Saturday, October 27, 2007

First time in 3rd year :)

As with most people (a convenient assumption without any attempt at accuracy) in Law School who are participating in a Legal Services Clinic trip for the first time, I ventured on my first trip with some scepticism and not much enthusiasm. In fact, the prime reason for my going on this trip was because in conversation with Vikram (Hegde) a few days prior to the trip, I had mentioned to him in passing that I too would like to get involved in the activities of the Legal Services Clinic. Therefore, when he happened to see me about fifteen minutes before the bus was scheduled to leave, he told me to come along, and having raised the idea myself a few days before, it would have been very impolite for me not to consent.

Thus began my trip to the Murphy Town Corporation School, a Government supported girls only school in Bangalore. As with most Legal Services Clinic projects, this one too involved the enactment of skits and the introduction of several not so simple legal concepts through drama. My initial scepticism rapidly faded when I saw the immense enthusiasm which the members of the LSC, like Gowthaman and Khulali had for the trip. As soon as the bus departed from campus, the "practices" began and roles were quickly assigned. Since most of the members knew the "drill" very well, newcomers like yours truly had to be given a few lessons. That the LSC members handled with aplomb, and very effectively taught us how to tailor our parts in the drama so that the audience, (here the Girls of the School) could appreciate the legal concepts we were teaching them, including the fundamental rights, the right to succession, the right against discrimination and importantly, the right against sexual harassment. Once we got there, the members enthusiasm and commitment showed in the spirited (and judging by the reactions of the girls, effective) performances. It was clear that when we left, the children had been empowered with knowledge that would help them to tap into the arsenal of guarantees which have been provided to them.

But what was more important was the sense of change I felt in myself after the trip. The trip made me, for perhaps the first time, realise that there was a world outside the cocoon which the National Law School teaches most of its students to live in. Divorced from the world of sections and articles that is Law School, I felt a sense of involvement with the practical realities which come into play when the rights which we so vigorously debate (at an intellectual level) have to be employed by the citizen. What was heartening was that some of the girls in the School were in fact aware of several rights and guarantees available and the rest who were not were eager to learn. The receptive faces greatly enhanced the pleasure I got from acting in a few skits at the school. It also added to my thankfulness for shooting my apprehensions and witnessing first hand the remarkable project of empowerment which the Legal Services Clinic has embarked upon.

Hrishikesh Datar (III year)

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