Interviews

Ms. Prakrati Shah and Aiswarya Murali Team Leaders of IDIA Rajasthan Chapter recently won the Star of IDIA award. They were being interviewed by EBC student ambassador Srishti Rai on her win.

  1. Brief intro

Prakrati: My name is Prakrati Shah. I am a fifth-year student from National Law University, Jodhpur, I always wanted to make a difference in the society and the most effective way to bring about any change, in my opinion would be to start from the grass roots and educate the youth. I joined IDIA at the end of my first year because it filled that lacuna. We didn’t only help create awareness about career prospects in law, but mentored these kids to ensure they get into the best law schools of the country and the opportunities that they deserved and could not get due to lack of resources.

Aiswarya: My name is Aiswarya Murali. I am a fifth year student from National Law University, Jodhpur. I have been part of IDIA for almost four years now. It has now become an integral part of my life. IDIA gave a purpose to my learning and became an operating factor to the values I hold. The happiness I secured each time I saw a trainee excel is inexplicable.

  1. About IDIA

Prakrati: IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education)started by Mr. Shamnad Basheer. IDIA is a Non-Governmental Organisation that works towards bringing gender, class and caste inclusivity in law schools so that everyone has an equal opportunity to fully utilise their potential.

Aiswarya: IDIA, is the acronym for Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access.  As the name suggests, this project aims at cutting across economically and socially marginalised sections by sensitising them about legal education thereby encouraging them to pursue it as a career. This was an idea envisioned by Prof. Shamnad Basheer. IDIA provides a support system to the students throughout their journey in pursuing law as a career. The working hands of IDIA being law students across the country. They run chapters in the form of teams capable of sensitising, training and financially aiding the students to enter and survive in law schools.

  1. My journey as a team leader

Prakrati: In my drop year for CLAT, I joined Make a Difference where I was an English Teacher, a Community Fundraising Mentor and team leader in the dream camp organized for underprivileged kids staying in shelter homes. Working with these kids for a year made me realize that they have great potential, however we were only able to help them till the school level and after that they needed career guidance.

After becoming a Team Leader in 2017, I am nothing but grateful for what I along with my team have managed to accomplish at NLU Jodhpur. For the academic years of 2016-19, we have managed successful negotiations with CrackClat and LawPrep, Jodhpur and have secured subsidized coaching rates upto 85% along with them taking on visually impaired kids pro bono. We have created more awareness in our college by way of signing campaigns, setting up stalls during events like NH-65 (our college cultural fest) and Dandiya night, and sending out e-mails to alumni and our peers by reaching out to them personally. We also reached out to students from the legal background so they can involve their parents with IDIA as much as possible. We also organized a lecture by Mr. Carl Malamud in collaboration with CalQ, our college journal.

Through these initiatives we raised Rs. 40,000 in the span of two weeks in November to pay the coaching fees for the IDIA Rajasthan Chapter students and Rs. 10,000 from our activities on campus this semester. We have also gotten an in-principal approval from the administration to set up IDIA stalls on campus for any forthcoming event. Keeping into mind that people have varying level of time commitments, but still want to contribute to IDIA, we have also started a volunteer system for the students in the college.

We also had a case concerning POCSO in 2017, but we did not have members equipped to deal with case and had to reach out to a student outside IDIA to help us out. This incident gave me the idea to start a legal services team for the IDIA Rajasthan Chapter which is currently looking into measures which would make our college more PWD friendly by getting special scanners for the visually impaired and ramps for physically handicapped people. We are also looking at possible alternatives of filing an RTI or a letter petition to look at the minimum qualifications for teachers in law schools to ensure a better standard of education.

The Rajasthan Chapter over the past two years has achieved certain milestones and I will always be thankful to IDIA to give me the opportunity to lead the team to achieve them and help me fulfill the vision I had when I joined law school to try my best to make a difference in the society.

Aiswarya: I believe that being part of IDIA is a two –way transformation process. While we transform lives, our own lives get transformed. I became part of IDIA in my second year. I was part of the training team in my second and third year. I taught legal reasoning and English. I focused on helping the trainees chalk out a strategy, which I believe is the most crucial part of training them. Towards the end of my third year, we were slowly delegated the works of a Team Leader and then completely transitioned into running the entire chapter. It was quite challenging however, I quickly settled in due to my eagerness in executing the changes I wanted to see.

I have been the team leader of IDIA since February 2017 along with Prakrati Shah. Apart from several inherent challenges that we face while working for IDIA, institutional challenges are a major impediment. But each time I worked for IDIA, I strived to imbibe the true meaning of IDIA and believe in it more deeply. Being a team leader has added several aspects to my personality, in the form of enhancing problem solving capability, people skills, organisation skills and welcoming challenges in its true spirit.

It wouldn’t be an overstatement if I were to say that Rajasthan Chapter is one of the efficiently-run chapters, producing the best results every year. Major credit goes to my very enthusiastic team and ever supportive director who has always been our pillar. To ensure a good success rate we constantly keep a track of the performance of our trainees. Provide them with every possible material that we can by maintaining an internal library in the chapter. We keep them updated with current affairs by providing them monthly compendiums. Finally, I believe that the most determinative factor of a competitive exam like CLAT is self-belief and the much needed mental strength for perseverance.  We ensure that the trainees are provided enough emotional support and are motivated to achieve what they are capable of. In the course of being part of IDIA, I realised that there is no happiness greater than helping someone realise their dream. To rescue someone from being victims of their circumstances and to add an extra mile to their lives. This is what IDIA means to me. Pure bliss!

  1. Feeling after winning the award

Prakrati: I felt humbled in the presence of all the dignitaries present. We got to see the IDIA scholars being awarded, heard about their struggles even after joining law school and how well they are still doing for themselves. It was a platform to interact with the legal luminaries and chance to meet the people who are actually making a difference. I think I’m taking back lessons for lifetime. Getting this award has further motivated me and inspired me to work further.

Aiswarya: I was truly overwhelmed when I was informed that I was eligible for this award. My heartfelt gratitude to the entire IDIA family for this precious piece of memory. I was honoured to receive it. I am also grateful to my ever supportive family, who have always encouraged me to aim the stars and strive in the best possible manner to reach the sky. I am thankful to my friends who believed in me and gave me the emotional strength to never give up. Lastly, I believe that the real happiness is when you receive calls from your successful trainees and be a part of their happiness.Their satisfactions when you aid them embark on a journey towards a bright future. This award is a materialization of their happiness!

     5. Any suggestions

Aiswarya: It is important to do what gives you contentment in life. If it’s seeing transform lives of people then IDIA is the perfect place for you. There are several ways of being part of this project. If you are a law student you can join IDIA and be a part of this beautiful family. Financial aid is also very crucial. You can donate and support us. Any amount can add value to a life. The least, all of us can do is to spread a word about our project to those interested. Any mille of your help is precious for us.

Law School NewsOthers

This is a call for applications to be part of the Training & Materials Vertical of the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) Project.

The IDIA Project was initiated by Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer to reach out to the marginalized and under-represented groups, sensitize them to law as a viable career option and help interested students acquire admission in law schools, which are otherwise increasingly elitist spaces. The hope is that increasing access to legal education would contribute immensely to empowerment of the marginalized and underprivileged students and the communities they represent. To know more about the project, please visit the IDIA website here.

The Training and Materials Vertical (T&M Team) of IDIA is responsible for preparation of training-material for our trainees to practise with. The Team is inviting applications for the different projects it will be undertaking this year.  As you may know, the T&M Vertical is undergoing rapid expansion via its online platform and in furtherance of this endeavor, we require volunteers for the following projects:

1. Video Training: Building on from last year’s success, we aim to create more video tutorials in regional languages so as make learning easier and more fun for our trainees. We will be using a very simple software for this (for instance see this short explanatory video). Each video ideally explains one topic and gives some questions on it. You can view the tutorials we developed last year here.

This project, once completed, shall enable IDIA to reach out to areas where it does not have a strong presence as yet. Prior knowledge of video-making, programming, graphic designing etc. is NOT a pre-requisite to be a part of this team. If you have a sound grasp of subject areas tested through law entrance examinations, and wish to disseminate this knowledge country-wide then please do apply!

2. Mock Tests: We have prepared a repository of mock tests on the online platform. The work would entail –

  • Creating mock tests calibrated to different difficulty levels.
  • Proof-reading questions and answer keys in pre-existing Mock Tests.
  • Administering tests and analysing test results so as to give detailed, individualised feedback to test-takers.

Last year, all our trainees attempted these mock tests and greatly benefited from regular feedback on their performance. In addition to designing questions, you will have an opportunity to extensively engage with Moodle, code tests, and conduct data analysis using MS Excel. Once again, prior knowledge of these tools is NOT a pre-requisite.

3. Question Bank: We have been successful in preparing a well-segregated subject-wise question bank of all past-years’ law entrance examinations. This task was undertaken with the aim of familiarizing trainees with the possible types of questions that can be expected in an entrance examination. The work for this project would entail –

  • Reviewing the Question Bank to ensure there are no errors in the questions and ensuring the answers are conducive.
  • Determining and implementing a creative means for rendering the question bank online so as to ensure ease of usage.

4. Current Affairs: This project entails preparation of weekly quizzes on current affairs. If you are interested in regular engagement with the happenings across the world, then this work shall interest you greatly.

Qualifications: The minimum qualifications for this post are the following:

  1. The T&M Vertical must be first priority for you. You should be able to spare at least 6-8 hours a week for this work.
  2. It is essential that you believe in and be committed to IDIA’s cause.
  3. Good communication skills along with leadership qualities are also a must.

Incentives: The biggest incentive in working as part of IDIA is, of course, the satisfaction of having made great contribution towards a great cause. However, if the promise of a social revolution and transforming someone’s life is not good enough for you, some material incentives which you could consider are:

  1. IDIA’s various supporters and donors (including some of the leading law firms) have agreed to grant internship opportunities to best performing IDIA volunteers. In the past, IDIA has nominated its best performing volunteers for internships at top law firms such as JSA, Trilegal, Luthra and Luthra, AZB etc. as well as companies like GE, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis etc.
  2. An exceptional IDIA team leader/deputy team leader could be nominated for a series of awards including a fellowship instituted by a leading lawyer (IDIA: Sagar Fellowships) that pays a good sum each month.
  3. A certificate highlighting your contribution to IDIA and providing an assessment of your work.

Application Process: Those interested in applying may fill in this form by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, 2nd September 2018. Applicants having past experience with similar projects are encouraged to apply, although that is not a strict requirement for selection. Members of regional teams are also encouraged to apply. Based on your expression of interest via the Google form you will be asked to complete a small task in due course.

Needless to say, each of these projects would require you to maintain a high level of professionalism and meet strict deadlines. In case of any doubt(s), please feel free to write to Shilpa Prasad (shilpadeprasad@gmail.com) or Siddhant Sachdeva (siddhant.sachdeva14@nludelhi.ac.in). We would be happy to answer your queries or take up suggestions.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

Law School NewsOthers

This is a call for applications to be part of the Training & Materials Vertical of the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) Project. The IDIA Project was initiated by Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer to reach out to the marginalized and under-represented groups, sensitize them to law as a viable career option and help interested students acquire admission in law schools, which are otherwise increasingly elitist spaces. The hope is that increasing access to legal education would contribute immensely to empowerment of the marginalized and underprivileged students and the communities they represent. To know more about the project, please visit the IDIA website here.

The Training and Materials Vertical (T&M Team) of IDIA is responsible for preparation of training-material for our trainees to practise with. The Team is inviting applications for the different projects it will be undertaking this year.  As you may know, the T&M Vertical is undergoing rapid expansion via its online platform and in furtherance of this endeavor, we require volunteers for the following projects –

1. Video Training 
Building on from last year’s success, we aim to create more video tutorials in regional languages so as make learning easier and more fun for our trainees. We will be using a very simple software for this (for instance see this short explanatory video). Each video ideally explains one topic and gives some questions on it. You can view the tutorials we developed last year here.

This project, once completed, shall enable IDIA to reach out to areas where it does not have a strong presence as yet. Prior knowledge of video-making, programming, graphic designing etc. is NOT a pre-requisite to be a part of this team. If you have a sound grasp of subject areas tested through law entrance examinations, and wish to disseminate this knowledge country-wide then please do apply!

2. Mock Tests
We have prepared a repository of mock tests on the online platform. The work would entail –

  • Creating mock tests calibrated to different difficulty levels.
  • Proof-reading questions and answer keys in pre-existing Mock Tests.
  • Administering tests and analysing test results so as to give detailed, individualised feedback to test-takers.

Last year, all our trainees attempted these mock tests and greatly benefited from regular feedback on their performance. In addition to designing questions, you will have an opportunity to extensively engage with Moodle, code tests, and conduct data analysis using MS Excel. Once again, prior knowledge of these tools is NOT a pre-requisite.

3. Question Bank
We have been successful in preparing a well-segregated subject-wise question bank of all past-years’ law entrance examinations. This task was undertaken with the aim of familiarizing trainees with the possible types of questions that can be expected in an entrance examination. The work for this project would entail –

  • Reviewing the Question Bank to ensure there are no errors in the questions and ensuring the answers are conducive.
  • Determining and implementing a creative means for rendering the question bank online so as to ensure ease of usage.

4. Current Affairs
This project entails preparation of weekly quizzes on current affairs. If you are interested in regular engagement with the happenings across the world, then this work shall interest you greatly.

Qualifications
The minimum qualifications for this post are the following:

  1. The T&M Vertical must be first priority for you. You should be able to spare at least 6-8 hours a week for this work.
  2. It is essential that you believe in and be committed to IDIA’s cause.
  3. Good communication skills along with leadership qualities are also a must.

Incentives

The biggest incentive in working as part of IDIA is, of course, the satisfaction of having made great contribution towards a great cause. However, if the promise of a social revolution and transforming someone’s life is not good enough for you, some material incentives which you could consider are:

  1. IDIA’s various supporters and donors (including some of the leading law firms) have agreed to grant internship opportunities to best performing IDIA volunteers. In the past, IDIA has nominated its best performing volunteers for internships at top law firms such as JSA, Trilegal, Luthra and Luthra, AZB etc. as well as companies like GE, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis etc.
  2. An exceptional IDIA team leader/deputy team leader could be nominated for a series of awards including a fellowship instituted by a leading lawyer (IDIA: Sagar Fellowships) that pays a good sum each month.
  3. A certificate highlighting your contribution to IDIA and providing an assessment of your work.

Application Process
Those interested in applying may fill in this form by 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, 1st October 2017. Applicants having past experience with similar projects are encouraged to apply, although that is not a strict requirement for selection. Members of regional teams are also encouraged to apply. Based on your expression of interest via the Google form you will be asked to complete a small task in due course.

Needless to say, each of these projects would require you to maintain a high level of professionalism and meet strict deadlines. In case of any doubt(s), please feel free to write to Anusha (anusha@idialaw.com) or Shilpa (shilpadeprasad@gmail.com) or Siddhant (siddhant.sachdeva14@nludelhi.ac.in). We would be happy to answer your queries.

Hot Off The PressNews

In an unfortunate incident that took place last night, six NUJS students were groped and brutally assaulted by a mob of goons hired by the government contractor in charge of demolition of the Subhas Sarovar slums. After the students of NUJS Kolkata obtained a stay order of Calcutta High Court on the demotion of slum housing.

Narrating the sequence of events, the Student Juridical Association, NUJS, in it’s official Press Release, said that despite the stay order, the contractors demolished the slums at which point NUJS students went to the contractors with the copy of the Court order. On being confronted, the order was torn up, following which the female students were groped by multiple goons and the male students were grievously assaulted till they were unconscious. Their phones were smashed and destroyed and when they tried to escape, the gates of the area, which is a fenced enclosure, were shut.

Terming the incident as manhandling of collective conscience, the student association wrote:

“we, as the law school fraternity, must stand together against this complete obliteration of the rule of law that we seek to defend and practice. We sincerely hope that in this hour of need, our collective conscience will inspire us to participate in defending and echoing the common ideals of liberty and rule of law that bind us together.”

As per the latest update, the Calcutta High Court has immediately ordered the state for rehabilitation of the evicted slum dwellers within 24 hours and has issued a contempt of court notice against perpetrators.

Last month, the public interest team at Increasing Diversity By Increasing Access (IDIA) comprising of NUJS students had obtained a stay on slum demolitions in Kolkata’s Subhas Sarovar area.

As part of its beautification project, the West Bengal state government planned to demolish the slums in the area, which would render around twenty-two families living there for more than a decade, homeless. Three of the slum dwellers, including octogenarian Shiv Shankar Ray, sought to file a petition before the Calcutta High Court challenging the government’s decision. The petition was drafted by the IDIA team comprising of NUJS students– which received help from pro bono lawyers practising at the High Court.