Abbas Tyabji was born on 1 February 1854 in an aristocratic family of the Tayyabjis in Gujarat. ‘There is no death to Great People…Their sacrifice for the nation will make them live long. He was the noblest soul…Meeting him was a great opportunity. This was how Justice Abbas Tayabji was eulogized by Mahatma Gandhi.
Abbas went to England at a very young age for Education, where he completed Bar-at-Law in 1875 and returned to India in the same year. He became a Judge in the Baroda High Court in 1893. His meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1915 changed his life. He became a very close associate of Gandhiji.
He led the Gujarat Political Council, which had taken up the Non-co-operation movement prior to the Indian National Congress. Abbas Tyabji had sacrificed his luxurious life in 1919 and took part in the national movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. Even at the ripe old age of eighty years, he traveled all over Gujarat in a bullock cart to sell Khadi cloth and to promote use of Khadi.
He led the Bardoli Satyagraha successfully in 1928 and took the leadership of the National Movement as a ‘Dictator’ when Mahatma Gandhi was arrested during the Dandi March. He was arrested several times for leading the national movement. But he did not care about his health and marched ahead with the freedom movement despite his old age and other difficulties.
Under the leadership of Abbas Tyabji in Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi successfully implemented several experiments in the national movement. Several other movements like the Non Co-operation Movement, the movement for boycotting foreign goods, the Anti-Liquor Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement were initiated first in Gujarat successfully under the leadership of Abbas Tayabji, which was later extended to the whole of the country.
He was aptly praised as the ‘Gujarat Diamond’ by Gandhiji. Justice Abbas Tyabji played a leading role in the Indian national movement with a strong determination to free Mother India from the yoke of British imperialism till he breathed his last on 9 May 1936.