“My parents do not know much about education,” says the newest entrant to one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country, National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru.
At a time when the national law schools have become a privilege of students who can afford the high tuition fee, coaching fee for the entrance exam and a long and comfortable association with the English language, Anil Bhadu’s case is different.
Belonging to Nokha in Rajasthan, Anil’s family does not represent the category that usually finds representations in the sought-after law schools. His father, a class 9 dropout, is a truck driver while his mother, a homemaker, is unlettered. “Driving is my father’s primary profession. He is also a part-time farmer, but we don't grow much. Bajra is cultivated only for a few months,” he says.
Having studied first in a government school in Nokha, and then high school and classes 11 and 12 in Jaipur, English was not something that he had a brush with regularly. “We had books in English which were taught in Hindi,” he says. “But the language barrier is just a mental block,” he adds.
It was his maternal uncle, a schoolteacher, who pushed Anil into thinking about law and pursuing it. While still in class 12, he made his first attempt at the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) last year after coming into contact with his uncle’s friend — an alumnus of a law school. He managed a ranking of 1,250. “I then enrolled myself in a coaching centre in Jaipur which even gave me a fee waiver,” he explains.
His second attempt at CLAT catapulted him to the 42nd rank and a place in the sun. “When my parents were told about my rank, they did not understand what that meant. They simply asked my uncle whether it was a good profession and he managed to convince them,” he recalls.
He was all but ready to apply for an educational loan when he got in touch with the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to legal education’s (IDIA) Rajasthan team.
With steady mentorship, he has been “adopted” by the NLSIU, enjoying a full tuition fee waiver.
There are quite a few success stories in the nooks and corners of the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru.
One such story is that of T. Haokip, popularly called Lalcha, now in his third year. A native of Manipur, Haokip had come to Bengaluru at the age of six to stay with his uncle. A query on his parents profession follows a quiet smile before a matter-of-fact reply, “They are daily wage labourers.” Having studied in Parikrma Centre for Learning, Haokip has been home just twice in 15 years. “I would like to try my luck with civil services next,” he says, while his college-mates go on to list his fluency in Kannada and talent in acting.