Name: Kushangi Sewani
College’s name: Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Year of study: II year, B.A. LL.B. (Honours)
Duration of the internship
24th May 2015 – 20th June 2015
Name of Organisation, Location, Team Strength
PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), Jaipur (Rajasthan), team strength of interns varied as everyone joined and left as per their own schedules’ convenience (from less than 25 to around 40 interns in one batch)
About the Organisation
PUCL is an NGO, a Human Rights championing body, formed in 1976 by the famous leader Jayaprakash Narayan Ji to oppose the suppression of civil and political rights during Emergency.
Currently the Organisation runs with the same name aim of voicing opinion and taking actions against the ever so rampant Human Rights violations.
For applying, I had to send my CV, college recommendation letter and statement of purpose at [email protected]
Although I don’t think a recommendation letter is needed, if you are willing to work then they won’t shirk away from giving you that opportunity.
The more, the merrier you see! Alternatively, you can also send the application on [email protected] and please send the application at least 4 weeks in advance. Most importantly, don’t forget to mention the details of when you want to join and for how many weeks.
First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure
Firstly, it was very difficult to find the office because it is in a residential area with multiple complex lanes misleading you and there was no board whatsoever signifying that this is PUCL’s office. However, the people in the area generously help you in finding the right place.
The office is actually in a two storey bungalow wherein the ground floor doubles up as PUCL’s office cum workplace and Ms. Kavita Srivastava’s residence. The front room is lined up with sofas and mattresses on the ground wherein the interns can work, chit-chat and even crash the night if Kavita ma’am so allows.
The moment I reached on my first day, Kavita ma’am scolded me for being a few minutes late and then asked me to fill out an official joining application in writing.
I was a bit taken aback by Kavita madam’s harsh words on the very first day but later on I realised that she was never wrong in scolding us.
We went there with the purpose of learning and she was only facilitating this process of learning for us, albeit in not so subtle a form I agree, but really with the amount of workload that the lady has and how callously some of the interns behave, I don’t think we can blame her.
The tasks depend on the projects that PUCL has taken up suo-moto at the time of your internship.
- We worked for a project named ‘Neev’ in association with Rajasthan Patrika (a daily newspaper) regarding ‘Shiksha ka Sawaal’ or the question of the Education of kids in government schools. Under this programme, our task was to go to the remotest of villages in the rural interiors and see the working conditions of the government schools in the area, by interacting with students, teachers and parents and analysing whether the schools matched the given parameters or not.
- Holding protests for gross human rights violations is part and parcel of PUCL and so we held protests for government inaction for Dalit killings in Dangawas, Rajasthan and taking away the lands of poor farmers without proper compensation in villages like Rathoron ki Dhani for the construction of the Ajmer-Kishangarh Airport (We did become famous in the newspapers with our pictures being printed every few days).
- Conducted a survey of the police stations and the analysed whether the operation of the Mahila Desk in police stations is efficient and effective or not.
- Indulged in fact-finding and feedback on Dalit atrocities in remote villages.
- Conducted a survey of the living conditions of the Rohingya Muslims who were settled in the suburbs of Jaipur as refugees.
Sidenote: Everything that you do requires a report, so be ready to show off those Word and Excel formatting styles and your grammar skills (Either English or Hindi).
Work environment and people
It is advised to go to PUCL for an internship only if you are willing to work dedicatedly in the most extreme conditions, be it the weather, the lack of availability of decent transportation in the remotest of the rural areas or the timings (we have worked for 15-16 hours some days, literally).
The work involves a lot of field work but I can say that the internship was an eye opener of sorts, exposing the paradox we all live in and how much wrong happens in this society.
The work is a lot and you will not receive any medals or accolades for it but it is morally very rewarding and helps you grow up as an individual.
Sitting in an AC office and working on a computer may be more comfortable and may even pay you handsomely but the kind of work environment that we had, travelling every day, exploring the interiors of the rural areas, interacting with so many people, looking for the new adventures en-route, meanwhile knowing that you are doing noble work as you help those who need it and need you is what I would call growing up and learning, all of which we did in there.
Every night we used to wait for Kavita madam’s mail, intimating us what lies ahead of us the next day.
Oh and when you travel hours with people and go to remote places with them, and they being your only known people and in some situations your safety backup (because sometimes it can be risky too), you certainly develop long term friendships along the way. I had the fortune of working with some very bright and spirited individuals from all across the country.
- One of the best things of the internship was the numerous developmental workshops that we had. We had a 3 day human rights training which included voracious discussions on the human rights issues plaguing our society and was the highlight of the internship for me. Apart from that, we had a workshop on non-violent communication, interactive sessions on self image, roles and stereotypes, gender, sociocracy and women’s rights and sexuality.
- The court visits and the police station visits.
- The morally rewarding experience of knowing that somewhere down the line, your work matters, that helping others is one of the best feelings that can ever be there, and that you can make a difference.
- Exploring newer dimensions of our own country like never before. It’s like it was always there right in front of me yet I failed to notice it. This internship helped me take cognizance of things that matter and made me a tad bit more fearless, for which I will be eternally grateful.
- The Tete-a-tete with Kavita ma’am on my final day, it was just something very personal and heartfelt.
- The weather of Rajasthan. You will understand this when you travel and work outdoors in the worst possible transportation available in 45 degree Celsius, but I guess this is where we learn to be strong in whatever scenarios life may throw at us.
- The reckless regard given by some of the interns. It seriously hampers with your working and disturbs the work environment.
No stipend, as this internships works on the basis of giving your bit to the society and not taking any monetary rewards but those morally and intellectually rewarding experiences.
- The worth of life that people just take granted for
- Letting go of my inhibitions of travelling in traverses unknown
To sum up
The internship will be a great learning experience if you make full use of it and swim in the ocean instead of just immersing your feet and feeling joy at the minimal. Be nice to Kavita ma’am and stick to the deadlines and your life will be easier at PUCL.
Join only if you can commit to serious hardwork and trust me Karma won’t leave you, you will be rewarded sub-consciously in more ways than you can even notice.
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.