Lawyers have been instrumental in the freedom struggle of many countries. In the particular case of India, our Lawyers played a significant role in not only getting us the much needed independence from the British, but also helped the young nation pick itself up from the debacle of partition and walk on its feet again.
Although there were hundreds of Lawyers who were a part of the Freedom Struggle, we would like to mention 10 of the most popular ones.
1. Mahatma Gandhi: One of the most recognizable faces of the world even after almost 70 years of his death, Mahatma Gandhi is called the Father of the Nation. He was the most popular leader of the freedom struggle and people of India followed him religiously. Before becoming a freedom fighter, Gandhi Ji, as he is usually called in India, was practicing Law in South Africa after graduating in Legal Studies from England.
2. Jawaharlal Nehru: Another extremely popular Face of India and the First Prime Minister after independence, Nehru was a Barrister practicing at the Allahabad High Court before getting involved in the freedom struggle. He was the son of another prominent Lawyer of Allahabad, Motilal Nehru. He was also instrumental in developing our Constitution.
3. Dr. B.R Ambedkar : Another stalwart in the Field of Law and Economics, Babasaheb Ambedkar, as he popularly known in India, was instrumental in India’s freedom movement. He was also our first Minister of Law and Justice. He fought for the rights of the Dalits and several other sects of the society. He was a prolific student and earned Doctorates from multiple universities.
4. Vallabhbhai Patel: Words cannot begin to describe the importance of this man in the freedom and consolidation of Indian States after the British left India. He was an excellent Lawyer and advocated the unity of India. A leader of the Indian National Congress and India’s First Home Minister.
5. Dr. Rajendra Prasad: He started practicing at the High Court of Bihar and Odisha before joining the freedom struggle. He was also the First President of the Republic of India after our Constitution came into being. He was also a teacher and promoted education throughout his life. He is the only President in India to have been chosen twice for the esteemed post.
6. Bal Gangadhar Tilak: One of the first Leaders of the Independence Movement in India, he was religiously followed by the people. He was also accorded with the Title of “Lokmanya”, meaning the people’s man. He was a staunch advocate of Complete Independence and is also very popular for his quote “Freedom is my birthright and I shall have it”.
7. Govind Ballabh Pant: Another Stalwart of Modern India, he was an integral part of the Nehru-Gandhi Association, along with Sardar Patel. He challenged the “Coolie Begar” practice and fought for the rights of Indians by way of his Legal Practice. He was an excellent lawyer and as such was appointed to defend the members of Hindustan Republican Association in the infamous Kakori Case. Several prominent Lawyers including relatives of Pandit Nehru had refused to take up this case.
8. Kailash Nath Katju: One of India’s most prominent Lawyers during the freedom struggle, K.N Katju fought several important cases for Indian Revolutionaries. After Independence, he was appointed for several important posts considering his struggles for India and his proficiency in the field of Law. He was also a minister of Law and Justice in Ballabh Pant’s Cabinet. His son, grandson and great grandson, all went out to become prominent Judges of Several Courts in India.
9. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari: Rajaji or CR as he is more popularly known as was an eminent jurist and the last Governor General of India. One of the first recipients of the prestigious Bharat Ratna, Rajaji joined the freedom movement after started practicing at Salem. He was also a musician and also advocated the upliftment of the Dalit community.