Words of wisdom with Ravinder Krishan: Rise above self-interest, value human relations, stay humble
His mobile phone rings before he can complete a sentence yet he patiently answers every call. Clients flit in and out of his office. Some even find their way to his plush drawing room as he takes a break from work to talk about his journey and life lessons.
Veteran income tax lawyer Ravinder Krishan, 78, is clearly a people’s man. “My clients are like family. I value human relations above everything else,” he says.
In poverty, one has no option but to be humble, however, humility becomes a defining quality if one stays grounded despite being fortunate. “Humility is the secret of my popularity,” he admits.
Politicians of all hues from Kirron Kher to Harmohan Dhawan make it a point to connect with Krishan before the elections. “I was the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Chandigarh president when Lalu Prasad Yadav was at the helm but was quick to realise that I’m better behind the scenes than in the spotlight. Lalu would lose his temper fast and focus on self-interest. A politician should be one jo akke nahin (doesn’t get bored); bakke nahin (doesn’t talk too much or quarrel) and thakke nahin (one who doesn’t get tired),” says Krishan.
“I help anyone who comes to me. After five decades, not only is my professional reputation intact but I have also earned a lot of goodwill, which is priceless,” he says.
TIPS FROM THE TAXMAN
Krishan believes income tax laws are strict in the country but compliance is low due to high taxes. An income tax inspector from 1962-68 before he quit to become a lawyer, he says, “Tax slabs should be reduced to improve compliance. Income tax provisions are so tough for most and are changed so fast that one can reach a lunatic asylum trying to understand them.”
He feels the tax department ought to adopt a humane approach. “When a law is made, the aim should be to benefit the assessee rather than harass him/her. After high input costs, an industrialist is expected to pay high taxes. Where does he get to make a profit?” he asks.
On how he manages to stay abreast, Krishan says, “I don’t delegate. My team assists me but I do my work myself. If they report to work at 9.30am, I’m in office at 8.30am. I’m used to working hard and enjoy being disciplined. I’m blessed with a good grasping power that enables me to remember case details without records.”
EDUCATION AND VALUES
He credits S Kundan Singh, the then principal of Khalsa College at Gurusar Sadhar in Raikot, for instilling in him the values of discipline, hard work, simple living and high thinking. “He used to teach us math, my favourite subject. We didn’t realise he taught us so much more,” he says.
Krishan set up his law practice in Chandigarh’s Sector 19 in 1969 and shifted to the adjoining Sector 18 before buying five kanals in the posh Sector 9 in 1978. “Whether it was studying law at Panjab University’s evening classes along with working or learning how to cook, I have taken challenges in my stride.”
He recalls how years ago, his neighbour Suresh Arora, who went on to become the Punjab Police chief, would joke that their lane did not need a chowkidar as “Vakil sahib would be awake all night preparing for his cases.”
GRATITUDE AND CHARITY
“God has been kind and helping the needy is my way of expressing gratitude,” says Krishan, who organises a blood donation camp on his birthday on December 24 every year at his farmhouse at Kot Billa near Panchkula. He believes charity should be given directly to institutions and has donated stretchers, wheelchairs and blankets to hospitals.
Though diabetic, he practises yoga for an hour and a half daily and looks forward to his weekly visits to the farmhouse. He enjoys Urdu poetry too.
METRO FOR CITY
As for Chandigarh, he says, “The Metro is a must as an alternative means of transport. This city was planned for 5 lakh but has grown exponentially with the mushrooming of satellite towns. Slums have cropped up and enjoy political patronage.”
1) Face challenges head on. They leave you wiser.
2) Time heals everything. If there’s a worry, keep it to yourself. It will disappear gradually.
3) Stay close to nature.
4) Adapt and stay updated.
5) Keep a diary, make notes and prioritise.