This is not a review of HNLU Raipur. I feel I am no one yet to write that. I need maybe a semester more to understand the place enough to write something of that sort and even then a day more there would provide me something to add. This is my experience of HNLU Raipur. A place which, if didn’t open my eyes, did tell me that closing them is not an option.
My journey to HNLU Raipur hasn’t been easy. Atleast not so easy that I can stop myself from writing a paragraph, if not more, about it. The year before HNLU was spent half in IP University’s main campus pursuing law and half in my bedroom swamped by the immense pressure of CLAT. For 6 months I studied day and night, enrolling in every coaching center’s program possible. Thankfully most offer correspondence programs and aren’t that heavy on the pocket (read IIT’s coaching). From past year papers to Wikipedia, I did not leave any stone unturned. You cannot name a book related to CLAT I hadn’t gone through. But it just wasn’t my day. Results came in. AIR 578 and a 15kg increase in weight is what I had gotten out of it. I was getting HNLU and I’ll be honest here, I had hoped for NLUJ, at the least. Afterall, I for topped every test I had sat for. People who didn’t know and still don’t know shit about CLAT and law schools secured a better rank than me. That’s the power of luck. Or destiny, as I’d later come to know.
Before I start talking about HNLU let me tell you something. I am someone who would tell you without asking how shitty my college if I find it shitty. I did that with IP. With HNLU I found things to be different. I found ssomething is being done for every bad aspect I come across. Someone is working his ass off to fix something. I have decided things I would be working on, when the time’s right. So here’s HNLU for you, from my vantage point. From someone who had already spent a year at a law school before coming to HNLU.
I wasn’t disappointed about the fact that I had gotten HNLU, as some people who had gotten it were. They were ignorant about the college. I had my research in place. I knew the place was good, if not as popular. I knew alumni from there who were working at respectable places, earning well, living even better. I was excited, had heebie-jeebies, a sense of accomplishment around me.
But more than anything, I was complacent. After a long time.
I’ve come to learn that complacency is an essential ingredient to a peaceful mind. My dad wasn’t happy and no matter how much he tried to hide it, it seemed obvious that he wanted one of the golden triangle colleges for me; NLSIU, NALSAR, NUJS. But I wasn’t bothered with his opinion which he tried so hard to hide. He doesn’t know much about these law schools like most people. Some people say college doesn’t matter at all, some say that’s all what matters. I prefer standing in the grey area and believe that one can excel even at NIRMA if one wishes to (pun intended), but if you don’t have that motivation in you then even NLSIU can’t do anything to help you. But someone who wishes to excel would achieve greater heights at a good college than he would at an average one. And mind you, I say this only in terms of law school.
Homesickness is one aspect of hostel life I haven’t felt, yet. Maybe because I don’t share that strong a bond with my parents but I should have missed my bedroom or my friends, right? Well, I never did. I realised that home is state of mind. And with the right kind of people, an internet connection, good books to read (or just to see) I can set up my home anywhere. And I found that here, as did a majority of people. I prefer calm places to places buzzing with activity. The campus comes into the picture here.
A negative aspect of a 110 acre campus: there’s always scope for development. The campus is developed, and is still developing and will continue to develop for a long time. Every year there’s something new. In my time there I witnessed a new ATM inside the campus, a new administrative block and a new parapet for the lake. And yet it feels empty, scattered. But the relationship you’d share here with nature is to die for. On a walk to the cafe there’s a spot where the wind blows so fast and makes such a ruckus it’s impossible to talk on phone.
Don’t be surprised when I remind you that we are still in Chhattisgarh.
The amount of freedom one enjoys at HNLU is mind-numbing. A student can do whatever he wishes to (yes stoners, say cheese) and no one’s there to stop him. And that I feel is much more important than AC rooms, a 3 course meal and a mall right opposite your college. The freedom grants you power, for your mind is not subjugated anymore. Every idea is yours. Nothing is forced. And with that power comes a responsibility. The responsibility which makes you choose how you wish to go forward in a law school. Do you wish to stone, drink, enjoy, make friends and enjoy the present to its fullest, do you wish to study your ass off and spent 8 hours in the library, or are you third kind which can manage both at the same time compromising a little on both and being a jack of all trades but master of none? In HNLU you’ll find all three types of people and more. The responsibility is to choose wisely. To choose what you feel you can carry with your conscience. I’ve made my decision and will try to live by it for as long as I can.
Being away from the city doesn’t mean it is disconnected with the outside world. Feeling hungry at 2 in the morning? Call Mohan Dhaba and Sunny bhaiya will come in his Nano or his open Mahindra tempo to take you to the dhabha which is 5km from the college and drop you back (there’s another one at 10 minutes walking distance but I prefer Mohan). Or just ask for delivery. Feeling you’ve spent too much time around people? Go to the terrace and spend some time watching the starry sky, count them Kuch Kuch Hota Hai style or just lose yourself amongst their company. Feeling romantic? Go to the lakeside and spend some time with your special one near the lake you’ll find inside the campus. Stare into the endless sky atop the lake, let the sunset make you lose the grip of time.
Feel like splurging? Take any one of the three college’s bus trips to the 30 minute away city of Raipur and visit either one of the numerous malls or the local markets like Sadar and Lakhe Nagar. Savour the taste of your ever favorite restaurants like TDS, KFC, Domino’s or dwell into the street food. People say we don’t have Pizza Hut. I say try Sev-Tamatar once and you’ll forget what Pizza Hut is. Want to write a research paper? Classes end at 2 PM and the library’s open till 10 besides the WiFi in your room with nothing in between to disturb you. I hear of life at other colleges and have realised that without freedom, or atleast a sense of choice, faculty, infrastructure and name can do nothing. For when you know that 5 years of your youth would be spent at one place, the criterion one uses to judge change drastically.
The exposure you get at HNLU is relative. Relative to your decision. A senior once told me that knowledge at HNLU is available on demand. And I’ve found that to be true. If you wish to know why a certain judgement was given all you need to do is knock on the right door. If you wish to know how to roll a joint go ahead and knock on some other door. And sometimes both the doors are same. The people are friendly. Though the breaking ice sessions didn’t go too well for me, thanks to my always-have-something-to-say nature. But if it brought out the real me, all’s fine I guess. I’ve been to a
trip to Delhi-Chandigarh-Shimla with friends Parliamentary Debate at Punjab Engineering college and brought back some sweet memories and stronger bonds.
In train rides to unknown places, on a tight budget you enjoy.
I haven’t been explicitly exposed to the politics in the college but it’s a college where the student body manages everything. Power matters and does play a huge role. Have heard instances of fights, arguments, and privileges that certain members of the student body enjoy. A taste of it is all I aim for. I may not like it AT all. Or who knows, it might just stick with me forever.
I wish to do some things at law school. If I come out the same after 5 years what was the purpose of studying in a National Law University? I wish to moot (cliched, I know), read more books, gain more knowledge, watch good shows and movies, make friends that last a lifetime, build contacts, leave a mark and finally listen to some good music. But only a semester has passed. 9 more to go. The journey has barely started. As I bid adieu, I leave with a promise of a post at the end of every semester.