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It’s been three years since I have reached this law school. And from the very first day, our seniors used to eulogize about that world of journals, research papers and the prospective career that it could offer in the future. On those days, if researchers/scholars were Gods, plagiarism was held to be one of the Plagues that God sent to Egypt to rescue the Israelites. I was also under the same impression. Two months passed by, and the reality of law school surfaced. I did my work as diligently as possible by adhering to all the ‘Gods’ commandments and avoiding any chances of ‘Plague’ from ruining my health. Nevertheless, the dedication was not reciprocated back. On the days of Vivas, teachers scorned at my research and marked my work down. But, that plague inflicted Egyptians walked away with all the medals and awards.

Second Semester. I thought to rectify whatever-so-called mistakes I might have done in my research. The oil in the lamp burnt relentlessly every night. More ‘Gods’ were consulted for the successful end-product. But again, when it came to evaluation, the plague-inflicted Egyptians won the laurels and walked away. Surprisingly, the reason for the Old Testament to be so reversed here was that the plague-inflicted Egyptians were able to come with the maximum number of pages; and most attractive formatting. I was thoroughly disappointed. I stopped buying any more oil for my lamp. I stopped consulting Gods. I decided to become the plague-inflicted Egyptians. I can’t be that God’s own Israelite but suffering in a desert. And this changed things.

Third Semester Onwards. I was now the head of all the plague-inflicted Egyptians. We didn’t waste our energy for the teachers who never bothered to read even the first line of projects. We got ourselves inflicted with plague and soon, we became the plague in the University for our juniors. Projects were done in four hours and teachers were giving us the standing ovation for our grand performance in Vivas. Turnitin’s couldn’t spot us because we masked our plague very well with citations. Each line was cited and teachers were much more impressed at the number of citations.

If you would have asked Marx, he would have said this as the reflection of the Proletariat – Bourgeoisies conflicts. The plague as the end-result of the commodification and the resultant alienation from the Knowledge that the capitalists provide in these institutions. Maybe, Karl Marx is right. We all carry an absent – minded obedience and indifference to this system. The first stages towards revolution, probably.

But, where were we heading in the end? Are we rendered creative-less in the process? Not Entirely. Even in the midst of all these so-called-capitalism. We are a generation who loves superheroes and gods. We are taught from our childhood to hunt for footnotes and reference rather than becoming an Individual on our own. We create from whatever footnote was left behind by others. We scratch our heads to come up with a publication or a footnote of our own when there are thousands of footnotes that have already took the place. The competition is severe outside for a citation.

Then again, in this competitive world, there are people like me who have cheated all plagiarism softwares and get infected with Plague. There are others who go beyond all ideas existing to frame their research for their resume. But, in the process, we are losing that generation of Karl Marx and Lincoln who made themselves a citation for the entire world. Their theories were not a plagiarized one nor were they having 100 citations to prove their sources. It was raw ideas that moved the world. Today, our world is suffering from a crunch of such ideas. We are in a struggle to explain our identity. So is our research papers. Our institutions and its culture have become what Marx stated to be – bourgeois-dominated. Knowledge is commodified day-by-day. It is not the end but a means for a job.

In this rat race, technology was busy arming both the sides. Plagiarism softwares became the swords to hunt down all the cheaters. Nevertheless, I had my paraphrasing softwares and footnotes as the gun. In the break times, I reminisce about what I wanted to become. My dreams when I was in the first year of law school. Before, the Egypt-Israel saga kicked off.

I wanted to be a scholar in law. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to shut myself down in a room and write about the world that my ideas created. Somehow, all these dreams were shut down in this war of Plague, Gods, Exams, Marks, Vivas and so on.

I calm myself down by thinking about the days after graduation. Maybe then, I would be able to detach myself from the world after the working hours and allow me to create my own thesis without being afraid of vivas or plague infections or the number of citations. Where it’s going to be my ideas and my thoughts. No footnote attached.

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