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Rhodes 2017: Nagpur U, Trilegal’s Rahul Bajaj, who was born blind • First GNLUite Sameer Rashid Bhat

Rahul Bajaj, lawyer who was born blind, wins Rhodes alongside GNLUite
Rahul Bajaj, lawyer who was born blind, wins Rhodes alongside GNLUite

Nagpur University graduate Rahul Bajaj and GNLU Gandhingar's Sameer Rashid Bhat have passed the Rhodes Trust's rigorous interviews to earn a fully-paid for place to continue their studies of law at Oxford University.

Bajaj, who was born blind due to a “rare retinal condition called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis” according to an interview on Superlawyer, is a law graduate of Nagpur University who is currently an associate at Trilegal, working in its regulatory team.

He was selected as a SpicyIP fellow in 2016, and completed an online course in copyright law from Harvard Law School.

Earlier this year, he had interviewed blind senior advocate SK Rungta for Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) about the challenges and successes of being a lawyer with disabilities.

GNLU too celebrated its first Rhodes scholar in Sameer Rashid Bhat, who is due to graduate in 2018, according to several Facebook posts (see below).

Bhat hails from Srinagar and has interned at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Fox Mandal, senior advocate Indu Malhotra, Vodafone India, the Institute of Social Sciences in Delhi, and the high court of Jammu and Kashmir.

Update 13:36: According to Rising Kashmir, he is the first student from the Kashmir valley to have won the Rhodes, and that he was offered a job at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. He told the paper:

“This achievement is not my achievement alone. Everyone that I have interacted with has contributed to this.

“The list of people that I have to thank is endless. I'm highly indebted to my professors at GNLU, teachers at IMI and Modern Public School and the staff at each of these institutions.

“One person who has inspired me the most is my batchmate at GNLU, Gayathree Devi. I've learnt a lot from her and this one goes to her.

“This wouldn't have been possible without the support of my family, friends and a whole lot of well wishers.”

He plans to study Comparative Human Rights Law, Criminal Justice, Security and Constitutional Theory in the BCL programme at Oxford.

Last year the Rhodeses went to NLSIU Bangalore's Vanshaj Jain, Nuals Kochi's Mary Kavita Dominic and NUJS Kolkata's Gauri Pillai. Read our full interviews with them from last year about the secret Rhodes sauce.

In 2015, CLC Delhi University's Bahuli Sharma and NLU Delhi's Rishika Sahgal had won the Rhodes.

But, until fairly recently, the Rhodes list of lawyers from India had almost exclusively been dominated by graduates from NLSIU, Nalsar and NUJS.

We are reaching out to all scholars for comment and are looking to confirm if any other lawyers have also won the Rhodes this year, and will update the article as and when.

GNLU's Sameer Rashid Bhat in 2017 batch of Rhodesians
GNLU's Sameer Rashid Bhat in 2017 batch of Rhodesians

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