When Mercy
Seasons Justice

The Life and Times of Habibullah Badsha, by Sriram V

Habibullah Badsha (1933-2017) was one of the leading lawyers that embellished the High Court of Madras. Born into a very well known family of the city, he chose to make a life of his own in the legal field.

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Dedicated To Our Beloved Mother Shyamala

This is the extraordinary story of a remarkable man. The world knew him as an advocate par excellence, a committed social activist and a gifted public speaker. But to us he was much more.

A devoted father, a tender and loving grandfather, a man who treated his daughter-in-law as a friend, and most important of all, a caring and devoted husband. It is said that time is a great healer but not a day passes that we do not miss or think of him.

There is much we as a family owe to him. He left behind his impression on all of us—be it in the family business, in our approach to social issues or the legal profession, the last of which had one of us following and being mentored by him.

He rose to the highest levels in his profession, rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty and yet was always available to the downtrodden and disadvantaged. In a world wracked by hate and greed he stood out for his simplicity and generosity.

To write something about our father is truly very difficult. How does one temper the emotions that course through us to the prosaic? At the same time the world and more importantly posterity needs to know who Habibullah Badsha was and what he stood for. The family decided that publishing a book on his life and times would be the right step.

Our friend Sriram V has truly accomplished a near impossible task. He has brought to life various facets of our father over the years. It is almost as if Dad was alive and speaking to us from the pages of this book. This is our humble tribute to a man whom we loved and respected, a person who changed all of us for the better. Rest in peace beloved father; our prayers accompany you on your journey home.


Suhail, Humeira & Maimoona


December 30, 2018

Habibullah Badsha
A Life

I cannot say I knew the subject of this biography intimately. But his reputation as a top-ranking and upright lawyer was public knowledge by the time I got to meet him around ten years ago. That was at the Music Academy, Madras, of which he was then Vice-President.

That institution had just then emerged from a plethora of court cases, its reputation vindicated, with the granting of time to set right certain procedural lapses. That legal victory had much to do with Mr Badsha.


Sriram V
Madras that is Chennai