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His heroes: Domestic help, yoga teacher, college prof, US judge | India News

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Childhood domestic help Bhimbai Ghamat, an illiterate woman from Devihasol village in Rajapur taluka of Ratnagiri, “is the biggest inspiration for me and probably played a pivotal role in shaping my pro-women’s rights approach,” says India’s 50th Chief Justice, D Y Chandrachud.
“As a child, I spent a lot of my time with Bhimbai. She told me beautiful stories while we ate together. She was a fierce activist and feminist. She was one of the first influences in my life who introduced me to the realities of rural India. I learnt many of my foundational values from her. She had such a big impact on me,” the CJI told TOI.
“My family has been my constant pillar of strength -my wife, children, mother, sister and my father. Kalpana, my spouse, is my best friend… critique and guide,” he said.
The CJI said his yoga teacher Anant Limaye from Pune initiated him on the path to finding a higher consciousness. “He would remind me that he was teaching me exercise and how I would evolve to a higher level of consciousness was an individual matter. Working out with him during those early hours of the day initiated meon my own spiritual journey. ”
He fondly remembers his criminal law teacher in law school, Prof Lotika Sarkar. “In later years, as a judge, I have found inspiration in the work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (an associate Judge of US SC from 1993 till her death in 2020 and who was known for her fight against gender discrimination),” the CJI said.
Apart from the people, there are books which inspired him and made him read them again and again. With time he became a voracious reader with an enviable collection of books from varied fields.
“I became a prolific reader while recovering from jaundice soon after I graduated from high school. I read ‘Of Human Bondage’, ‘Razor’s Edge’, ‘The Moon and Sixpence’ among others by W Somerset Maugham. I used the period to devour books onthe widest possible subjects and ever since then, reading has become an intrinsic part of my life,” the CJI said.
The other books which inspired him are: ‘Beyond a Boundary’ by CLR James, ‘The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law’ by Albie Sachs, ‘Cry, the Beloved Country’ by Alan Paton, ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by M Scott Peck and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. “These are just Random picks from the top of my mind. The work of Brian Weiss has also been an inspiration. ”
Justice Chandrachud enjoys reading Hindi literature, too. “Munshi Premchand’s Gaban brought home excesses of the police in investigating crime. Mahadevi Verma and Ramdhari Singh Dinkar have been my favourites. Of course, you cannot grow up in Maharashtra and not be influenced by the writings of Pu La Deshpande,” he said.

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