Source: Interview with Shri Palkhivala by Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society (BCAJ-September 1982 P. Nos 791 to 815

Q. Would you kindly be specific as to what particular qualities you look for an individual and what particular qualities appealed to you in the individuals you just talked about?

A. I respect courage integrity and humility. These three qualities, I think are essential to make a likeable personality.

Firstly, a man must have the courage of his convictions. He must not be coward. He must honestly believe certain things and he must say publicly what is believes privately.

Secondly, he must have integrity – not only financial integrity, which is much more common than intellectual integrity, that is honesty of purpose, the intellectual honesty which makes him say what he believes to be right. So, if a Chartered Accountant or a lawyer has intellectual integrity he will never give an opinion merely to suit the client. I think every professional man must have that ideal before him, when advising clients.

Thirdly, humility is just important as courage and intellectual integrity. The higher a man goes in life more the humble he should be. I remember vividly a sentence I read 50 years ago at school; “The higher a man is in grace, the lower he will be in his own esteem “the grace referred to here being the grace of God. I some how by temperament, find it difficult to admire people who are egoists. The cleverest of us, the greatest men who ever lived are just like pygmies. What are the greatest achievements of a man against the backdrop of eternity? India’s great heritage teaches true humility. We are all insignificant planets in an infinite Universe.

Source: 1st Nani Palkhivala National Tax Moot Court Competition (16th to 18th December 2004)

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