslims. Tragically, the likes of Narendra Modi ensure that the demons of narrow-mindedness, bigotry and genocide continue to have to be fought.

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 characterise the man.

Born in Rangoon to a well-off business executive, the Nariman family fled to India in the face of the Japanese invasion in 1942 when Fali was 12. It was an age at which he would have vivid memories of the great trek that took them through the wild jungles and perilous mountain tracks that lay between Rangoon and Imphal—but apart from a gripping tale about how they escaped being trampled to death by a rogue elephant, other adventures are quickly passed over.

Of his schooldays, he tells stories with impish fun: an old English teacher who invariably answered the query “How are you?” with a giggle, “Hee-hee, like the British Empire, I am slowly disintegrating!”

Then the morbid tale of a distant relative, Bakhtyar Rustomji Hakim, who was hanged in England in 1936 for, allegedly, strangling his wife and maid in a fit of jealous rage. For this horrific murder, his waxwork was included in Madam Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors—but later removed, leading Fali to remark, “It may be macabre in me but, quite frankly, I do miss having to tell friend and foe that there is a distant relative of mine in the Chamber of Horrors!”
With scrupulous fairness, Nariman allows learned opponents like the eminent jurist, Upendra Baxi, and activists Nagaraj and Raman, their full say in his book. Before expressing remorse that he took up a brief the full consequences of which revealed themselves only decades after he had concluded arguments, Nariman gently hints that it was open to any of the eleven governments that ruled India from 1989 to 2010 to make their supplementary contribution. At last, the present government has released Rs 1,500 crore (less than has been advanced to the organising committee for the 10-day Commonwealth Games), which, in real terms, is just about equal to, or perhaps a shade lower than, the Rs 615 crore advanced twenty years ago by the ucc at Nariman’s instance.

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.
A review found in Outlook India.

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