ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Agitation by Advocates-Meaning and Purpose

Agitation by Advocates Meaning and Purpose Anil Nauriya ADVOCATES in India like to recall the association of their profession with the struggle for freedom. Their memories are selective, as is indeed their professional role. It is true that a conspicuous number among the higher rungs of the national movement were from the legal fraternity. But it is not often recalled that lawyers continued to attend court during the various campaigns launched against the imperial regime. Though courts were included in the boycott during the non- co-operation movement of 1921, no one deigned to tell lawyers in those days that they ought to go on strike, and that too in definitely. The boycott was sought to be achieved instead in two ways. First, by the effort of the people themselves who were called upon to try to resolve their disputes through the mediation of third parties and informal village panchayats. And second, it was suggested to lawyers that they give up practice. Those who did so were welcomed into the ranks of the movement and usually given places of leadership. To give up practice was treated as a major sacrifice; even today biographical remarks about many national leaders in school and other text books include the fact of their having given up what is inevitably described as having been a lucrative' practice. Equally pertinent, however, is the fact that a large proportion, perhaps the larger proportion, of lawyers did not give up practice. They may have helped the movement in other ways from time to time, but they remained in their kachehries. Whatever their motives, which were not necessarily base, the members of this precedent-conscious profession basked in the outward liberalism of the Anglo- Saxon system, and respected its formal judicial structure. One can still occasionally hear district lawyers of pre-1947 vintage in the so-called mofussil quote Wordsworth and all the rest to make a point in mundane property cases. While Wordsworth found it heavenly to be young and alive in revolutionary times, the Anglo-Saxon intellectual package in India provided sustenance to those who would keep things as they are.

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