Studying at NALSAR, much like the study of law in general, teaches critical thinking, cogent argumentation, adherence and irreverence to rules when appropriate and never forgetting the context in which law functions. Be it through the relentless removal of rose-tinted glasses of naive undergraduate first years, the legal-context-sensitive management studies programme, or the individual-interest-centric post-graduate programmes, it teaches that law can be all-pervasive without being omnipotent.
This gets reflected in the way academic as well non-academic activity is handled. The mandatory is balanced with the negotiable; the rigorous with the relaxed. There is ample freedom to allow students to pursue activities that they are passionate about, and ample guidance should they feel lost. The methodical madness of academic rigour seamlessly gives way to the chaotic madness of sheer unbridled fun. The same classrooms where students sweat it out while writing exams become halls where Pop Culture quizzes are conducted and the same students test their knowledge of Harry Potter or whatever fictional universe suits their fancy. Oh, and there are also courses that allow exploration of the legal dimensions of those universes.
Most prominently, the campus brims over with students who are willing to take charge of their learning; who are determined to extract something of significance from every situation. And this is how the same pavement where people shoot the breeze or enjoy the rain while sipping tea or coffee also becomes a forum where fierce, profound and knowledgeable discussions about gender and sexuality take place. Learning happens, then, sometimes unconscious, sometimes deliberate, but always valuable and worthwhile. Even those who stand back and observe don’t remain unaffected by the experience of watching the diversity at play.
Because of its secluded location, away from the hustle of city life, one would be justified in thinking that the campus would be a desolate place. But over time, it has become a microcosm of sorts, buzzing with activity and sometimes overwhelming in its sheer vibrancy. And the focus on student welfare ensures that they have everything they need: from medical care to counselling, since both the study of law and college life in general can be an emotionally erratic experience.
Life here, then, thrums with things that can be captured in words and things that cannot. The former, will be attempted; the latter, needs to be experienced to be understood.