I came across (via niceguyhemanth) a very interesting collection of reminiscences by the tamil writer Ashokamitran on his memories of Madras of the 1940s and 1950s. The entire list is available at Chennaionline.com.
I attended the first Palkhivala Memorial Lecture organised by the Palkhivala Foundation on February 22, 2003 at the Rani Seethai Hall in Chennai. The speaker was Attorney General Soli Sorabjee and the announced topic was 'Nani Palkhivala and the Constitution of India' but Sorabjee's speech was more in the nature of a tribute to Nani Palkhivala (NP). Sorabjee reminisced about his long association (both professional and personal) with NP, including mentions of various cases argued by NP- the Keshavananda Bharati case being the most famous. (Does anyone know if there is a full text of the arguments and the judgement of this famous case, available anywhere on the web or in print? If yes, please mail me at truthks_at_vsnl_dot_net).
The full text of Sorabjee's speech is now available here.
The hall was overflowing with standing room only and Arvind Datar, one of the trustees of the Palkhivala Foundation, indicated at the end that they were themselves overwhelmed by the size of the audience. Apparently many current and former High Court and Supreme Court judges were present in the audience - they seem to have come in their official cars, which were aplenty in the already overflowing car park. When I arrived, the former Attorney General, Parasaran was speaking. Not recognising him, I enquired about about the identity of the speaker with a few people listening to the speech - they all seemed to be under the impression that they were listening to Sorabjee! I can recognise Sorabjee by face (what's more the speaker was sporting a Namam!) and told them it wasn't Sorabjee. They seemed quite surprised, even asking if I was sure. It was a while before I found someone who knew who the speaker was. The lady making announcements also seemed to think his name was "Parasan", amusing many in the audience.
The Palkhivala Foundation announced that it will be organising lectures every quarter, aimed at contributing to public debate on important economic, political and social issues.
Addendum: The Chennai press covered Sorabjee's speech, but as I'd expected left out many interesting parts of Sorabjee's speech. See what The Hindu and the The New Indian Express (Chennai Edition) had to say.
The third Palkhivala memorial lecture is to be held on Saturday, September 06 at Chennai. The speaker will be Ram Jethmalani and he will be speaking on" The Judicial System - Need for Urgent Reforms" and the "Uniform Civil Code".
The Palkhivala Foundation in Chennai organises a public lecture by a leading mind on a Saturday in the last month of each quarter. The inaugural lecture on February 22, 2003 was by Soli Sorabjee on "Nani Palkhivala and the Constitution of India". The second lecture on June 21, 2003 was by N. Vittal on "Empowering the Deserving".
I attended both Sorabjee's and Vittal's lectures which were very interesting - I jotted down notes which I will post soon. I'm looking forward to Jethmalani's lecture.