Campus Manager Ankitha Praveen interviewed her professor DR .N.S.Soman, Director of School of Legal Studies, CUSAT also Senior Faculty in the field of Human Rights.
Read on for an insightful interview
1. Hello Sir, tell me something about yourself.
I was born and brought up in a village, fondly treated by grandparents and enjoyed befriending with my peer group.
I developed the habit of reading books which gradually equipped me with great store of information.
I realized gradually that the amount of things which I learned is special. This specialty was identified by my teacher and he gave me the awareness that I have some unique things.
Closely watched and supervised by my teacher I gradually equipped myself as a teacher and researcher.
2. Describe your childhood in brief?
In one level mye grand-parents reposed much expectation in my development in higher education and showed great concern in making arrangements to see that I was guided in the right path.
Knowing this special desire of my grandfather my head master used to remind me to fulfill his expectation. The head master was a constant inspiration which kindled the desire in me to excel in education.
Even today I cherish this memory and remember the great head master with love and gratitude.
3. What made you choose this career line? Any particular people who inspired you to enter the revered teaching profession?
All events in my life were accidental and flowed as it happened. It never flowed as I desired!
I was always been fascinated to learn medicine especially Ayurveda which never happened in my life.
I was much interested in acting and studying drama which father discouraged.
After graduation desired to pursue MSc but failed to get an admission.
After that two options were available, Law and social work. It was the advice of one of my elder friend and local communist leader that I decided to go for law.
After law I joined the bar and started my practice in a muffasile court. Disillusioned by experiences of three years I joined a PG course and continued research thereafter and took up teaching as a profession. All these were accidental.
In teaching and research I have great academicians as my role models. In fact they influenced me to a great extent during PG as well as research and continue to be mentors till this date.
4. How was your college life like? What bent you towards law?
Every moment was cherishable in my life when I was in college. It was actually a pro-academic atmosphere.
There was lot of compulsion from every teacher in academics, attending the classes etc.
What lead me into the field of law was my interested in political and social aspects.
Maybe because of the interests in political and social science, I was lead into the field of law which has got an interrelation with the society. And it was purely accidental for me to join law.
And, most importantly, there was an immense presence of Prof. Chandrashekarai Pillai, from whom I got inspired. I gradually acquired the confidence in law, and to continue it in my future life.
5. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What incidents do you perceive as your failures?
My wide reading is my biggest strength. I started my reading career during my 9th standard onwards in different fields such as medical, social, dramas, arts etc.
One of my determinations is to acquire and equip my knowledge base.
May be my first two classes was not understood by students. Sometimes I think that I should be more simple in lecturing. That was the weakest part that I had observed in my life.
6. What strategies did you use to be successful in college?
I don’t know whether I was successful in college. But a few things helped me a lot. The foremost thing which quite helped me is through my reading habit.
Basically I had done my essential readings without any compromise and slowly developed the habit of wider reading spreading over my disciplines.
In addition to this, my interest towards teaching also started with this growing career.
7. What do you like best about teaching at CUSAT?
SLS, CUSAT provides the best teaching resources and it brings out the best students with the greatest sincere efforts. Good academic atmosphere was created by my predecessors, which made serious study possible.
At CUSAT, it is through self learning that the students acquire knowledge and teacher is a facilitator who motivates the students and helps them to understand better.
8. What is the best thing about being a Professor? And what’s the worst?
The best thing is about great challenges in equipping oneself with the important changes that takes place in the field of law.
Cutting across the subject and learning the law is one of the best methods. By giving off the hints, guidance, by improving the skills to the students to think critically and to evaluate their understanding in the light of theories.
The worst thing is that how much students understand the teacher, for e.g.; the potentiality of the teacher, disinterested group of students with short term agendas.
9. Describe your teaching style. Define a good teaching.
My style of teaching is Socratean.
To equip the students with questions, think and critically approach any issue. By giving them opportunities in the way of presentations, conducting seminars etc. will motivate them and build up their self confidence.
A best teacher is one who must know the subject in depth and who can ensure that a student, who walks out of his college life, is so well acquired that he need not open his books on that topic any more.
10. What are your current research interests? Have you involved your students in your research?
My main research is on public law which involves human rights, jurisprudence, and constitution. And my interests are basically professionally in teaching than being a lawyer.
My main aim is to give guidance for the students in their research. Basically I involve in the student ins research rather than to get involved into my research.
So that both the students as well as teachers get involved into the depth of subject.
11. How do you like today’s students? How were the students in your time? What’s the difference?
The students during my time got involved in various activities other than the academics.
Those students at that time had the enthusiasm to “do the work”, such as in the field of academics to do work in the library for 5-6 hours by researching the academic journals , articles, case laws etc.
Those students were purely involved into academics.
But today’s present generation is not showing the willingness to take pain in acquiring knowledge. Reading habit is decreasing. Modern electronic gadgets make them lazy.
12. Do you think students should behave the professors like friends, or is it necessary to maintain a disciplined environment to create a good classroom environment?
In my opinion the class should maintain a disciplined environment. The teachers and students should maintain a friendship atmosphere.
He must share his experiences with the students to tell him where he has gone wrong. He must be there to guide the student at every moment.
The teacher and a student should maintain a healthy friendship atmosphere and not to make them any slaves. And I try my best in inculcating the confidence among the students as a teacher.