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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 2 January 13, 2024

Review of Hari Singh’s Looking Back with Delight | Subramanian

Friday 12 January 2024, by K S Subramanian


Reviewed by
KS Subramanian

Looking Back with Delight:
A Memoir
by Hari Singh

Solicitor and Notary Public, England and Wales
(Academy of Business Studies, New Delhi)

pp 320 Price Rs. 890 $ 20.99

This is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary personality who is solicitor and notary public in the UK and the Wales. The book tells his life experience in India, his land of birth and the UK his land of professional experience as a civil servant, legal luminary and scholar.

The author revisits his university life in India and the UK his land of experience as a civil servant in the Indian High Commission, London, which helped him to complete, his legal education. In his profound narrative, he gives an insight into his professional and caring approach to his clients, colleagues and friends. He notes that practice makes one perfect. It is all the more so with regard to legal practice. A practicing lawyer must be a lifelong learner, he says.

The author’s values, priorities, and his attitude to life in general come through clearly in the book. He narrates the story of his travails and eventual rise to the top of his profession brilliantly well. His sheer determination and hard work ensured his success slowly and steadily. The role of his devoted mother in his endeavours is feelingly noted. The author’s caring attitude to the community at large and his devotion to persons in need, reflects this influence and emerges strongly in his professional role.

The crucial role of the media in bringing about greater equality and social justice is emphasised in his professional attitude to the cases he handled that are described in the book. He notes the need for an all-round approach and the need for everyone to get involved in democratic processes. He shares his experiences in the UK which have transformed his own life over the years.

Despite ups and downs; his ability to face challenges combining tears and laughter have helped him to look back on his life with delight.

The author’s book of 320 pages carries 68 pages of coloured and black and white illustrations. Its list of reproduced correspondence, its detailed end-notes, its bibliography and the Index, et al. testifies to the author’s enormous industry and hard work. He was just another immigrant scholar with a BA LLB from India who was in London to pursue his scholarship. While working in the Indian High Commission he took an LLM (Master of Law) degree. He could not pursue his PhD programme due to financial constraints.

The book carries advance praise from eminent authorities: Lord Meghnad Desai, His Honour Sir Mota Singh QC, Mani Shankar Aiyar Member of Parliament, New Delhi, Lord Ajit Moraes, Labour MEP for London, Ashis Ray, Rae media, Ltd (RML) Eastern Eye, and India Abroad.

I remember meeting the author while on my way to Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford (1983-84) and again in (1989-90) while on my way to the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex. I could then see the author’s potential in the field of immigration law.

The book provides in 15 chapters the story of how the author’s scholarship had developed. With a BA LLB from India, he had while working in the High Commission of India, London, taken a MA (Westminster) degree, followed by LLM (London), Postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Practice (Cambridge) and became Solicitor in the Senior Courts of England and Wales and Notary Public of England and Wales. These are no mean achievements for an immigrant scholar from India who admits that he could not pursue a PhD programme in his field of interest solely due to the lack of finances to meet the cost involved. With the help of some friends, he found a job in the High Commission of India (HCI), London. While working in the HCI), he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Law, a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, and an MA in Legal Practice. He was able to attend the Hague Academy of International Law in the Netherlands and the European Law Academy in Florence, Italy. In addition, he managed to complete a few courses relating to Environment. He achieved these qualifications by his sheer dedication and determination and the quest for greater progress and achievement. This finally helped his further progress towards the path of becoming a solicitor with the present expertise and professional repute in Immigration Law.

On December 31 1999, he resigned from the HCI and joined the Sheikh & Co company Solicitors in London as a trainee solicitor. He benefited from the excellent training in the Company. He had Earlier worked under the same Company for two and a half years. He qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. In 2006, he set up his own company ‘HS Law Solicitors’. Four years later, he opened a branch in Southall which still continues. He now practices as solicitor and Notary Public at Broadway, Southall. His learning from his charitable work underlies his role as a solicitor and notary public.

This autobiographical story is narrated in the 15 chapters and is immensely educative and inspiring for the Indian youth. Bravo, Hari Singh! You are an example to us all!

(Author: KS Subramanian was Director General of the State Institute of Public Administation and Rural Development in the government of Tripura)

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