Volunteering Experience @ People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jaipur: Found Myself Very Close to the Reality

Volunteer Details

Mohneesh Rai, Student 2nd Year, BA.LLB. (Hons.), NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, Telangana

My Experience

Having interned once at PUCL Jaipur during my winter vacations in 2015, I had a fair amount of idea as to how the interns work in the organisation and the various nuances involved in creating an effective work relationship.

In fact, during my first internship, the work done at PUCL and the working environment provided there had such a deep and profound impact on my mind that it helped me in removing the most complex and yet the most major dichotomous dilemma that every law student faces during his/her five years at a law school, that should I go for the corporate sector or should I pursue the true meaning of providing service to the society through law?

So after working at PUCL for more than month, I found myself very close to the reality and yet very far from it in a sense that after witnessing the reality and the gross injustice that is being perpetrated in the society, a surge of anger and furor rose in me, but not being able to do the sufficient for those who were suffering created a deep, rising frustration which eventually led me to question the entire system and the way in which we are living our lives- following a routine reeked with selfishness, ignorance and being so deeply indulged in fulfilling our self’s objectives that we do not give a dime’s value to someone else’s life which is being trampled and tossed like garbage, right in front of our eyes.

Each one of us is so hypocritical, on one hand all of us sympathize with those who are being oppressed yet on the other hand, not one of us is willing to offer a hand to pull them out of this well of justice, misery and utter violation of all their human rights.

So when I returned back to PUCL Jaipur, this time as a volunteer rather than as an intern, during my summer vacations in 2016, I had three things in mind- to broaden my perspective, to further strengthen my base in the field of human rights and civil liberties and to provide as much involvement, energy, enthusiasm and willingness that I can.

Working as a volunteer is a bit different as when you are a volunteer at PUCL, you do not have the exact procedural rules that all interns have to follow. In this regard, it can be said that a volunteer is provided with more freedom and space to think independently and contribute to the organisation with innovative ideas and plans, whenever and wherever possible.

As a volunteer, I was also given the responsibility of maintaining the smooth functioning of the internship program, which included the management of all the interns and assisting Ms. Kavita Srivastava, President, PUCL Rajasthan in handling out various tasks to the interns and coordinating them for various day to day activities and sessions.

My involvement as a volunteer and internship programme coordinator also helped me learn about the various organisational skills that are needed to make sure that the organisation works efficiently and smoothly.

Speaking a bit about PUCL and its work areas, well the name may suggest that it works for human rights and civil liberties, but in reality, there is no major area or sphere of violation in the society that has not witnessed an intervention by PUCL, which is an extremely vital and beneficial aspect for any volunteer or intern as it helps them in choosing among a variety of target points and then fully engrossing oneself and all their resources in one particular target point if they want to.

So even this time working at PUCL, I had the fortune to witness a host of diverse events like Human Rights training, conducting a PDS survey, listening to various scholars and experienced activists from different fields of the social service sector, attending conferences, seminars, sessions, documentary screenings, court visits, field trips, preparing case notes and reports for various individual cases, becoming a part of the protest to bring an accountability law, and various other activities.

All this diversity is what makes PUCL stand out from other non- governmental organisations and institutions because you get to learn various things under one roof and in such a short period of time. Also, the way PUCL involves itself with the people who are suffering injustice, be it at the hands of the State or any other individual or groups, is tremendous in a way that it aptly performs the functions of a civil society which helps in maintain the system of checks and balances with the state.

Conclusion

In my opinion and as a concluding stance, I would only say that PUCL has shown me a side of law and its implementation in the society which paints a very horrendous and tormenting picture.

Involvement with PUCL brings us close to the actual reality, where law is being violated, working in favor of those who are dominant and influential in the society and heaving injustice on those who are weak and support less. It comes as a hard slap on the faces of all those who are in some or the other way involved in the enactment and the implementation of law and those who are preparing to enter the legal realm.

So as the guardians and for-bearers or law, and as responsible citizens of the society, it is on us make sure that law is what its meaning is and justice is what justice should be in its truest sense.

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