After years of research into the life of one of his closest friends, Dr Dharmendra Bhandari, former associate professor at the University of Rajasthan, was able to tell the story of Nani Palkhivala, the eminent jurist who was called the 'conscience-keeper of the nation'.
President Pranab Mukherjee with Dharmendra Bhandari
On July 8, Dr Bhandari presented the first copy of his book, Nani Palkhivala – God’s Gift to India (Biography by a Friend), to President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
On receiving the book, President Mukherjee said "Nani Palkhivala was a giant. And his annual budget speeches became an institution. Unfortunately, no one could carry on this tradition." He added, "Nani Palkhivala was truly a brilliant man. I still remember how, after I delivered my first Budget, he remarked that it fell below his expectations from me. I wrote to him, agreeing with his remark! You don’t see men like that anymore."
Dharmendra Bhandari presents his book 'Nani Palkhivala - God's Gift to India' to President Pranab Mukherjee
"President Mukherjee and Nani Palkhivala had mutual respect for each other, while they had different views on polity and policy," said Dr Bhandari. "The country is privileged to have President Mukherjee preserving and protecting the rights of the citizens of India, a cause close to Nani’s heart."
Nani Palkhivala was an iconic Indian statesman who fought to protect civil liberty and promote free enterprise. C Rajagopalachari, the first Indian Governor General of India used to fondly call him 'God’s Gift to India'.
Nani Palkhivala – God's Gift to India is a journey into the life of one of India’s greatest advocates, his contributions to free enterprise and civil liberty. It also contains highlights of his Budget speeches as well as original letters addressed to Palkhivala by distinguished Indians such as C Rajagopalachari, Indira Gandhi, Ratan Tata and Kumar Mangalam Birla among others. It carefully details cases fought by Nani, related to vital issues such as Bank Nationalisation, Fundamental Rights, and his passionate fight for the freedom of press during the Emergency in 1975.
The stories and documents of Mr Palkhivala’s work are punctuated by the political illustrations of the Late R K Laxman, which aptly reflect Palkhivala’s own outlook.
For Dr Bhandari, who has also penned the biography, R K Laxman – The Uncommon Man, this release is a dream come true.