Rhodes Scholarship India

NLSIU & Nalsar lawyers pick up Rhodes scholarships this year

NLSIU Bangalore and Nalsar Hyderabad final year LLB students Mansi Sood and Sanya Samtani are, respectively, among nearly 85 scholars selected by the Rhodes trust, for its Oxford University class of 2015.

A Delhi University sociology student and one economics student and one Bangalore medical student are the other Indians selected for the class. The five Indian's who have made it to this year's Rhodes class include four women.

Samtani’s profile on Oxford’s website states:

“Her primary area of interest lies at the intersection of public international law, constitutional law and critical theory. Having been a teaching assistant for public international law and constitutional law, she envisages a career in academia. Whilst in NALSAR, she served as senior editor of the NALSAR Student Law Review; editor of the Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law, having edited a special issue on the Global South, and student editor of ILSA's International and Comparative Law Quarterly. Furthermore, she has been on the organizing committees of the NALSAR Film Festival and the NALSAR Inter Varsity Debating Championship.”

Sood's profile on the website states:

"Her interest lies in commercial law, with a primary focus on arbitration and intellectual property law. Currently serving as the Chief Editor of the National Law School of India Review, Mansi has helped in organising the Annual Symposium for the past three years. She has participated in several national and international moot court competitions and recently won the 5th International ADR Mooting Competition at Hong Kong. Besides mooting, Mansi also enjoys parliamentary debating and writing. A trained Kathak dancer, she likes to play sports, particularly badminton."

Last year law students from NLSIU and NUJS Kolkata won the Rhodes.

Hat-tip to Lawctopus for first breaking the news.

EDIT 1 December 2014: Due to an incomplete list of profiles uploaded earlier on the Rhodes class link, this story had erroneously stated that only three Indians - all women - were selected for the class of 2015. This has now been corrected.

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The names of the latest batch of five Indian Rhodes Scholars were finalised on the eve of 12 October 2009 in Mumbai. As usual, students from the law dominated the list, with Aditya Swarup of NALSAR Hyderabad and V Niranjan of NLSIU Bangalore sweeping the field.

In India, out of hundreds of applicants only a few are selected and invited for a final round of interview. The number of finalists for this year was 18.

The scholarship programme requires the applicants to meet strict eligibility criteria laid down by the Rhodes Trust, which looks for qualities of moral and intellectual strength in a candidate. Cigar, Mr President, sir?

A preliminary round of interviews is then held for successful candidates in the regional centers of Mumbai (Pune), Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. This is then followed by a final interview.

NLSIU's Niranjan says the grant of a Rhodes scholarship had been the fulfillment of a long-standing dream of his to study at Oxford.

"I hope to pursue a career in litigation in India, and an education at Oxford is quite inspiring from that perspective, given Oxford's history. The Rhodes Scholarship is something everyone dreams of and my application process was a combination of excitement and apprehension," Niranjan told Legally India by email.

He writes: "I am given to understand that there are about 600 applicants for the Rhodes from India, and about 120 from law. India has five Rhodes scholarships. I applied in July, and was informed that I'd been shortlisted for the preliminary interview to be held in Mumbai on September 5, 2009.

"That interview panel was chaired by Professor V.S. Chauhan, Secretary, Rhodes Trust India, and also had eminent Rhodes scholars like Mr Nandan Kamath and Ms Menaka Guruswamy. The days following that interview were quite trying, as I was nervously awaiting the results. I was told two weeks later that I'd made it to the final interview, which was hosted yesterday at Mumbai.

"The final interview is quite an experience. The eminence of the interview panel makes it a wonderful process to go through, and yesterday's panel was chaired by Mr. Ratan Tata, the Chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee. Other panelists included Mr. Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Nandan Kamath, Mr. Sanjeev Sanyal, Ms. Rakhi Mehra and others. A Rhodes tradition is that a dinner is hosted by the selection committee the day before the interview, and this is a great chance to meet and interact with persons as eminent and accomplished as these.

"The interview itself lasted about 20 minutes, and was a very engaging process - I was questioned on the personal statement I had written, articles I have published, my career goals, accomplishments thus far, etc. Once again, waiting for results was a nerve-wracking experience, but this time the results were declared on the same day, which made it mercifully shorter!

"I couldn't quite believe it when my name was announced, and in truth, I still can't - I think it will take time for this to sink in but I'm more delighted than I've ever been. The Rhodes Scholarship is more than just a scholarship - it is an institution that is filled with world leaders spanning generations, and to be awarded the scholarship is both humbling and a reminder that there is so much to accomplish in one's field, which in my case is law.

"I can't find words to express my gratitude to the people who made this possible for me - first and foremost, my parents, my Professors at the National Law School, some of whom were my referees, law school alumni who wrote references for me, Mr. Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate, who gave me a chance to intern under him and wrote a reference for me, one of my schoolteachers, a couple of inspirational and wonderful seniors who have been guiding me right from when I entered law school, a few very good friends in law school and many other people.”

Have a look on the ever-helpful Wikipedia for some more background on the Rhodes scholarship.

Details of procedures in India are given on the web site of Rhodes Scholarships India.
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