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IDIA diversity scheme projects 9 out of 50 students to make NLU cut, seeks support for funding

Exceeding last year’s tally by one, eight Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) scholars from non-traditional backgrounds have made it to national law universities, with one scholar making it to NLU Delhi.

IDIA founder and managing trustee Shamnad Basheer wrote in an email:

As with earlier years, our IDIA trainees whip up an impressive CLAT strike rate! Out of the 50 students that we trained this year, 8 of them made the cut in the very first CLAT list. And one more made it to the NLU Delhi, which runs its own entrance exam (AILET).

These scholars represent a wonderful diversity of talent, hailing from Pattan in Kashmir to Surpura Khurd, a village in Rajasthan to Kusalapuram, a small village down south in Andhra Pradesh. The sons and daughters of farmers and auto-rickshaw drivers! Those that braved the oddest of odds to get to where they are today. Their stories will inspire like no other!

Let me briefly profile some of them for you below (elaborate profiles of all our scholars are in the attached document, along with their ranks, categories and the law school that they gained admission to).

1. Born blind, Anoop Kumar never let his visual impairment get in the way of his dreams. Rather he made the best of his adverse circumstances, exemplifying grit and resilience of the highest order. Hailing from Gardih, a small town in Jharkhand, where his father works as a farmer, he burnt the midnight oil to train for CLAT. Little wonder then that his hard work paid off and he’s made it to NUJS Kolkata, one of the top 5 law schools in the country today.

2. Hailing from Pattan, one of Kashmir’s worst hit militant zones, Aarif Nabi never let the violence and destruction around him get to him! His hard work paid off and he made it to the prestigious NLU Delhi, one of the top 5 law schools in the country today.

3. A farmer father who earns barely Rs 5000 a month! And yet Mukesh Seju (from Surpura Khurd, a small village in Rajasthan) toiled night and day to make his dreams come true. He was our top performing trainee on CLAT and made it to the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore, the top law school in the country today.

4. A member of the oft neglected Lambadi tribe, Swarna Latha, who hails from Peddathanda village, in the Nalgonda District of Telangana had this to say about herself and her journey.

“This will seem silly I know, but my greatest inspiration is a lotus flower. A lotus starts out in really murky dirty water in terrible conditions but despite that, it grows into a beautiful flower that everyone loves and it even became the national flower of India! If a lotus can do that, so can I.” (Translated from Telugu)

Sheer poetry....tells us why this girl is an absolute gem and a different cut!

5. Meraka Mani had to bear the brunt of belonging to a not so good caste in a not so inclusive India. But despite this and her family’s trying circumstances (her father Vasudev Rao is an auto driver, earning hardly 3500 a month), this girl from Kusalapuram village, in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh went on to score one educational victory after another. The latest being her cracking of CLAT to make it to the National Law School in Vishakapatnam in the first list.

We’re certain that some more of our scholars will make the coveted CLAT lists in the days to come. So get ready for these change makers! For they have weathered the worst of storms… thanks to a burning fire in their belly. A fire that will see them brave even the most hostile of elitist laws schools. To rise to the top and take their place as the legal leaders and luminaries of tomorrow. Rendering our world more inclusive, diverse and ultimately better.

Indeed, we cannot ask for anything better than to bask in their glory. Unfortunately, they cannot realise their dreams unless we whip up the moolah. Legal education does not come cheap these days; and the best of law schools cost around 3 lakhs a year (15 lakhs for a 5 year education). Very few law schools (notably NLS, Bangalore, NLU Delhi, NUJS and Nirma) provide us fee concessions and waivers.

We have to therefore arrange a sizeable amount of money to ensure that our scholars are admitted to these law schools well in time. Any help, big or small, is greatly appreciated.

Detailed profiles of successful IDIA students have been published on IDIA’s website.

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