The IDIA Jharkhand Chapter is an offshoot of the IDIA Charitable Trust (IDIA), a non-profit organization working across the length and breadth of India, which aims to empower underprivileged children by giving them access to quality legal education. The Chapter is overseen by IDIA Director Arnab Roy and headed by Team Leader Afsar Raza. Currently, it has more than 30 Team Members working towards realizing the goal of making legal education accessible to underprivileged children. The Chapter presently operates out of the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi.
All Chapters of IDIA conduct sensitization sessions in their respective geographical locations. These sessions are meant to help underprivileged students become aware of the law as a career option and the avenues it opens. Such sessions are followed by a written test and selection of potential law aspirants.
Along with Deputy Team Leader Md. Saddam Ansari, the Team Leader decided to take an initiative in spreading the word about law as a career in the nooks and corners of surrounding cities and districts of Jharkhand.
Afsar Raza and Md. Saddam Ansari conducted sensitization sessions in the remote district of Dhanbad, which is 160 kilometers away from Ranchi. They conducted the sensitization sessions during the vacations of Chath puja and Diwali. Sensitization sessions were conducted in both government and private schools, after taking prior permission from the respective School Principals. The task of obtaining permission from the School Principals was not easy and several of them denied the request in the first instance. On the other hand, this gesture was welcomed with open arms by some of the other School Principals.
The schools that were sensitized included Jharkhand Public School, +2 High School Balliapur, Mother Teresa High School, Shishu Vidya Mandir Vidayala and several others.
During the conduct of a sensitization session in Jharkhand Public School, a private school in the Balliapur district of Dhanbad, Afsar and Md. Saddam addressed more than two hundred and fifty students; whereas in +2 High School Balliapur, a government school, they addressed around three hundred students. At the end of the sensitization program, more than 1500 students had been addressed across various schools and districts. During the sensitization, it dawned up on them that only a few teachers and students were cognizant of law as a career. The teachers and the students were not aware of the Common Law Admission Test or the opportunities that were available to a prospective law student upon completing his/her legal education. Afsar and Md. Saddam informed the students and teachers about the opportunities that are available after graduating from a law school. They informed them about numerous fields that one could pursue.
Not only could the student secure a lucrative job but also pursue Civil Services or enter the Judiciary to change the course of India. Afsar and Md. Saddam also talked about IDIA and its contribution in the legal sector and how underprivileged students can take advantage of it, because a majority of the students belonged to underprivileged sections. They told the students not to be discouraged because of inadequate amenities, but to work diligently towards their goal. At the end of the session, many students expressed their interest in pursuing law after finishing school and the teachers were grateful for this noble initiative. An hour and a half long session was conducted in each school. Since a majority of them had trouble understanding English, the sensitization had to be conducted in Hindi for their ease of understanding. Students were also encouraged to contribute towards the society in the future and work towards the noble cause of removing the disparities that have existed from time immemorial.
One of the School Principals penned down a letter of appreciation for the team and expressed his gratitude towards the Director Arnab Roy and the founder Professor Shamnad Basheer. Another school Principal handed over a memento to the team and was sincerely grateful for the efforts put in.
The entire initiative was recorded and reported in the renowned newspapers such as Hindustan, Prabhat Khabar, Ranchi Express, Awaz and several others to apprise parents and students with law as a career and the process that can be followed to manifest their dream of becoming a lawyer into reality, despite having limited access to resources like coaching centers, study material, finances, etc.
Newspapers are important and read by people belonging to all strata of society. One of the former IDIA Jharkhand Scholars Yogendra Yadav had learnt about the legal education and CLAT through a newspaper article. Hence, with the objective of reaching out to students and parents in the remote districts, towns and cities, sensitization reports were published in newspapers.
The IDIA Jharkhand Chapter has a long way ahead to realize its goals and spread the word about law in every nook and corner of the state, to foster in students belonging to the underprivileged sections of society, the motivation to nurture the dream and aspiration of pursuing law and not be discouraged by their financial state.
This post has been written by Afsar Raza and Tanya Tekriwal.