He talks passionately about the rights of farmers on their produce, and wants to educate them on bio-privacy. The fact that he is visually impaired, he says, has never deterred him from completing his research on intellectual property, traditional knowledge and bio-diversity.

On Thursday, 35-year-old S. Elumalai was awarded a Ph.D at the seventh convocation ceremony of Dr. Ambedkar Law University.

A consistent gold medallist in various institutions, including Madras Law College, Elumalai hails from a village near Tiruvannamalai.

“My father was a farmer, and I have always been interested in farming. But I also wanted to study and generate awareness about how we are exploited in the global economy,” he says.

Issues related to patents on traditional knowledge have always interested him, and he wants to delve deeper into studying trade agreements and policy.

“We give our farmers subsidies, but we also exploit them. There is much they need to know about their legal rights,” he says.

Elumalai now works with government and non-governmental organisations that look into patent issues.

Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who delivered the convocation address, covered topics on law, technology and society and urged the graduating students to look into issues of cloning, bioethics, lunar mining, space law, cyber law and sea law that have been discussed in the recent past.

He asked them to develop a righteous attitude, and play a balancing role in strengthening technological growth.

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