Learning At Law School – Of High Tables And Floors

first_imgColumnsLearning At Law School – Of High Tables And Floors Abhishek Asha Kumar10 May 2020 4:04 AMShare This – xWhen I was a child, my neighbour used to feed my brother and me whenever my parents went to the village. She would invite me home for food. I would sit on the floor; her entire family would sit at the table.Bahujan scholar and poet Omprakash Valmiki described in his biography, his father’s insistence on him pursuing a higher education, despite knowing fully well of the discrimination that his…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginWhen I was a child, my neighbour used to feed my brother and me whenever my parents went to the village. She would invite me home for food. I would sit on the floor; her entire family would sit at the table.Bahujan scholar and poet Omprakash Valmiki described in his biography, his father’s insistence on him pursuing a higher education, despite knowing fully well of the discrimination that his son would inevitably face. A child who had already faced such discrimination from primary school, was hence burdened with the expectation of a higher education, with the belief that it was the only route to ridding himself of caste.I am a Chamaar. This is not an identity that I have ever shied away from. While some of you would expect me to identify as a ‘human’ first, I want to assure you that the society at large has made sure that I don’t forget which caste I belong to. In my time at Law School, as I have gone from identifying as a Chamaar to identifying as a Dalit-Bahujan, I have always embraced the one part of my identity meant to keep me down. As I write today, however, I offer a small glimpse into a journey, familiar to some and incomprehensibly unfamiliar to others.Much like Omprakash Valmiki, my parents too, harboured dreams of escaping caste. Escaping, however, comes at a price. The price of an education, was sacrificing a house. To send your son to the best possible school, you had to sacrifice the down payment that you could have made on a home. With each tier of education coming at a greater cost, the sacrifices would mount and my parents would make them; because at the heart of hearts they shared the same vision of Dr BR Ambedkar and Omprakash Valmiki. They (and I) genuinely believe that a higher education is the only avenue for one to rid themselves of caste.I joined Law School in 2015 but my journey began 2 years prior, when I prepared and wrote the CLAT in 2014. Back then, I had gotten a score which would have seen me enter RMLNLU. Determined to improve and make it to the best possible Law School, I rewrote in 2015 and sat stunned as I checked my results at 2AM in the morning. I had secured an AIR of 333. I was dejected. I really thought I could have done better.In the morning I rang up one of my closest teachers who had helped me with my preparation and informed him that I had gotten an AIR of 333. Being the supportive man that he is, he was delighted. He congratulated me on my effort and told me it was a result of my hard work. Almost as an afterthought, I informed him of my AIR SC Rank 2. He was ecstatic. He yelled in joy and said my entry into NLS was certain. Here is when I was caught in my first dilemma. I expressed to him my doubts about joining a college based on my SC Rank and instead simply accepting a college as per my General ranking. The words he said then fuel me to this day. He said “If you don’t go, the seat will be offered to a child who might not be able to bear that pressure and drop out. Remember, you don’t go there for yourself, you go there for your people; as a guiding light for those students who can look up to you and follow you in the same footsteps.”Truth be told, these footsteps haven’t been easy. Each step through Law School has thrown up challenges reminiscent of the inequities that exist outside. But after an unlucky streak of two year losses, it is these words which prevent me from dropping out like so many other Dalit-Bahujans, and kindle my hope of graduating from this institution with all the knowledge that I came to gather.The pursuit of knowledge here, however, seems particularly strange through the lens of a Dalit-Bahujan man. On a campus that boasts equality campaigners in all corners of its settlement, I continue to witness, with each new batch of students, similar incidents of caste-based slurs, “debates” on why “economic reservations are the solution” (this from those joining our LLM and MPP programs) and a culture of discrimination that only serves to remind individuals of their place in the socio-economic hierarchy.When Valmiki’s father insisted on his pursuit of higher education, the forms of discrimination that he feared may have been different. But in the second decade of the 21st century one can be certain that the perpetrators, then and now, draw from the very same well. Incidents of discrimination, against an individual, only hasten the collective reliving of a community’s historical inferiority complex – of not speaking good enough English, of not being able to understand complex concepts in one go, of not “fitting in” to elite cliques, of not knowing how to compile presentable projects, of not clearing exams.In the initial days of college, a group of students sitting in their hostel rooms were discussing the marks of the first test of Legal Methods. In the course of the conversation one of my batch mates very casually remarked “Yaar, yeh SC kaise aajate hain iss college mein?” (“Dude, how do these SCs come into this college?”). One hopes that the men present have changed their views over the years, however, the impact that one such statement has on its listeners can persist for years. After all, we were all just first years who wanted to hang out, but from that moment on we would always be reminded that in their eyes our existence would simply never measure up. One day you are a proud member of India’s premier law school, and the other you are just another Dalit who got in through reservation.The way higher education is portrayed as a route to salvation, one often forgets that those they meet on this journey are a product of the same patriarchal, brahmanical caste-based society that exists outside. For all those who forget, however, incidents like these serve as a reminder.When I came here, education was my primary aim. I started to participate in practice debates because I wanted to speak in English and make sense at the same time. I wanted to participate in class so I tried to contribute. Prof. Elizabeth (aka Lizzie) encouraged everyone to engage and debate in class. Even though the first 3 weeks of History were Latin to me, I started to relate heavily to the lecture on “Society and the Individual” from the “What is History” component. It was here when I first tried to speak in class a few times while seated at the back of the side rows, all the while anxious of being made fun of. Over time, I slowly gained in confidence and my engagement in class increased, till one fine day, I got stuck trying to formulate a sentence and a batchmate of mine looked at me and smirked. That was it. All that effort into building myself up, deflated. The said person later joined the Law and Society Committee. Little did I know that in my second year, I would face the same kind of deflation, only this time it would be at the hands of a Professor, who would use his privileged position, to mock me for the class’s entertainment.Trust me. It breaks you. Being made fun of for struggling with a language you weren’t exposed to because your parents only spoke to you in either Bhojpuri or Hindi. It cuts at your self-esteem and stabs at your confidence. It effectively kills your sense of curiosity and robs you of your ability to participate. And yet. And yet, it doesn’t break you like you may think it does. It may break your heart, but it does not break your spine. One keeps marching forward towards that goal that is graduation, because one does not walk this path for the benefit of caste perpetrators but towards their direct detriment. Once again, one hopes these people have changed, but the fact that the said Professor continues his antics, doesn’t leave me feeling very optimistic. The certainty with which people say “Arey, people develop sense while they stay here” can only emerge from those unaware or intentionally blind to how deeply ingrained this mentality is in our institutions.Academic achievers, and discourse creators keep discussing how caste-based discrimination has either vanished or radically reduced with the onset of education. As someone who studies at the premier centre for legal instruction in the country, I would like to categorically disagree. Caste discrimination has merely evolved into discrimination by other means. Language, clothing, taste in music or your consumption of pop culture, each act as a proxy for your socio-economic location. While the cliques that form around these may seem banal, they represent a much deeper divide.When you enter they ask you your rank, and then look at you with pity. When you speak English they mock and they jeer. Little do they know that their “merit” is bought by money and their rank by a historic access to resources. Their spoken English reeks of condescension and their debates uplift none. Their pretence of inclusivity dies when they shoot down someone for speaking Hindi, and again, when their moot courts “groom” and “polish” the pre-polished selected for “grooming” and “polishing”.The table from my childhood seems to have persisted to my present.Distant. Intimidating. Unattainable.The only difference is,When I was a child, I ate on the floor.I will sit on the floor no longer.The author Abhishek Asha Kumar is a Student from Batch of 2020, NLSIU) It is first published in The Quirk which is the student-run magazine of the National Law School of India University, which serves as a chronicler of law school experiences and provides a platform to push the boundaries of discourse at NLS and the wider world around) The Cover Picture is also taken from The QuirkYou can read the original piece hereViews Are Personal Only  Next Storylast_img read more

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COA: Insurance Policy Terms Mean Suspended Driver Still Covered

first_imgKatie Stancombe for www.theindianawyer.comA man whose driver’s license was suspended after crashing into a home will still receive coverage now that the Indiana Court of Appeals determined his insurer’s policy did not specifically say he could be denied coverage under its entitlement exclusion.While driving his vehicle on a suspended driver’s license in August 2015, John Weaver somehow lost control and drove straight into the home of Sunday and Bryan Vanzile. The crash caused both bodily injury and property damage, and Weaver’s Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company policy stated that he would be covered for both.When the Vanziles sued Weaver for damages, Indiana Farmers filed for declaratory judgment, contending that the policy did not provide Weaver with coverage for the accident because his license was suspended at the time of the crash. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, joined by the Vanziles, then moved for summary judgment and Indiana Farmer’s responded likewise. However, a trial court granted judgment in favor of State Farm and the Vanzile.Indiana Farmers argued to an appellate panel that Weaver was using his vehicle without a reasonable belief that he was entitled to do so because of his suspended license, which resulted in him being excluded from coverage pursuant to the entitlement exclusion of the insurance policy.Noting that it had not yet seen a case in which entitlement exclusions pertained to the policy holder’s use of his own vehicle, the appellate court found that the policy’s term “using” was ambiguous and could therefore not be considered synonymous with the term “operating.”“While ‘operating’ is one way of ‘using’ a vehicle, it is not the only way,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the court. “A person could use a vehicle for storage, to salvage spare parts from, or to display at a classic car show, none of which would require the person to operate the vehicle.“Moreover, reasonable minds may differ as to whether ‘using’ one’s own vehicle under this exclusion is dictated upon one’s driver’s license status. Indiana Farmers could have drafted a provision that specifically excluded drivers from coverage who used the vehicle without a valid driver’s license,” Bradford continued.The appellate court, therefore, found Weaver had a reasonable belief that he was entitled to use his vehicle pursuant to the language of the policy, concluding Indiana Farmer’s failure to add clarifying language to the policy was its own fault. Judge Elaine Brown concurred with the majority in a separate opinion, noting that Indiana Farmer’s could have drafted its policy in a way that clearly defined and used “legally using.”FOOTNOTE: The case is Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company v. John Weaver, Sunday Vanzile, Bryan Vanzile, and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 18A-CT-2043.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Equipment round-up: new bakery kit unveiled

first_imgBrook Food reaffirms deal with Hobart Source: Sparc SystemsSparc Systems unveils Hestia Dough CheckweigherSparc Systems is rolling out the Hestia Dough Checkweigher which it said can weigh dough for loaves, buns and baps with an accuracy of 0.5g.Designed for industrial bakers, the kit can inspect up to 12,000 pieces of dough per hour. Connected to an automated upstream dough dividing line, if a piece of dough is under or overweight by as little as 0.5g, the checkweigher automatically rejects it. Simultaneously, the machine’s fibre optic controlled software communicates back to the dough divider in real time to adjust the position of the blade for the next batch. Typically inspecting 400g and 800g portions, Sparc engineers can pre-programme up to 500 different product codes, ranging from 150g to six kilograms.Processing variables also need to be factored in, according to Sparc Systems European sales manager Charlie Graham: “Changes within the dough itself places even greater importance on consistent weight monitoring before proving so we don’t bake anything that’s out of tolerance. Leaving until the final stage of the process could result in an entire batch being over or underweight. Costing a bakery over four hours of lost production time and thousands of wasted product.”Data gathered by the Hestia management control system can help bakeries track uptime and address line inefficiencies. Using the swipe touchscreen, baking operatives can select the statistical parameters most relevant to their operation.Graham estimates that an industrial bakery plant producing 7,000 loaves or more an hour could save up to £1,000 a day by switching from manual processing to automated weighing. Source: Grote CompanyGrote Company releases new slicerIndustrial food slicing and assembly equipment manufacturer Grote Company has released a new version of its slicer/applicator.The updated machine can be used for a range of bakery applications, including slicing bread for snacks – turning baguettes into crostini, for example – sandwich fillings and pizza toppings.It has an updated sanitary design with an open channel frame for easy access and fast cleaning, Grote said, as well as an easier and repeatable set up with an updated blade guide mounting system. The AccuBand Blade System has also been completely redesigned to improve blade life.It can slice and apply with up to 150 strokes per minute, per lane and stack up to 120 strokes per minute, per lane.“The slicer/applicator has been the premier slice-and-apply machine in the food processing industry for over 30 years, and we are proud to continue its tradition with this new, superior design,” said CEO Bob Grote. “We optimised and improved several components of the slicer, all to increase performance and sanitation while decreasing downtime and total cost of ownership.”Based in Ohio in the US, Grote Company also has an international office in Flintshire, Wales. A dough checkweigher, slicer and applicator, and sheet cake icing line are among the latest pieces of equipment to be unveiled for the baking industry.In addition, Brook Food has extended its preferred UK supplier relationship with equipment manufacturer Hobart.Here’s the latest updates from the equipment scene: Source: UnifillerUnifiller introduces sheet cake icing lineCake production equipment specialist Unifiller Systems has introduced a new addition to its portfolio – the Sheet Cake Icing Line.The line is designed to help industrial bakeries looking to automate the assembly, filling and icing process for sheet cakes. The all-in-one decorating line was designed and built with speed, accuracy and efficiency in mind, said Unifiller, to help bakery manufacturers streamline their labour.Its computer-controlled system can store up to 100 recipes and custom production speeds, icing up to 10 sheet cakes a minute. For base, top, and side icing, its servo depositors provide spread control and reduce the need for manual touch-ups. Additional modules can be added to this base line for customized needs including the cake stacker, cake slicer, bordering line, and more.“Labour-related issues can be one of the biggest challenges for industrial bakeries. Customers looking to increase throughput rely on the typical fix, which is to add labour. This will result in more hands touching the product, greater inconsistencies with the end product, and people working within closer proximity to one another,” said Steven Belyea, applications manager at Unifiller.“Customers who have installed our Sheet Cake Icing Line have been able to reduce a large portion of their labour or repurpose it to other areas of the plant while simultaneously increasing the quality of their product and overall throughput.”center_img La Cimbali unveils automatic coffee maker for small bakeriesCoffee machine specialist La Cimbali has unveiled a compact entry-level hot beverage machine. Source: Hobart/Brook FoodBrook Food Processing Equipment has announced that it has renewed its deal with Hobart to remain the equipment manufacturer’s preferred UK bakery supplier.Brook Food supplies a range of Hobart equipment, notably a range of planetary mixers. Suitable for dough, pastry, fillings, batters, creams and more, the mixers use a rotating tool and fixed position bowl. The Hobart models available range from five to 140 litres and all models are supplied with a stainless-steel bowl as well as three interchangeable tools.As a result, the Somerset-based firm said it is able to offer ‘huge discounts’ on Hobart models to UK customers, with direct finance available on all models. Source: La CimbaliCalled the S15, part of the S Series, the fully automatic machine can produce up to 150 beverages a day via a barista assisted or self-serve mode. It is ideal for locations where space may be at a premium, the company said highlighting craft bakeries as one example.With hot textured milk technology and a split in two powder hopper, the S15 allows operators to offer a menu with up to 96 different recipes based on fresh coffee beans, fresh or powdered milk and soluble chocolate. Recipes can be switched up through the seasons and specials can be added.“The S15 offers real benefits as it allows small businesses to compete with the high street by offering a great range of premium quality drinks, prepared to a professional barista standard, even if the daily coffee volumes are quite low,” said La Cimbali managing director Daniel Clarke.“Clearly, hygiene is a key priority, so we are encouraging operators to invest in our free to use Cup4You technology as this allows the user to browse the menu and order favourite beverages directly from a smartphone or tablet.”last_img read more

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Clean Power Plan promises health benefits

first_img Read Full Story The health benefits federal officials predict would result from implementing President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan —which calls for reducing carbon emissions from power plants by nearly one-third of the 2005 level by 2030 —are realistic, according to Jonathan Buonocore, research associate, Center For Health and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and co-author of a study in the May 2015 issue of Nature Climate Change.In a Modern Healthcare article on August 4, 2015, Buonocore said the standards could boost health by slowing climate change, and thereby reduce the number of extreme storms like hurricanes and heat waves, which can lead to water and food shortages and deaths. Also, by boosting air quality, known as a “co-benefit,” there would be fewer premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma, and stroke.“The nice thing about these co-benefits is you get them immediately,” Buonocore said in the article.The plan, if adopted, promises to help reduce other climate-related public health issues, such as higher ozone levels, which can worsen respiratory problems like asthma, he told Wired in an August 4, 2015 article. “Ozone is usually a problem in the summer,” Buonocore said. “With climate change you’re basically extending the ozone season.”Federal officials say the Clean Power Plan by 2030 would prevent 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children, 1,700 heart attacks, and 300,000 missed days of school and work.last_img read more

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Inspiration for ‘Freedom Writers’ speaks at College

first_imgErin Gruwell, author of “The Freedom Writers Diary” and founder of the Freedom Writers Foundation, spoke on encouraging diversity and understanding in a lecture titled “Teaching Tolerance” in Moreau Hall’s Little Theater on Friday. Penn High School sophomore Katie Laiman approached Saint Mary’s with the idea to invite Gruwell to speak as a part of Girls Scout Gold Award project. “I think this talk was really impactful, and I hope everyone that was here takes a lot from it,” Laiman said. Gruwell said she became a teacher because she wanted to stand up for kids who did not have a voice. “Before there was a book, before there was a movie, there was a group of students who were tired of being invisible, tired of being on the fringe and just wanted to matter, just wanted to be heard,” she said. Gruwell said when she was in graduate education classes she noticed a disconnection between theory and practice. “I realized this when I walked into my first classroom and my students could care not less about stories, and books, and Shakespeare and tales about Homer,” she said. “My students cared about would I make it home alive, am I gonna get home and see my hardworking mom with those cockroaches and those rats in that tiny one bedroom housing project, and will there be dinner, would their be food on the table, are those cupboards going to be bare again.” Gruwell said all of her students buried friends due to senseless gang violence by the age of 14, and it made her desperate to show them stories written about teenagers such as Anne Frank. “At that moment I wanted to find books written by, for and about kids,” she said. “Kids who lived in real wars, kids who didn’t pick up Molotov cocktails or spray cans or use 38 special handguns, kids who picked up a pen and tried to write along, kids who picked up a pen and tried to write their own ending.” Gruwell said she went to her English department chair to ask if she could use these books but was turned down. “She said my kids were too stupid to read a book, and they would never read a book from cover to cover,” Gruwell said. “She went on to say they were dumb; she went on to say they were nothing. I realized my kids have been called dumb, stupid and nothing so often by so many people they believed it, and they were acting accordingly.” Gruwell said in order to convince her students to pick up a book instead of using cliff notes or downloading someone else’s essay off the Internet, she had them wipe the slate clean and start over. “Without really thinking it through, I decided we were going to have a toast for change,” she said. “Maybe for the first time it doesn’t matter, maybe we can wipe the slate clean, maybe we can start over. I wanted to start over because I wanted my students to know they had a voice. I wanted them to know they were brilliant and they could go anywhere and do anything.” Gruwell said over the years she has watched these 150 kids, who were not supposed to make it, become teachers, parents and leaders. “I watched each and every one of those kids become the first in their families to graduate,” she said. “I watched each and every one of those kids become the first in their family to go to college. … I watched those kids realize their dreams.” Gruwell said she has watched kids build mountains and has seen their book inspire others. “I am an ordinary teacher who had an extraordinary experience with a group of kids who were tired of reading books written by dead white guys in tights,” she said. “They wanted kids like you to see their story, they wanted kids like you to identify with their story, but most importantly, they wanted kids like you to write your own.” The lecture was cosponsored by the Saint Mary’s Education Club, CWIL, OCSE, SIMS, Student Government Association and Girls Scouts of Northern Indiana Michiania. Contact Kiera Johnsen at [email protected]last_img read more

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