GMRao advocate who turned into a monk in Hyderabad

Today, as we commemorate the birth of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, and a very eminent lawyer, what better way to bring another inspirational journey of a criminal lawyer, GM Rao, for our Hyderabad edition?

Shikha Duggal

It was an epiphany to hear that a world-renowned criminal lawyer from Hyderabad is on the path of spotless chastity. The good name is G.M. Rao, an advocate who is a high-profile individual today in the city because of his landmark judgments in legal matters across India. He grabbed the best of all penances and became a celibate at the age of 33; that hooked us!

Cut to a man in his monk attire in the metropolis city, who attracts many stares in the court in his black robe fighting against injustice. What matters for this pakka Hyderabadi is that he continues to be the charismatic personality that he is, and serves society, whether through his incredible educational qualifications or his current instinct of giving back to society. On a contrary note, how did it all begin?

“My forefathers were from Hyderabad — a legacy of 300 years. My father worked for Panchayath Raj schools in Andhra Pradesh. After my basic education, I entered a law college with a determination to be one of the top lawyers in India because I felt lawyers had the opportunity to make a real difference and gain respect! I am taking you back to 1996 when senior lawyers never used to pay us; there was no stipend. And to my luck, I was the eldest son, so I organically had the responsibility of maintaining a livelihood. I immediately moved to Singapore to do cyberlaw! “I was observing how senior lawyers were using the tactics to their bet advantage there; it was a learning experience for me,” he said.

When he returned to India, he started taking on cases from venture capitalists. And the task was to make them win the case in the allotted time frame of ten minutes, and he did it! At the same time, being in the field surrounded by so much practicality, he still had a philosophical approach of his own, which made him stand out amongst other lawyers in the country. There came a ghastly decision in his life, “I moved to the Himalayas. I began studying Upanishads, sutras, jeevan mukti, the Bhagavad-gita, moksha, and a plethora of other life philosophies. I did not wait for tomorrow to renounce the world and become a monk. Yet, I came back to Hyderabad to fulfill my responsibilities, which were to continue providing justice to the needy.”

Apart from serving the country with legal capabilities, he also goes to the Hyderabadi slums and hears out the problems. “I gifted a few of them sewing machines so that they could earn a better livelihood. I donated bicycles to young girls in rural areas so that they can peddle their way to education. I didn’t like the way people fight in our slums just to fulfill their egos. I have NRI clients too, so I get to see many diasporas of life as a lawyer. When a couple comes to me to file for divorce, it pinches me. Yes, it’s truly the opposite of what I do as an advocate, but I’m here to serve humanity too. Instead of convincing one of them to really file for divorce, I counsel them in a spiritual manner, and they do get hell-bent on giving themselves a second chance. I don’t want to obtain money by separating two lives!” he added.

G.M. Rao’s success and his contribution to society brought him to the attention of the Academy of Universal Global Peace too, and he was awarded the degree of “Doctor of Letters!” Born in the old city and then moving to Banjara Hills for a reason, he explained the scenario: “It’s difficult for the residents of the old city to acquire a high stature in society because that area is full of issues. According to psychology, your environment influences your growth, and my parents didn’t want those meaningless chit-chatters to affect me, so they relocated to Banjara Hills instead. Only after coming outside of my former colony did I start to transform like a blossoming flower for the betterment of Hyderabad.”

Sitting in a prestigious position and knowing the ins and outs of the old city, he shares his insights about whether hate crime will seep into our city too or not. He said, “During the 1980s, I saw bloodshed happening right before my eyes in the old city. It was the Ayodhya dispute! Year by year, curfews were being imposed. Although I haven’t totally forgotten where I was born, I still go meet my childhood buddies there, and they are highly educated regardless of where they stay. Fifteen years ago, in every nook and cranny, the only purpose of old city residents was to make some kind of alcohol, but today the scenario has changed. There are independent livelihoods going on there.

I have discussed this matter with my friends over there too, and they are very well aware that it’s a political drama and nothing else. Even today, Muslims and Hindus have a bonding in the old city that nobody can break.”

His perspective on the district court in comparison to the Supreme Court of India and law enforcement agencies around the world—what differences he has noticed—was intriguing. For example, “Laws abroad are way too stringent; nobody can escape even for a second! There are rarely any trials to delay the case; if found guilty then and there, the case is closed with the required punishment because they are developed countries. Case in point:

Singapore, Australia, and America. I cannot pin the Telangana High Court as an example on behalf of the whole country because the crux lies in our constitution, in the parliament. They have to bring the new changes so that district courts can follow up. There’s a very disturbing law in our country that is impossible to misuse abroad, and that is the peculiar laws in favour of women. As an advocate myself, I can second the opinion that few of the sections are duly biassed against women.”

So it’s understandable that when his loved ones see him dressed as a monk, they have a variety of reactions. Nevertheless, it doesn’t get to him because, for others, it may be a bygone concept, but to him, he’s attaining liberation in his own way. “We are not allowed to discuss our monk life other than with intellectuals; for example, at the moment it is in the media, and the media can understand what it’s like to be a monk in today’s times,” he told us. Others regard it as surreal fiction! “I don’t want to be foolish and go on and on about my personal liberation experience, which means a lot to me, nor do I owe an explanation to anyone else. Looking at my appearance, they get an idea, though.

To put it simply for others, I am following a Vedantic approach; I cannot begin preaching about karma on the steps of our Telangana High Court (he laughs). That’s about it,” he concluded.

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