I usually read autobiographies and biographies of legal luminaries. I have enjoyed reading the autobiography of Lord Alfred Denning, a revered name in law and judiciary. His judgments were compassionate and for the common man, rather than for upholding strict letters of law. Shanti Bhushan’s Courting Destiny is beautifully written and I admire him for his boldness while F.S. Nariman’s Before Memory Fades is thought provoking.
However, my all-time favourite is Selections from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda and Swami Vivekananda: The Living Vedanta.
I must admit that being a student of Ramakrishna Mission I have been greatly influenced and inspired by the teachings of Shri Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. Their writings are based on human values and noble intentions.
It is not well known that Vivekananda was born into a family that had bred three generations of successful lawyers. His mother had told him, “Always follow the truth without caring about the result. Very often, you may have to suffer injustice or unpleasant consequences for holding on to the truth, but you must not under any circumstances, abandon it.” This has left a lasting impression on me.
My other ‘hero’ (as I fondly call him) is Perry Mason, the fictional detective authored by Erle Stanley Gardner. His methodology has taught me that a lawyer should be investigative while dealing with any issue.
(As told to Shloka Nath)
Som Mandal is managing partner, FoxMandal Little and Co.
(This story appears in the 11 February, 2011 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)