It is said that a contended mind is the greatest blessings a man can enjoy in this world. By that yardstick, M. Ravindran is perhaps one of the luckiest men amongst his ilk. “I am a very contended man. God has given me everything. I may not have earned as much as a lawyer in Delhi but I am very happy,” says Ravindran, who is a name to reckon within the legal circles of Chennai.
A first-generation lawyer, Ravindran’s father, a police officer, was keen to see his son join the IPS. Ravindran, however, was so inspired by the dedication and zeal of the lawyers who led India’s freedom struggle that he defied his father to take up law. “I thought as a lawyer I could do something for the society. All leading figures were lawyers and they were rendering service to society.”
Born Muthukrishnan Ravindran, the eminent lawyer enrolled with the Tamil Nadu Bar Council in 1966 after having completed law from Madras Law College the previous year. To begin with, he joined the chambers of former union minister and renowned criminal lawyer, Mohan Kumaramangalam. “I had decided to join Kumaramangalam once I became lawyer. He was a hardcore communist who used to come to Madras to give speeches. He used to speak in chaste English. I was very impressed by him.” Ravindran assisted him in several sensational cases. Thereafter, he assisted N. Natrarajan, who later became public prosecutor. In 1971, he decided to set up his own office.
For the first 10 years of his career, Ravindran did only criminal cases, though by the ‘80s he had “become an all-rounder.” The MGR shooting case and the murder of comedian, Nagesh, hit the headlines. In 1977, he was engaged with the CBI to probe allegations against Karunanidhi and in 1983, for the Sarkaria Commission for two years. Later he did a variety of civil cases like the Sugar Mills case, and Writs and Original Side Jurisdiction of the Madras High Court, till his appointment as Additional Solicitor General in April 2008.
A close associate of Congress stalwart K. Kamraj, Ravindran has been a staunch Congressman since the time he was an undergraduate in American College, Madurai. His belief in Congress and its leadership is the reason why he named his daughter after Indira Gandhi. “She was soon conceived after the Bangladesh War so she was named Indira Priyadarshini after Mrs. Indira Gandhi who led us to victory,” says Ravindran’s wife Rajeshwari with much pride. Beijing- settled Indira Priyadarshini is married to Sridhar and they have a daughter, Andal Raji. Indira is a PhD in Political Science from John Hopkins University.
In his experience, Ravindran says life has taught him some valuable lessons. For one, he does not believe in running after money. Instead he says, “once you have been in the profession and done some good work, money will come to you.” Another dictum he has always adhered to is, “do ones duty and don’t be jealous of anybody’—values that have won him friends and set him apart. Says son, Krishna Ravindran, of his father: “My father is a simple, honest and helpful person. He never says no.” The very reason his father continues to enjoy great popularity amongst Madras Bar members even after relinquishing his post in 1999. Ravindran led the Madras Bar Association from 1994 to 1999.
Krishna, a Loyola alumni, says his father, “has been a great inspiration and mentor.” He further adds, “Father had said respect the court, the judge and the profession. Never misbehave in court. Always keep your cool. Never talk ill of the profession or your colleagues or the opposition.” Krishna decided to do law when he was in his third year, and interned with the World Bank in the US before returning to India after the attack on the Twin Towers. He took over his father’s R.K. Law Associates, when his father was made Additional Solicitor General. He married Kinnera in 2006, and they have a son, Madhav. Kinnera is an MBA but today instead of working for an MNC prefers writing books for children.
Ravindran too, despite his hectic schedule, indulges in a number of hobbies. An avid stamp and coin collector, he has been a voracious reader. However, his most distinctive hobby is visiting ancient temples and collecting stories about how the temples came up.
Yes, you thought right, both Ravindran and Rajeshwari are avid travelers and have visited many places in Asia, Europe, America and Australia.