How Gandhi the Lawyer Gave Rise to Gandhi the Satyagrahi

A Turning Point in Rajkot

After failing to establish himself in Bombay, Gandhi was forced to return home to Rajkot (his family home was in Porbandar but the household was based in Rajkot). Here, through the influence of his brother’s partner (the two of them had a small legal practice), he was able to do “moderately well” for himself, drafting petitions for clients in civil matters – though oral arguments in court were still beyond him.

Success, however, remained elusive.

Gandhi’s autobiography talks about the problems he faced in Rajkot because of a case where his brother, Laxmidas, who had been secretary and advisor to the ruler of Porbandar before he ascended the throne, was accused of “having given wrong advice when in that office.”

Gandhi wrote that the matter went up to the British ‘political agent’ for the princely state, who was “prejudiced” against his brother. MK Gandhi had made this same agent’s acquaintance when he was in London, so Laxmidas cajoled Gandhi into interceding with him on his behalf.

But while the agent agreed to meet Gandhi, he was not impressed by what he saw as an attempt to abuse their acquaintance, and told Gandhi to leave.

Laxmidas Gandhi (L) and MK Gandhi (R) in 1886.

Laxmidas Gandhi (L) and MK Gandhi (R) in 1886.
(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

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