Reader: You tell me that when two men quarrel they
.should not go to a law-court. This is astonishing.
Editor: Whether you call it
astonishing or not, it is the truth. And your question introduces us to the
lawyers and the doctors. My firm opinion is that the lawyers have enslaved
India, have accentuated Hindu-Mohammedan dissensions and have confirmed English
Reader: It is easy enough to bring these charges, but it will be
difficult for you to prove them. But for the lawyers, who would have shown us
the road to independence? Who would have protected the poor? Who would have
secured justice? For instance, the late Man Mohan Ghose defended many a poor man
free of charge. The Congress, which you havepraised so much is dependent for its existence and activity upon the work of
the lawyers. To denounce such an estimable class of men is to spell injustice,
and you are abusing the liberty of the press by decrying lawyers.
Editor: At one
time I used to think exactly like you. I have no desire to convince you that
they have never done a single good thing. I honor Mr. Ghose's memory. It is
quite true that he helped the poor. That the Congress owes the lawyers something
is believable. Lawyers are also men, and there is something good in every man.
Whenever instances of lawyers having done good can be brought forward, it will
be found that the good is due to them as men rather than as lawyers. All I am
concerned with is to show you that the profession teaches immorality; it is
temptation from which few are saved.
The Hindus and the Mohammedans have quarreled. An ordinary man will ask them to forget all about it, he will
tell them that both must be more or less at fault, and will advise them no
longer to quarrel. But they go to lawyers. The latter's duty is to side with
their clients and to find out ways and arguments in favor of the clients to
which they (the clients) are often strangers. If they do not do so they will be
considered to have degraded their profession. The lawyers therefore, will, as a
rule, advance quarrels instead of repressing them. Moreover, men take up that
profession, not in order to help others out of their miseries, but to enrich
themselves. It is one of the avenues of becoming wealthy and their interest
exists in multiplying disputes. It is within my knowledge that they are glad
when men have disputes. Petty pleaders actually manufacture them. Their touts.
like so many leeches, suck the blood of the poor people. Lawyers are men who
have little to do. Lazy people, in order to indulge in luxuries, take up such
professions. This is a true statement. Any other argument is a mere pretension.
It is the lawyers who have discovered that theirs is an honorable profession.
They frame laws as they frame their own praises. They decide what fees they will charge and they put on so much side that poor
people almost consider them to be heaven born.
Why do they want more fees than
common laborers? Why are their requirements greater? In what way are they more
profitable to the country than the laborers? Are those who do good entitled to
greater payment? And, if they have done anything for the country for the sake of
money, how shall it be counted as good?
Those who know anything of the Hindu-Mohammedan
quarrels know that they have been often due to the intervention of lawyers.
Some families have been ruined through them; they have made brothers enemies.
Principalities, having come under the lawyers' power, have become loaded with
debt. Many have been robbed of their all. Such instances can be multiplied.
the greatest injury they have done to the country is that they have tightened
the English grip. Do you think that it would be possible for the English to
on their Government without law courts? It is wrong to consider that courts
are established for the benefit of the people. Those who want to perpetuate
their power do so through the courts. If people were to settle their own
quarrels, a third party would not be able to exercise any authority over them.
Truly, men were less unmanly when they settled their disputes either by fighting or by asking their relatives to decide for them. They became more unmanly
and cowardly when they resorted to the courts of law. It was certainly a sign of
savagery when they settled their disputes by fighting. Is it any the less so, if
I ask a third party to decide between you and me? Surely, the decision of a
third party is not always right. The parties alone know who is right. We, in our
simplicity and ignorance, imagine that a stranger, by taking our money, gives us
The chief thing, however, to be remembered is that
without lawyers courts could not have been established or conducted and
without the latter the English could not rule. Supposing that there were
only English judges, English pleaders and English police, they could
only rule over the English. The English could not do without Indian
judges and Indian pleaders. How the pleaders were made in the first
instance and how they were favored you should understand well. Then you
will have the same abhorrence for the profession, that I have. If
pleaders were to abandon and consider it just as degrading as
prostitution, English rule would break up in a day. They have been
Instrumental in having the charge laid against us that we love quarrels
and courts as fish love water. What I have said with reference to the
pleaders necessarily applies to the judges, they are first cousins; and
the one gives strength to the other.