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Farewell Mr Fali S Nariman

On an assignment for Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) in 2017, I had the privilege of meeting the Late Fali S Nariman, at his home in New Delhi. In the meeting facilitated by Yezad Kapadia, my colleague Chetan Mahajan and I wanted to understand his perspective on mediation in India, and the sentiment around it in the legal community including people like him.

“Are you a mediator?” was his first question to me, after we exchanged pleasantries. “No,” I replied, “I’m here as a strategic consultant, on behalf of…” I tried explaining, but he cut me short and said, “If you aren’t a mediator, how will you understand the nuances and implications of what I tell you?”

Then he smiled and added “Never mind, ask what you must…”

I got one question in, and in response to it, Mr. Nariman went into great detail with his views on mediation, the state of law and justice in India, and the challenges for international commercial mediation in the context of Singapore, the sovereignty of nations, jurisdictions, and a lot more, which, as he had anticipated, I struggled to understand.

I took copious notes, and eventually wrote a detailed paper on Mediation in India, its Challenges and Potential, that included his inputs, along with that of several eminent lawyers, corporate counsels, retired and practicing Judges, and a couple of Ministers past and present in the government of India, that we had interviewed.

But the reason I am writing this post today is that his first question to me that April afternoon touched a chord and reminded me that I cannot do a great job on anything if I do not know the subject well.

I remember mentioning Mr. Nariman’s comment to the then-CEO of SIMC Aloysius Goh, and to its Chairperson George Lim. Their reaction was ‘Well, we can train you to become a #Mediator!’

I liked the idea, and some months later I joined the first-ever SIMC India Specialist Mediator training programme, to be trained as an international commercial mediator, along with several industry, legal, and judicial stalwarts (see second attached pic).

SIMC India Specialist Mediators Class of 2019A few months later, Radhika Shapoorjee and I launched Mediation Mantras, to offer private pre-litigation mediation services and international mediator training programmes through a network of mediation professionals and partner organisations.

Our work helps resolve issues and helps transform relationships positively. Both Radhika and I are on the Specialist Mediators panel of SIMC and are Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI) Accredited Level 1 Mediators.

As I read the news of Fali S Nariman’s passing a few days back, my mind raced back to my conversation with him in 2017, the openness with which he shared his views with me (along with a copy of his book pictured here), and the journey that followed his first question to me.

Farewell, Mr. Fali S Nariman, and thank you for your wisdom and experience shared so generously. I am happy to say today, “Yes, I am a Mediator.”

At work, I tend to Brands and nurture ideas that help people and businesses bloom. I am a writer of all things that catch my eye. I travel to discover myself, as much as I do to discover the world. I am a foodie at heart, and am open to tasting anything that's edible!


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