OF LAW, KIDS and CHAI – IDIA GOES TO NAGPUR

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Expanding it horizons, IDIA conducted a sensitization programme at Nagpur that was carried out by the Hyderabad chapter, being the closest available chapter. The team consisted of  Dipankar Krishna Das, Siddharth Jha and myself. The team was accompanied by Diptasri Basu, Executive Director, IDIA. On ground, we received support from Mr. Ashok Mrig, one of IDIA’s most passionate supporters, who was also our host at Nagpur. We were put up at a comfortable guest house that came with a cook who enquired after every hour if we wanted tea. J His piping hot tea provided a welcome respite after all the travelling and it went well with the rainy weather too! The sensitization was conducted at Yukti Coaching Centre, which is a training centre for engineering and medical exams. Our objective was to introduce the wonders of law as a career to those who are currently contemplating pursuing the traditional career paths chosen by a majority of teenagers in India. So yes, we were met by the initial apprehension that ardent worshippers of IIT-JEE greet non-science options with. Their opinion of lawyers? ‘A black coat wearing person who makes money by lying.’

The Team

The Team

But with Dipto on our side, ready with all the facts and statistics, proving that law was as good, or even better an option for some was not difficult. The sensitization talk involved explaining how study of law provides empowerment, the wide variety of job opportunities available to law students, law school life, CLAT and what IDIA does. Efforts were made to make the session interactive by connecting law to their favourite films and how elements of law are woven intricately into film plots too, which often go unnoticed by the layman.

Since the target audience comprised mostly of science and commerce background students, the IDIA team introduced them to the specialisations that law offers which would be of interest to the science students eg. space law, patent law, biotechnology law etc. Similarly, those that wished to pursue commerce and business studies were introduced to corporate law and mergers and acquisitions at a very basic level so that they understood the variety of options offered after a law degree and the flexibility of being able to choose one close to their heart!

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During this time the initial apprehension gave way to mild curiosity and then to actual keenness. This was followed by an aptitude test that was taken by 38 students. The top seven scorers were selected. An interview was conducted for these seven students. Although some of them seemed interested in giving law a shot but it seems that the social indoctrination of pursuing nothing but engineering/medical will take more than one sensitization to be dismantled. They were interested in studying for CLAT as a second option and were not ready to give up engineering preperations. Although one girl, not amongst the top seven, approached us and told us that she was keen on pursuing law and sought guidance. So it was decided that IDIA will train her on a trial basis for six months during which she will have to take

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periodic tests to map her improvement and monitor her progress. In case she shows a significant improvement, she would be inducteded as a scholar.

Also, dear IDIA volunteers trust me when I say this, sensitization trips are something that you should not miss when you get a chance! Not only do you get involved with work directly and meet scholars and understand their circumstances which humble you and inspire you, it is also a lot of fun. Once we were done with all the work, we roamed around the city attacking places famous for local dishes, took it upon ourselves to grade all pani-puri walas in the city to find the best one available and watched the night show of ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’ in a cheap, one screen theatre which looked as old as Milkha himself!

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To add to the adventure our train back to Hyderabad was 15 hours(!) late. We came back to NALSAR weary after the journey, but more in love with IDIA than ever before! There is something about the feeling that you have touched someone’s life, inspired someone, got inspired in return. Not all efforts will be successful, but you will meet amazing people on the way, make friends and memories, and there won’t be even one experience which will not teach you something.

 

By: Pallavi Srivastava, 2012 Batch, NALSAR

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