Gandhi ji on the Law & the Lawyers

Everywhere I have been asked whether lawyers and students who do not carry out the Congress resolution affecting them can help the movement in any other way. The question is rather strange for it assumes that if a lawyer or a student cannot non-co-operate as such, he cannot help at all. There are undoubtedly hundreds of students and scores of lawyers who are not suspending their normal studies or their practice, as the case may be, only out of weakness. A lawyer who cannot suspend practice can certainly help with money, he can give his spare hours to public service, he can introduce honesty and fair dealings in his profession, he can cease to consider clients as fit prey for his pecuniary ambition, he can cease to have anything to do with touts, he can promote settlement of cases by private arbitration, he can at least do spinning himself for one or two hours per day, he can simplify the life of his family, he can induce the members of the family to do spinning religiously for a certain time daily, he can adopt for himself and his family the use of Khaddar. These are only some of the things that can be done by every lawyer. Because a man cannot or will not carry out a particular part of the non-co-operation programme, he need not be shy about the other items. One thing a practising lawyer may not do; he may no longer figure as a leader on public platforms. He must be content to be a silent worker. What I have said about practising lawyers applies to students also who cannot or will not withdraw from schools. Most of our volunteers are drawn student world. Volunteering is a privilege and a student who has not been able to withdraw from Government schools cannot receive privileges from the nation. They too must be content to be unambitious servants of the nation. Even if we cannot completely boycott schools and colleges, we must destroy their prestige. That prestige has almost gone and is daily decreasing. And we must do nothing that would restore their prestige till they are nationalized and answer the requirements of the nation.

Young India, 23-2-1921, p. 57

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