Donnie Ashok’s story is a truly inspiring one, of someone who literally and metaphorically rose from the ashes to secure a seat at one of India’s most prestigious National Law Universities (NLUs). When Donnie joined IDIA as a Trainee, his father was a painter by profession with an annual income of less than INR 1.5 lakhs.
Owing to severe financial problems faced by his family, Donnie’s schooling had been erratic, to say the least. He ran various types of errands to earn a living, but the money he earned was a pittance compared to his school fees. He could not fund his education, and had to drop out of Class 12.
Fate intervened and he heard about IDIA from Ramanuj Mukherjee, a friend of his sister’s, who went on to become his mentor and guide. Ramanuj was an active member of IDIA and a topper of the law entrance exam at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS) as well. Donnie scored the first rank in the IDIA National Aptitude Test (a test conducted all across India to select deserving underprivileged candidates that IDIA would support) and was admitted into the programme immediately. Prof. Shamnad Basheer, founder of IDIA paid his school fees and put him back in school, after persuading his school principal to re-admit him to class XII despite the delay in payment of the fees.
By virtue of sheer grit and single-minded determination, Donnie not only studied for his class XII boards but also burnt the midnight oil to prepare for CLAT (with the help of training by IDIA volunteers along with its partner LST, a leading CLAT coaching centre). His prayers were finally answered and his hard work was rewarded with an All India General Rank of 427 in CLAT 2012. He secured admission in Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar.
Donnie is a living testimony of the popular adage that true success lies in standing up again, no matter how many times one falls. He graduated in 2017 and was the founder SuperLawyer (www.superlawyer.in) and a legal-tech start-up Legalify! Presently, he is working as a software developer in Berlin, Germany.