Internship @ People’s Union for Civil Liberties PUCL, Jaipur: Lots of Work, Valuable Life Lessons, Delayed Certificates

Name of Organisation, Location, Team Strength

PUCL, Jaipur, 3-5 managers of the Jaipur branch of PUCL

Application Process

So after a lot of enthusiastic yet naive 1st year research I landed myself an internship at the Jaipur branch of PUCL. Offices of PUCL are located in almost all cities of India, but I specially opted for Jaipur because of the head of the Jaipur office and PUCL National General Secretary- Ms Kavita Shrivastava.

I had often seen her interviews on news channels and she came out to be a very bold, strong and learned individual to me. I was lured to PUCL due to her presence there.

I found her Email ID on the internet and sent her a mail showing willingness to intern under her at PUCL. Three of us from my college applied at the same time and all three received an acceptance mail from her within two weeks. In between, we did send her a gentle remainder.

Duration of internship and timings

All three of us had asked to intern there for 6 weeks, 15th Dec to 30th Jan. We were required to work 6 days a week obligatorily and the 7th day too, if some work needed immediate attention.

Timings were flexible. Initially we worked from 10 am-6 pm. It slowly swept to 8 pm and then there were times we were working 10 pm-2 am, additionally! But trust me, we NEVER complained. The work we were given was very interesting and never monotonous.

First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure

We three walked our way to the office from our PG, looking out for a building which would have a big entrance gate that read “PUCL”. To our utter surprise the address landed us to a small bungalow.

Okay, we thought we get the feel of it being an NGO now. But more was to come. We later realized that not the entire small bungalow was our office.

The smaller lower part of the bungalow was where Kavita Ma’am lived and the smallest room of her house was our workstation. Though, I must mention here she allowed us to freely use her entire house, her bedroom, her kitchen and her washroom- for whatever purpose we needed it.

If this was something less to be able to endure in one morning, we were introduced to other 40 interns who’d be working with us! Yes, that small a room, FORTY other interns, you heard me right. But you know what?

We still never complained, because Kavita ma’am was amazing! She had her own airs on the first day but if you’re friendly, regular, enthusiastic and dedicated towards your work, she could be your best friend.

Main tasks

Each intern was to work on a different task taken up by PUCL then.

Our tasks varied from collecting surveys for Aadhar card, compiling a presentation for the then Justice Verma Committee for rape laws, surveying night shelters in entire Jaipur to visiting Delhi, witnessing open ‘Kachehris’, helping helpless women and rape victims gain their position in the society to attending national seminars and meetings of National Food Organisation in Delhi.

Elaborating on some memorable work experiences, we were required to travel to small villages of Rajasthan, near Udaipur to conduct a survey regarding Aadhar card functioning.

We lived amongst those villagers, in their houses, eating their staple food for about 4-5 days. I fail to find words to describe that experience!

The villages were located on hills and to travel from one house to another we had to cross a hill, literally! We later went to Delhi to present our survey to a national commission.

We also helped a bride flee with her groom! They were from different castes and the same old story followed. Kavita ma’am’s team to the rescue, we helped the girl run away, married her off to her lover boy and helped the two elope! (Don’t judge here, under the given circumstances that was the right thing to do. We all trusted Kavita ma’am).

The number of pictures I clicked of their marriage is definitely more than what a professional photographer would have.

We roamed the streets of Jaipur after midnight, looking out for night shelters and surveying their conditions. Compiling all the surveys, we sent out a plea to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan requesting him to take necessary steps to improve their set-ups.

Work environment and people

The work environment was very healthy. We became friends with ma’am and her juniors. We felt more like a team altogether than mere supporters.

In between work, we’d cook for ourselves at her place and one person usually would make evening tea/coffee for everybody. If the work extended late into the night, she let us sleep in her house too. All too good, in short.

Best things

We participated in the ‘Morchas’ against the rapists of the Delhi gang rape case, I still feel glad to have contributed the little that I could.

While on work, we witnessed almost 6 different cities of Rajasthan and also Delhi. For a sucker for travelling nothing could have been better.

We got to attend the Jaipur Literature Fest where I met some of my favorite authors and celebrities like Shabana Azmi.

Bad things

When you’re out there heart and soul, it actually gets difficult to point out the faults. But there were some, I wouldn’t disagree.

The work-trips that we went on were all self-financed. (Understandable, we were working in a non profit organization).

One major flaw was that Ma’am did not grant me my certificate until after 1.5 years of my internship at PUCL. I literally had to beg her for it.

Stipend

No stipend

Biggest Lessons

I learnt team work, most importantly. This was indeed the first time I was living away from home in a PG, so naturally all the self-taught lessons of a hostel life were learnt, the easier way though.

Meeting the many rape victims that we did in the span of 6 weeks somehow brought about some graved feelings of humanity in me. I now knew what “being moved” meant.

You know how it is when you meet, interact and work with somebody you’ve only seen giving interviews on news channels? Yeah. That was the feeling. I learnt some valuable life lessons and personality traits from Kavita ma’am.

Any Other Thing

This was one heck of an internship. We made some life long friends, had the time of our lives and grew altogether.

The website is here.

lexisnexis lawctopus collaborationThe entry was a part of the Summer Internship Experience Writing Competition organized by LexisNexis and Lawctopus. MyLaw.net was the learning partner for the competition.

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