Mohit Dang is a second-year student(Batch of 2016-2021) at the Rajiv Gandhi National Univerisity of Law, Punjab. He describes himself as a ‘Pseudo-Bong’, particularly because the Bengali community refuses to accept him as one truly of their own, and also because he feels an inclination towards quintessential Bengali intellectualism, but because his physical traits betray his Punjabi descent and he cannot without a morsel of shame claim to be one.
The bags were packed, the tickets were booked, the ‘About’ section on my Facebook profile had been updated to apprise those perusing it of the institution wherefrom I was to graduate, and most importantly, the mind was made. I was all set to head to NUALS, Kochi, to God’s Own Country, excited to pursue Law from the University. The third merit list of CLAT 2016 saw me heading to Kochi and taking admission into the university, making acquaintance with individuals who were supposed to be my prospective batchmates, basking on the beaches, roaming the picturesque Fort Kochi, and making plans for Munnar. Against the better judgment of most, I had negated the prospect of getting upgraded to any other University and was in my own turn quite satisfied with my allotted University. Such was my certainty that I had not even bothered to look up the changes in the fourth merit list, and rather it was a senior at NUALS who had apprised me of my upgrade. Munnar, sadly, had to wait.
So chagrined a bit, but mostly curious, I set off for Patiala to be admitted into RGNUL. A year hence, the fortuitous turn of events has provided me memories and friends I cherish deeply, and a sense of curiosity, much like what I possessed when I first entered the campus for admissions, for the remainder of my time here.
The repute of RGNUL’s campus preceded it, though that for me was not the prime concern, enumeration of which I shall do in the later paragraphs. Irregardless, the pictures of the campus I had seen paled in comparison to the manifested object of those pictures. Pictures can speak a thousand words, but words, even thousands, cannot beat the perception of a thing in manifest through reality, and witnessing the palatial campus of RGNUL is bound to bumfuzzle you. Set across 50 acres (approx.) of land, RGNUL’s campus provides the amenities one cannot expect from a government institute. Stating that we have AC rooms is a truism, so I won’t hang on that. We have excellent sports facilities, a fully centrally air-conditioned academic and administrative block, and a facility area to provide every day’s necessities and then some, a newly constructed auditorium which adds to the grandeur of the campus, and a two-floored library, which will sweep you off its two floor and grant you orgasmic pleasure if you’re so inclined. Okay, perhaps the last part is a hyperbole. The fact remains, you will not want for resources here at RGNUL. You are provided with the very best that can be expected.
Infrastructure, however, matters nought if it is not judiciously utilised, and as promised, that brings me to what I perceived, and still perceive to be the most important aspect of a university and what should form the parameter of judging it, that is the larger student culture within that university. Thankfully, RGNUL did not let me down there. RGNUL provides for a vibrant set of activities students can indulge in. The moot scene is crazy, with students having secured laurels in many, and we have amazing debaters who are taking up the role of training the next batch of debaters who will take the University forward in that regard. RGNUL has carved a niche for itself insofar as sports is concerned; we send contingents of more than hundred students to some events, and they always make the University proud by faring excellently in them. Perhaps the best part about the University is the students that attend it. You will find a wide array of them, as diverse as the places they come from – from Kashmir to Kerala, and even Germany. There are the perpetual debaters, blurting out witticisms incessantly, the studious kind working their behinds off till late in the library, the ones working their behinds off in the gym, the ‘shady’ kind indulging in nefarious activities inside the hostels, et. al. The best thing is that they are all approachable, each having a certain charm to them. The student community is highly accommodating and welcomes all, providing everyone with something they have an interest in. You can almost find someone who dabbles in your own interest.
It will be disingenuous of me to paint it as all sunshine and rainbow. RGNUL, like all other NLUs, has certain problems with it, the prime among them being the red-tapes encompassing everything that occurs within its confines and hence interdicts the University from achieving still higher strides of which it indubitably has the potential of achieving. The faculty consists of some amazing professors, but it also has the, to put it mildly, ‘moderate’ ones, and to blurt out vehemently, they’re such that you’d want to strangle yourself a day before the semester tests. (Again, I might have indulged in some hyperboles, ‘might’ being the word to be kept in mind.) But it will be unfair to not specify that some professors do encourage the students to embark upon activities, and in their own turn provide full support. It helps that some of them, like the seniors, are quite receptive to students, and are also part of the main administrative bodies that take the decisions affecting the University, but in large students do miss out on having a say in what goes around the University, and hence them, due to the lack of a student body (Student associations are banned according to the RGNUL Act, 2006) a problem that needs to be remedied lest we fall victims to some gravely unfortunate incidents as some of the sister NLUs have.
And there was I, partaking in anything and everything that came my way, be they moots or parliamentary debates. The first semester passed by with me just getting the hang of everything that there was and settling down. To pulling in all-nighters for the mid-semester exams, to being weary after hours of dancing in the seemingly endless number of intra-fests we have, it was eventful. The tedium ultimately set in, but by then the semester was approaching its conclusion and soon enough the internship break had started. The commencement of the second semester brought much glee to me, tired by the daily visitations to the Calcutta High Court, and having missed friends, liberty, and the hum-drum of the University which the lethargy of Kolkata failed to satiate. The second semester was short, but it sufficed, keeping me on my toes. The mid-semester exams did make me regret partaking in MUNs and PDs across the nation, but then again, if you don’t screw up your academics due to extra-curriculars, you have not really lived the quintessential law school life. The mid-semester exams are truly hectic, so some time away was warranted, and thanks to the proximity of Himachal Pradesh, a solo trip to McLeod Ganj formed an apt substitute for Munnar. Soon enough, even this semester concluded, bringing along with it the completion of one-fifth of my journey that is law school.
In conclusion, RGNUL has its fair share of things going awry, but this is an institution that has come a long way since its inception a mere decade ago. It has a lot of potential, and rightly directed and utilised, this institution will go a long way. To the students who will join the University, I have but one piece of advice – come with your aspirations, and do not let them wane away. The only way an institution moves forward is if the students nudge it forward. As for me, the last year has been a journey. I’ll concede, I have at times abhorred the aspects of this University that make it unique, only to come to terms with it at others, and realising the uniqueness of this place, cannot help but fall for it. An objective mind would comment remarking that such romance with what one experiences and forms part and parcel of their life is commonplace, existing in the minds of beings across borders and as such there need not be heed paid to this; they are but the ramblings of one who desires to express them poetically, and that objective mind will be right, but emotions are subjective, and rarely do they abide by objectivity. So hence I remark, perhaps had events not turned out as they did, this article would have NUALS as the object of its commentary, with a few digressions from a few statements, of course; the fact, however, is that events transpired as they did, and landing at RGNUL is going to shape my life indelibly, and I can wish that it’s so for the better. At the conclusion of the first year however, I am left as much curious for what else is in store for me as I was when I first entered the gates, and I have a feeling that RGNUL won’t disappoint.
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