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“… in every hundred persons, you will find one brave man; within a thousand people, you will have one intellectual; in ten thousand persons, you will have one orator… [But] the man who gives, you won’t find him so easily.“
Justice UU Lalit of the Supreme Court was prompted to recite a Sanskrit couplet delivering this message at an event held to honour the two recipients of this year’s Prathiba M Singh Cambridge LLM Scholarship.
This year, the scholarship has been awarded to Aadya Chawla, a graduate of the National Law University (NLU) Delhi, and Nupur Mohan Raut from National Law School of India (NLSIU), Bangalore.
Lauding the efforts of Delhi High Court’s Justice Prathiba M Singh and her husband Additional Solicitor General, Maninder Singh for instituting the scholarship, Justice Lalit remarked,
“I have known Maninder and Prathiba for many years, but I was never aware of this part of their persona that they have instituted this scholarship till very recently. And what a wonderful gesture that this couple has bestowed upon the entire legal fraternity and community….
….Many of us may have actually encountered this as a thought, that we must do something for the community. I have also encountered that… But while we toy with that idea, I never went an extra mile. It’s not as if that I am unable… [But] the impetus is lacking or there is a bit of inertia.
To overcome that… to have such a brilliant thought as this, to implement that and finally to institutionalize it, that requires tremendous courage ...“
Terming the scholarship to be a fantastic achievement by any standard, Justice Lalit went on to observe that this kind of gyaan daan was the best possible gift that one can give.
“To make it possible that the entire opportunity to available to a student – to lift him or her… to elevate her to the next level where the learning will be far, far richer as an individual [and] the person …when he comes back, he will be ready to give it to the society – that is a far greater thought.“
Such cycles of gyaan daan must be continued to achieve inter-generational equity, he added.
Three parts excitement and one part envy, is how Senior Advocate Harish Salve summed up his feelings towards the wonderful journey that the scholars were about to embark on. Speaking at the event, he said,
“… what you are about to receive is not just education. What you are about to receive is an experience in learning. All professions in present times – engineering, medicine and definitely law – are professions where learning is always a work in progress.“
Given his experience working abroad, particularly at the Blackstone Chambers in London which he had joined in 2014, Salve also had some advice to offer to the scholars.
“You must learn from these great institutions, how important it is to be open to ideas. Things are not done because that’s how they have to be done. Ideas are challenged, nothing is taken for granted. Challenge your professor more than you challenge your colleagues. Bring the best out of them and help them bring the best out of you.
The second thing you have to learn, and this is very true for Indians, is relishing diversity…Learn to relish diversity. Learn to look at other cultures as a part of your larger learning of what life is all about…
The third thing you will learn is the importance of bringing a sense of passion…to the pursuit of education, the pursuit of excellence. Hard work is not enough. You will never get the best out of you unless you are passionate about what you are doing… Everybody around you in these hallowed grounds, you will find, is a person who is passionate, who is devoted and who will inspire you to give all yourself to your pursuit.
Learn from these institutions the importance of being a grounded human being.“
Salve also recounted some words of advice given by his guru and late jurist Nani Palkiwala, which he remarked had served him well to become somewhat successful in life.
“He told me, ‘Harish. Always be your own worst critic.’
If you finish an argument in the court, ask yourself, is there anybody else in the world, who could have done a better job. And if you feel, the answer to that question is yes, then you have not been good enough.
Don’t be intimidated by what others think of you. Don’t be intimidated by the academic results of those who do better than you. Ask yourself at the end of every trial, could anybody have done better than this. And if the answer is yes, you have a gap to cover. And if the answer is no, smile. That is how life should be.“
Apart from Justice Prathiba M Singh, addresses were also made by Professor Ellis Veronica Ferran (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations) and Professor PN Tandon (Professor Emeritus at AIIMS and Padma Vibhushan awardee). This year marked the fifth edition of the scholarship.
Recipient Aadya Chawla was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Gold Medal for the Best Female Student this year at NLU Delhi for her distinguished overall performance. She has represented NLU Delhi at the Willem C Vis (East) International Moot Court Competition at Hong Kong, where she was an Eighth Finalist and received an Honourable Mention for the Best Memorandum. At Cambridge, she intends to specialise in commercial law.
NLSIU’s Nupur Mohan Raut is the recipient of two University Gold Medals for obtaining the highest marks in Intellectual Property Law and Banking Laws. She has been a scholarship exchange student at the Institute of political studies at Paris, France. She has participated in various moot court competitions including the Willem C Vis (East) International Moot Court Competition at Hong Kong. Her areas of interest include Intellectual Property Law and Human Rights law, which she intends to study at Cambridge.
Some pictures from the event.