As has unfortunately become a habit with us, a little later than we actually should have, we’d like to bid you all goodbye as we break for the summer, return to our homes with good food, family, internships, and above all else, blissful air conditioning. The semester has come to an end and we will return to a new year with a new batch and new achievements, disappointments, controversies, surprises and of course, new cockroaches. On that note, we thought it’d be good to have a quick recap of the semester we’ve had, its ups and downs and oohs and aahs.
Who would have believed it was ever going to happen? NLU Delhi hosted its first cultural fest this semester. Three days of music, dance, theatre, whatever else every cultural fest has, and those sweet sweet mutton rolls. Oh man, those rolls. But yeah, we had our fest, which was all-in-all a success, I would say. Sure, we didn’t get the participation we would have liked to see, but for a maiden fest, it was reasonably good. We had great music performances, we had that gyrating fellow who was just mind-blowingly awesome, we had those rolls for a hundred bucks each, and we had curfew till 10 pm, HA! Na, seriously, it was a great fest, and kudos to the Organizing Committee to pull off a fest in this college with this administration. I look forward to this being the foundation for an ever growing NLU Delhi annual fest. Kairos 2015 FTW!
The VC’s Notices
To be sure, this University had already established a reputation with the students for being arbitrary and authoritarian in the exercise of its discretionary powers and other such heavy words us law students love throwing around. But the Vice-Chancellor really outdid himself this time. From protecting the sanctity of our ‘high professional ethics’ from the ‘indecent behavior’ we indulge in, to introducing and embracing the concept of the Grinch for Holi and attempting to kick us all out of our hostels, all the way to suggesting we adopt street children or destitute women from the roads as an alternative to providing food to the campus dogs – the VC really did push the students to the edge. And the results were for all to see. Open and aggressive dissent (read here and here). The sparks for a much-needed Student Bar Council have been lit and whether or not this time it was ‘as desired by’ him, he can definitely take all the credit.
The INSAAF Posters
“Bhai, ab iss bari mein poster mat laga dena.” You have either said that sentence or you have heard that sentence if you have been present on campus this semester. And what could it refer to, but the onslaught of posters by INSAAF as a part of its campaign against homophobia and sexism. The posters have been discussed plenty and I dare not start again, and irrespective of whether the posters were successful in their aim, whether they were necessary or whether they were carried out with red herrings, it cannot be disputed that the posters initiated a discussion on campus about these issues which were never as widely discussed earlier.
The Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee
The discussions and posters were both continued and pressed on by the ASHC which became active this semester. The Committee faced hostile responses through the semester with every poster being torn and defaced, but they clearly prioritized their message over the hostility and persevered (much to the annoyance of some). A special mention must be made of the exchange on the Cookie-Privilege poster on the door opposite the Acad Block ground floor stairway door which saw interaction between students, teachers and the ASHC, which also led to the creation of their motto – “We’re always happy to engage.” Hopefully, that won’t be the problem next sem.
Student Initiated Talks
In a very interesting shift from the talks we’ve had in college till now, this semester saw an increase in the number of talks organized by the students themselves. Till now, all talks in our college were organized by the University which students begrudgingly were forced to attend under the threat of attendance, or were organized by the RCC which students begrudgingly were forced to attend under the threat of attendance. To the contrary, and mostly to the credit of the Public Law and Policy Discussion Group, this semester saw talks organized by the students for students with no compulsion to attend. While these talks may not have seen the audience that those organizing them would have liked, it is still commendable that enough people attended for it to continue through the semester. Even more interesting has been the nature and content of these talks – on issues of caste, migrant labour, heteronormativity, racism, and oil. Evidently, the student initiated talks have not been on issues that amass popularity but on issues considered important by groups of students. Reflecting this shift in student interests, this semester also witnessed the discussion of the caste issue with the first celebration of Amedkar Jayanti on campus. We look forward to what’s in store by the students next semester and hope for an even wider range of talks.
First En-Masse Protest
The ridiculous behavior of the Registrar in not allowing three girl students to enter campus before dawn and forcing them to call a Women’s Helpline to send a PCR vehicle to wait outside the college gate till 6 am led to what was arguably the first en masse act of protest with students from all batches protesting in unison against such a bizarre application of curfew rules. It also led to what could have been and hopefully can still be a participatory reformation of the campus curfew rules. It seems to have died down like so many things on campus do, but we hope that it hasn’t.
Any recap of an NLU Delhi semester would be incomplete without mention of moot victories. And this semester saw the glorious wins in two international moots with NLU Delhi being the first Indian team to win the ICC Trial Moot Court Competition at The Hague and on the next day winning the Asia-Pacific Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition in Beijing. We didn’t see any bizarre notices from the VC after these victories. Sure, that could be attributed to the fact there were barely two weeks left in the semester after that. But what’s the fun in that?
As has been pointed out to me, this semester also saw the best semester-wide performance by NLU Delhi in the debate circuit. We won 9 debates within a semester, our best so far. While the list is long and may be read in Raunaq’s comments below, specific mention and congratulations is owed to Ambar and Seth who owned the circuit this semester and became two of only three people who have won the NLS debate twice. Hopefully Somil, Raunaq, and Sanjeevi who also had a great semester will fill their shoes from next semester.
Sports on Campus
The launch of the intra-college football league and basketball league was a new chapter for sports on campus. We’ve had competitions on campus before, but they were always brief affairs which finished soon. These leagues on the other hand reflected the desire and love for sports as a daily activity to be played four days a week throughout the semester. The football league unfortunately fell victim to yet another ridiculous notice by the VC, but the basketball league concluded very successfully, and we look forward to both of them next semester, newer, improved, and more to follow with it.
The Insufficiency of Medical Leave
In an act unprecedented, unexpected, and incomprehensible, 60 students of the third year bunked the Jurisprudence Mid-Term, which led to the University finally taking a strict stance on the practice of missing exams with a medical leave and getting the end semester exams calculated out of 60 marks. All those students who had missed their mid-term exams, whether legitimately or not, had their expectations of a 60 mark end semester exam shot down by the joint effort of the third year batch, with ‘repeat’ mid-terms held one week before the end-semester exams.
New and Exciting Cuisine
The misfeasances of our mess contractor reached new lows (or rather old lows with greater consistency) or they forgot to mention their attempts to mix things up in our cuisine. One cockroach should have been one too many, but lets not dwell on what should have been in the past, for the repeated presence of cockroaches in our mess food was finally too much for the administration to ignore, and the contract with the mess contractor will not be renewed for next semester. One only wishes that the concerns of the mess workers regarding wages they have not been paid and the security of their jobs is taken into consideration before the new contractor is appointed.
To Sirs, With Love
Unfortunately, this semester we bid adieu to two of our greatest faculty members, Professor Babu Mathew and Professor Sitharamam Kakarala, who have left our University and moved on to bigger and better things. We can hardly blame them and wish them the best of luck.
And Lastly, Glasnost
Yes, I am afraid we are self-aggrandizing and narcissistic enough to consider the launching of Glasnost as one of the notable events worthy of a mention in this recap. We say this not because we think we have done a great job deserving any acknowledgment. No, we set out to be our University’s independent student newspaper, and we have a long way to go before we can be satisfied. But we deem it necessary to include it because though Glasnost, we hope to have created above all an avenue for student interaction. A space for students to publish their thoughts and ideas and share it with other students. A platform for constructive engagement on issues that otherwise get brushed under the rug.
It’s been an incredibly exciting experience for all of us involved in Glasnost to be a part of developing this online newspaper and we intend to continue and improve in our content, consistency, and coverage over the summer and throughout next semester.