After the introduction of the five-year integrated Law programme, a wide-scale demand seems to bring potential for Law courses at the university.

Over 1700 applications have been received by the University of Delhi since the induction of the 5-year integrated programme for Law. There is much competition after it was revealed by the university that only a total of 120 seats are being offered for the first batch.

The classes for the two courses that are being offered, BA LLB and BBA LLB, are set to begin on November 10. The classes shall be held temporarily at the Faculty of law in North Campus as of now; later, the specific permanent location shall be decided.

The determination of admissions shall be through CLAT scores, and the university strives to complete the admission process soon. It is noted that the Bar Council of India approved the five-year integrated programme on July 26th, this year, after the university was planning to introduce the course.

Hindustan Times reported:

There were over 1,700 applications for 120 seats, proving that there is a demand among students. Admissions, which are based on CLAT scores, will be completed soon. We aim to begin classes by November 10,

said Prakash Singh, director of DU’s South Campus.

Earlier this year, in August, a student filed a petition in Delhi High Court for the university to consider Common University Entrance Test (CUET) scores instead of CLAT scores for admission in the course. In September, the High Court granted permission to the University to conduct admissions on the basis of CLAT scores. The registration for the same began on September 27 and ended on October 12.

We have not done away with the three-year law course since it is a sought-after course. The new course is an add-on, keeping in mind the growing demand among students.

said Professor Anju Vali Tikoo, dean of the Faculty of Law.

Some of the faculty professors have questioned the fee structure of the programmes, which is Rs. 1,90,000 per year and might not be affordable to many.

“Naturally, the courses will be slightly more expensive than regular courses, as it has all the facilities being provided by other law colleges, such as international exposure, placements, and moot court competitions, among others,”

said Professor Tikoo.

Students whose parental income is Rs. 4 lakh or less per annum shall be eligible for a 90% waiver in tution fee, and those with a parental income of more than Rs. 4 lakh and less than Rs. 8 lakh shall be eligible for a 50% waiver.

Image Credits: The Sunday Guardian

Read Also: Delhi HC Slams DU for Arbitrary Admission Denial 

Aanya Mehta

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One never realizes how much they love their hometown until they leave it. Mindlessly scrolling through reels on Instagram, I stumbled upon a heartwarming interview excerpt of Greta Gerwig, a well-established Hollywood director known for movies like Barbie, Little Women, and Lady Bird. She endearingly talks about how we never realize how much life has changed unless we revisit our hometown, after being away from it.

I have always loved my city, Kolkata, during August. The murky humidity of May-July slowly transitions into cloudy afternoons followed by evening showers and there is an underlying excitement amidst the hustling streets and alleys as the arrival of August amplifies the countdown to Durga Puja in early October.

As my airline slowly made the descent into my hometown, passing through puffy clouds, revealing the Ganges, the Howrah bridge perched atop it, and the huddled buildings, a warm wave of familiarity washed over me as a fellow co-passenger, a toddler whispered in excitement to his mother, “Ma, bari eshe geche!” (Mom, we’re home!).

Going back home, the ritual has always remained the same: the happy mingling crowd at the Departure tunnel, the old lanes, roadside graffiti, the smell of mum’s favourite sandalwood incense, fresh laundry, clinking chai-cups, dog fur on the sofa, Kishore Kumar ke gaane in the afternoon, mum’s special mutton biriyani recipe, ‘luchi-aloo dum’ for breakfast and the warmth of family. Simplicity. Familiarity. Comfort. Home.

Then come the people: old school friends, childhood friends, those 15-year long bonds, the chit-chats over coffee, first crushes, your favourite teacher, your neighbour who’d seen you walk for the first time, your grandmother and her prized-sewing kit, the sweaters she’d honed for you out of love, your dad’s collection of music records, the twinkle of your dog’s eyes. The love that endured. The love that stayed. The warmth of old love. Home.

But beyond the slow loving caress of familiarity, was something inherently heartbreaking. Tragic but beautiful. It was change. Change you wouldn’t notice as soon as you step down from your 2-hour-long flight from Delhi to Kolkata. But slow brimming change so vast yet so miniscule that it breaks your heart while mending it simultaneously. It’s in your childhood best-friend’s stories of college, their vast-tangle of newfound friends, sky-scrappers standing tall in place of your favourite movie theatre, the now-empty flat of your closest cousin who’d moved abroad, or in the glistening newly sprout grey hair of your dog. It’s an eerie feeling. It is true that life goes on and never waits for anybody but it’s also strange, feeling like a mere observer to the life that had been your whole world, in the place that you’ve always called home.

This feeling stems from something much deeper than just feeling like you’re missing out. Instead of resenting life for passing through your hometown when you aren’t even there, you embrace this change, or at least try to. Over time, you realize how much you’ve changed as well- that you no more unhealthily binge-read Harry Potter but read more Murakami in its place, that you enjoy The 1975 over Linkin Park now and that you’d always loved ‘Chole Bhature’ over ‘Luchi-Aloo Dum’ despite your friends teasing you as a fake Bengali (yes, deep sad sigh). At one beautiful point, one warm Wednesday afternoon, you realize that you are growing along with your childhood city, discovering yourself every day and suddenly, you’re at peace.

On a rather unconventional note, I believe that it’s also important for one to eventually move out of your childhood hometown. Moving away from the familiarity, from the care of your parents, taking responsibilities, doing laundry by yourself, buying groceries alone, riding buses, managing your finances gives you a sense of clarity that the comfort of home can’t. Moving out of this comfort zone, lends you a sense of independence, some perspective that you never thought you had before. You suddenly feel confident enough to make future choices and plan, and finally liberation embraces you- that you are (almost) a grown-up and have (sort of) stepped into the real world!

Basking in this glorious independence is fun, and so is remembering that the same bonds you’re breaking free from moulded and shaped you to someday be capable of leaving it all behind. Your old friends, your family, the Sunday-night movies, the bicycle races with childhood friends- all of these fragments have come together to make you whole. And as you look upon the old city, with tears in your eyes, comprehension slowly dawns that you’d never realized how much home has shaped you, how much you love it and are going to miss it. And while your childhood best friend now has new friends to confide in, your movie theatre has turned into someone’s loving home and your dog is growing old, the love doesn’t disappear, it re-emerges every time you come back home, it’s always there and will be. And that’s the beauty of it all.

Through the rush of college, the fast-paced life of Delhi, the crowd of metros, the overburdening assignments and the hustle of college societies, the early-morning showers of Delhi remind me of the slow, lazy August days of Kolkata as my mother gently simmers the early-morning cha, humming to the stapled songs of Kishore Kumar playing in the background of her beloved kitchen, and rain lovingly embraces my home, far-far away yet so close.

Sometimes, love from a distance can be beautiful too.

Read Also: The Home Conundrum, and the Battle of Graduating

Featured Image Credits: Google Images

Priyanka Mukherjee

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To mark the closing of the University of Delhi’s centenary celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually laid the foundation of three new buildings. The event was broadcast live throughout all DU campuses via screens installed in staff rooms, auditoriums, and other locations, with some colleges issuing guidelines related to attendance and also imposing dress code restrictions.

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the closing ceremony of DU’s centenary celebration as the Chief Guest and virtually laid the foundation of three new buildings: Delhi University’s Computer Centre, Faculty of Technology, and Academic Block. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also attended the event as the Chief Guest. The event, which took place from 11 AM to 1 PM, was broadcast live in almost all DU colleges via screens installed in staff rooms, libraries, auditoriums, etc. Several DU colleges released guidelines for their students, including guidelines regarding compulsory attendance, dress code, extra attendance to attendees, etc.

Participation in the event was declared mandatory in a notification issued at BR Ambedkar College, whilst a notification released at Zakir Hussain College said that the signatures of all the attendees will be sent to the university, adding that it’s being done at DU’s behest. Meanwhile, Professors at Hindu College sent students a WhatsApp message promising 5 extra days of attendance as a benefit for their participation in the event.  Additionally, the message aims at encouraging students not to wear black clothes.

Several faculty members and students criticized these guidelines on social media. In an article by The Print, Abhigyan, a student of DU, said “Promising grades and attendance have become a regular event in DU. Similar promises related to extra marks in elective subjects for students who participate in yoga day were made.”

The Zakir Hussain College notification, asking all faculty members to turn up by 9 AM reads, “As per the directions of the University of Delhi all staff members other than the newly appointed teachers who are physically present at the multipurpose hall, University of Delhi, are mandatorily required to remain present in the college library to view the valedictory function of the centenary celebrations.”

Concerning the message, The Print contacted Hindu College Principal Anju Srivastav. She said “The administration’s message had been misunderstood, and there was no restriction on the color of clothes. It is not possible to give students extra attendance. However, we would like to see all students and staff turn up for the screening. We only wanted to send the message across that it is a regular working day and students have to come to college.”

Various student Unions criticized the release of these guidelines. SFI released a statement expressing strong criticism about certain notices released by several colleges about the valedictory ceremony.  The message read “It is absolutely condemnable for any college to be releasing such dictatorial directives. If making the presence of all students mandatory for the live screening of the event was not exasperating enough, the admin has also asked students to not wear any black dress! It is preposterous that the college and university administration will go to any lengths to curb all sorts of dissent in our educational spaces. In addition to it, baiting students with five attendances in such a manner speaks volumes about the ‘serious’ approach adopted by institutions like Delhi University towards imparting sound, meaningful education to its students.


Read Also: DU Offers Scholarships, Laptops for New B. Tech Courses

Featured Image Credits: Devansh Arya for DU Beat


Dhruv Bhati

[email protected]

Ahead of our 75th Independence Day, here is looking at the four unsung verses of our national anthem by a fellow Bong and his experiences with the same

Growing up in a Bengali household, Rabindranath Tagore or “Kobiguru” (the guru of poets) as we were so fondly taught to call him, was a looming presence in my life. The drawing room wall had a two foot long portrait of the man with his cascading white beard and saintly eyes. On summer afternoons legs propped on the divan and orange peels on my fingers next to undone algebra I could hear him walking past the still curtains – his presence speaking of a quietude so deeply internalised that it could almost be akin to silent absence. On monsoon evenings when my heart was too heavy, his poetry gave words to my unshed tears. And on Independence Day, when I heard the country blaring the national anthem in a hindi dialect far removed from the original bengali pronunciation my heart would swell with anger.

In crowds, from childhood, I made it a point to sing the anthem in the Bengali dialect, while people around me would turn and stare at me with glaring eyes – indicating that I was the person who was singing it wrong. “Don’t be a rebel without a cause, of course there has to be a standard pronunciation for the entire country,” my mother would say each time I would go on an unwarranted rant about the hegemonic imposition of the hindi dialect across the nation. But little did I know that this was just the tip of the ignorance for most outside the Tagore-centric cultural bubble of Bengal.

In the middle of a casual video call with some of my recently made friends in DU, I found us humming the anthem after hearing a spectacular orchestral arrangement of the same on Youtube. But it was only when I continued to sing, long after the verse had ended that my friends curiously asked me as to what I was singing. That night I spent close to an hour, explaining to my friends, all from various ends of the country, how the national anthem is merely the first verse of a five verse long song composed by Tagore. It is with their shocked faces in mind today, that ahead of the 75th year of our Indian Independence, I present to all my readers the four unsung verses of the song from which our anthem originates. The translation will never be at par with the original Bengali and hence apologies are in order for all that will inevitably get lost in this humble translation.


Original Bengali:


Ahoraho tabo aahwan procharito shuni tabo udaar baani

Hindu bouddho joino paarsik musalmaan khristani

Purabo poschimo aase tabo singhasano-paase

Premhaar hoy gnaatha.

Janogano-oikyo-bidhayako jayo hey bhaaroto bhaagyo bidhata !

Jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo, jayo, jayo, jayo hey.


Paton-abbhudayo-bondhur pantha, jugo-jugo dhaabito jaatri

Hey chirosaathi tabo rathochakre mukhorito patho dinoraatri.

Daarun biplab-maajhe tabo shankho dhwoni baaje


Janoganopathoporichaayako jayo hey bharoto bhagyo bidhata !

Jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo, jayo, jayo, jayo hey.


Ghorotimiroghano nibiro nishithe pirito murchito deshe

Jaagroto chilo tabo abichal mangol natonayone animeshe.

Duhswapne aatonke rokkha korile anke

Snehomoyi tumi maata.

Janoganodukhotraayako jayo hey bharoto bhagyo bidhata !

Jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo, jayo, jayo, jayo hey.


Raatri probhaatilo udilo robichchhobi purbo-udayogiribhaale –

Gaahe bihangamo, punyo somirano nabojibanoraso dhaale.

Tabo korunarunoraage nidrito bhaarato jaage

Tabo charone nato maatha.

Jayo jayo jayo hey, jayo raajeswaro bhaaroto bhaagyo bidhata !

Jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo hey, jayo, jayo, jayo, jayo hey.




Endlessly resonates thy charitable call to uplift –

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsees, Muslims and Christians.

Across the East and West, unites this call, in strings of love.

You, the one who binds together the people in unity,

The one in whose hand sways the fate of India

Hail to thee!


Reflected in the wheels of your chariot O! the Timeless One,

On the jagged road of crests and troughs, walk a million listless.

In the midst of astounding rebels, rings loud your clarion call to revel –

You – the one who quells evil and distress!

Hail to the thee, the hand who sways the fate of India

And who shows its millions the path to traverse!


In the expanding gloom, of the darkest nights of distress,

Was awake forever, your bent unblinking gaze.

In the darkest of dreams, in the direst of circumstances,

You held us in your embrace –

Like a piteous mother to her babe.

Hail to thee, the hand who sways the fate of India

The one who vanquishes the distress of our souls!


The night melts into day, and rises the sun

On the eastern horizon front

Sing the birds, swayed by the holy breeze,

Tunes of a new life impending.

To your blood marked songs of compassion

Answers a nation rising from slumber,

Bowed forever at your lotus-feet.

Hail to the thee, O! Mightiest of Rulers,

The one in whose hands rest forever, the fate of India!


Here is a rendition of the song from the 2015 Bengali film Rajkahini (A Tale of Kings)




Anwesh Banerjee
[email protected]


Delhi University students organized a protest in the Delhi School of Economics against the recent violence and attack on tribal students in North Campus. The attack on the students was an extension of the crisis in Manipur. With the protest, the students tried to initiate important discourses around mental health, student safety, women’s safety, xenophobia and various other sensitive issues that affect tribal students on campus.

On 12th May, students of the University organized a protest at the Delhi School of Economics to spread awareness about the attack on tribal students in North Campus that took place the previous week. As inter-community violence grips Manipur, even those living away from home are constantly tormented by the possibility of being attacked. Last week, a group of Kuki students were reportedly attacked by a group of around 30 students who identified themselves as belonging to the Meitei community. The victims were followed as they left a prayer meeting near Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute in North Campus. The women were pushed and the men were beaten up. The incident has left tribal students across the university concerned about their safety.

During the attack, women were molested and threatened to be raped. The men were badly beaten up. They have sustained injuries and have scars all over. They are traumatized. Delhi University is a campus for all students. But being tribals, we do not feel safe anymore even on campus

– a participant who wishes to remain anonymous

The protest was an attempt to create a space in which tribal students could express themselves freely and be part of a larger community of students with shared experiences. Students gathered near the Ratan Tata Library at the Delhi School of Economics and expressed their concerns, fears and experiences with one another. Students from different colleges, across the university joined in. The participants spoke about the trauma that tribal students have been experiencing and pointed out that there is a general atmosphere of fear that has affected not only the victims of the attack but all tribal students from Manipur. One of the speakers pointed out that earlier, students would stay out and study in libraries till 2 a.m. in the morning. However, after the crisis unfolded in Manipur, many fear even going outdoors. Such an atmosphere of hostility is hardly conducive to academic growth. It was repeatedly stated that although the situation in Manipur is deeply disturbing, it is important to ensure that what happens in Manipur, stays in Manipur and does not culminate into further violence outside the state.

We are really concerned about the safety of tribal students here. On the night of 4th May, there was a mob attack on Kuki students by the other community which we vehemently condemn. We should not be against each other. This is an academic space and we need a peaceful space to progress in our academic career.

– Mr. Haokip, a research scholar at the university

Many of the students were concerned about the impact of the traumatic incidents on their academic life as they are in the middle of their semester exams. Reportedly, many tribal students have been experiencing cyberbullying on social media platforms for being vocal about the crisis in Manipur. They have been receiving death threats and rape threats for their social media posts on Manipur. The victims of the attack and those who have received online threats have become so paranoid that they could not bring themselves to join the protest. One of the participants spoke to DU Beat about the online harassment, transphobic and homophobic slurs that they have been enduring ever since the violence unfolded in Manipur. They further elaborated upon the systematic oppression and xenophobia that tribals experience in Manipur.

Growing up in Imphal, we were used to people calling us (the Kuki people) illegal Burmese immigrants. At school, we were bullied and shamed for our tribal identity. We are mocked a lot for reservations as well.

DU Beat approached multiple stakeholders to include their experiences and insights. However, owing to the matter’s sensitivity, many were uncomfortable speaking openly about it and declined our request for interviews. Nonetheless, the participants at the protest made their demands. Overall, the gathering was a peaceful one.

We would like to put out the message that we all are here for progress. During my 5-year study in DU, I have never felt unsafe. But now, even though I am not a victim myself, I have to constantly look over my shoulder after that incident. We are here to protest against the attack. We are not here to target any community, but simply demand that the culprits are arrested.

 – Another participant who wishes to remain anonymous.


Read Also: Students Stage ‘Students for Wrestlers’ Protest 

Image Credits: Tulip Banerjee for DU Beat

Tulip Banerjee

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A recent incident at KNC where a chunk of plaster fell from the ceiling, nearly injuring a student standing nearby has raised greater questions about the college’s infrastructure and the administration’s attitude towards such issues. 

Recently, Navya Pathania, a second-year Psychology student of Kamala Nehru College (KNC) witnessed a part of the ceiling, on the ground floor of the college, collapse just a few feet away from her. The student claimed that this incident took place in the early hours of the morning when the college was mostly empty. However, upon approaching one of the caretakers nearby, she was told that they’d simply sweep up the fallen plaster. 

He said to me at that moment, ‘Haan beta, jhaadu laga denge’, I wonder what would have happened if it fell on top of me – Navya Pathania

The victim was shaken by the incident and the seeming callousness of the adults around her.  As recounted, she went to the administrative office afterwards to make them aware of the incident. But after having to wait for twenty minutes, she was disappointed at their inaction. 

It felt like an earthquake, I was really scared and couldn’t process what had just happened.

The tales of Kamala Nehru’s poor infrastructure don’t just begin with this, as the college continues to face extreme shortages regarding classrooms, benches, chairs, etc.

A student from first-year Economic Honors raised similar concerns. Having a class size of around 80 students, most classrooms in the college aren’t able to properly fit the entire batch of students. This corroborates with previously covered accounts of students having to spend a large period of class time looking for empty classrooms or enough chairs, having to study on the grounds or open areas during the harsh Delhi summers, giving internal assessments while sitting on the floor or sharing a chair, etc. 

Sometimes, a few of us have to sit outside the classroom while attending. It becomes difficult to study as we can’t hear the teacher. – a first-year Economics Honours student at KNC

However, this incident points to not only poor infrastructure but also a larger disregard for student well-being. This can also be seen from recent videos circulating on social media of the flooding of the entrance of the college during heavy rains which led students to have to swing across whilst clutching to the gate. 

While Kamala Nehru does have one of the lowest fees for most courses across all of Delhi University’s institutions which may help understand why such issues are being faced, the aforementioned incident and the treatment of the student subsequently highlight not just infrastructural shortcomings, but also a certain degree of apathy surrounding the student welfare.


Featured image source – Navya Pathania 

Read also:  DU and its Pervading Issue of Inadequate Infrastructure 


Chaharika Uppal

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The Entrepreneurship Cell of Hindu College organized a two-day E-Summit on April 19th and 20th to enhance the members’ understanding of entrepreneurship and develop their abilities to access educational resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities.  Shark Tank Contestants Niharika Jain and Jatan Bawa were invited by the Hindu E-Cell for the “Foundation Forum”.

On April 19, 2023, the Entrepreneurship Cell of Hindu College conducted the first day of its two-day annual E-Summit. The summit organised two flagship events and a Q&A session with Jinesh Shah. The theme was inspired by sustainability, specifically, alternative proteins, which refer to protein-rich ingredients sourced from plants to replace conventional animal-based sources.

“The reason we organised the theme of the E-Summit is because thinking 10 years down into the future, we think food tech is something India can outshine other countries. Why can’t we use mushrooms or mycelium as a potential meat source? Why can’t we grow meat in a lab? The opportunities we allot through innovation and science really motivated us to organise this event specifically focused on this industry.” —Kartik Chauhan, Vice President of E-Cell Hindu College, in conversation with DU Beat

The E-Confluence was the first event conducted by the summit. Participants had to go through a quiz round where they were tested on business acumen and logical thinking. The A-[dulting] Plan competition, in collaboration with Ripen, was a unique competition designed to test all the skills required to successfully “adult,” such as banking, finances, relationships, etc. 

At 1 PM, a speaker session with Jinesh Shah, founder of 4 x Alt Protein—India’s first investment fund to leverage and invent new technologies to produce plant-based food with materials that cause less harm to the planet—began.

“Animal agriculture is one of the largest, if not the singular largest contributor, in many of the issues that are a threat to all living beings on this planet. This is something that we think is very important to solve and this is the reason why we’ve come into existence as venture capital in order to be able to fund.” –Jitesh Shah, Founder 4 x Alt Protein and speaker at E-summit

Read also: DU Panel Advisory Proposes Ways to Strengthen Security in Colleges

The second day of the event was marked with the Founder’s Forum which witnessed Niharika Jain, the founder and CSO of Broomees, and Jatan Bawa, the founder of Perfora. The duo had been contestants in the popular show, ‘Shark Tank India’ Season 2 and discussed their experience and journey of starting up and becoming successful entrepreneurs. 

The Forum began with Niharika Jain talking about the difficulties faced by young first-time founders in raising funds without the fancy “IIT tag”. On being asked about her typical day as an entrepreneur, she commented on how the industry is all about firefighting every day with arbitrary office hours and new challenges to face at regular intervals. 

“You don’t have to be a part of ten societies. Try and find what you like and make time for that. If you have done 2-3 roles nicely, it’s all that matters. Essentially, what is counted is not which college you are from, but what you have done in college.”, she said. 

When asked about her experience at Shark Tank, she replied, 

“It is dreadful and none of it is scripted. Nothing is decided. It is not a fifteen-minute pitch but a one-and-a-half-hour-long pitch, which gets cut and edited for television. I was scared and didn’t want to get insulted on national television.”

The second speaker of the day was Jatan Bawa, founder of Perfora – an oral healthcare brand that manufactures electric toothbrushes and toothpaste. On being asked about the right time to startup, he said, 

“There is no right time, It’s all a mindset you cannot define by age. Just be passionate about your idea and ensure that your idea is genuinely solving the problems of the customers of the industry, whether B2C, B2B, or a Government consumer. 

Talking about the idea behind Perfora, he revealed that it was after over 1000 discussions that the idea of oral care occurred and that’s how the process of building an oral care brand began. He encouraged the students to give time to their ideas and investments and be mentally prepared for all consequences and motivated them about the advantages of working for a company before starting up to avoid future mistakes. 

“I know for a fact that Colgate is synonymous with regular toothpaste in India but it is so much fun to change that perception.” 

The E-Summit culminated with a vote of thanks and a gift of honour being presented to both guests and turned out to scratch a plethora of possibilities for the young minds to set up their businesses. 


Read also: E-Cell, IIT Roorkee Organised ‘E-Summit 2020’

 Featured Image Credits: DU Beat

 Sri Sidhvi Dindi
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Aryan Vats

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The lesser known art forms of Bengal have seen a rise in popularity in contemporary times. This is the story of Baul-geeti, an integral part of Bengal’s Oral traditions, which posed questions two centuries back that are still relevant today.

Growing up in a Bengali household in North Kolkata, my summer break afternoons were often filled with an elaborate plate of jackfruit, mangoes and watermelons that my grandmother brought in after lunch. What would accompany this huge palette of the various shades of yellows and reds, were stories of Shantiniketan and Birbhum, where my grandma had spent a considerable portion of her youth. My drowsy eyes would look at her face light up as she spoke about the men who had no home, who wandered and stayed wherever their hearts wanted, who considered the world their home. Her broken, out-of-breath notes sang of these men in big alkhallas. She sang of the minstrels who have been a part and parcel of Bengal, she sang of the Bauls.

The Bauls are folk artists of Bengal. They renounce society and claim the open skies and lands as their country. They are nomads who sing of the Supreme One and their love towards the celestial entity. They believe in no discriminatory factors—religion, gender, caste, creed, race; they preach and practise Deha-tatta, which holds that every being is equal with the Supreme One himself, who resides in us all. It’s not just limited to living beings either. Bauls respect and love beings from all species, big and small. These wandering minstrels rejected social hierarchies and divisive constructs. Their radical rejection of social institutions manifests itself in the emancipatory enactment of this form of music where they find and celebrate love, life, and liberation. You, according to the Bauls, can only be one step closer to God by helping other living beings.

Baul music is often composed without any formal training or any record. The music of the ektara,
dotara and, at times, khonjoni, synthesises with their own voices to create, what can be called, one
of the greatest cultural symbols of Bengal. This culture was born in Birbhum and crossed boundaries to the different eastern regions of our country, including the international border of Bangladesh. The most fascinating aspect of this entire art form has to be its lack of recorded material. It forms a major chunk of the oral traditions of the region, with minimal written songs. The Bauls sing from their memory, and their heart. The complex compositions are passed down from one generation to another. Yet, almost everyone who listens to their music finds themselves in the peculiar daze of the heart-wrenching and soulful tunes of the dotara.

The Baul community also has a male-dominated image in popular culture where they are depicted in huge saffron robes, heavy beards and matted locks of hair, rudraksha around their wrists and neck and a dotara. The saffron alkhalla, or the loose garment, is a way of showcasing their association with the divine. The women of this community, on the other hand, wear simple white sarees and sport matted hair but ditch the rudraksha. They are seldom included by the general public in Baul narratives even though they have had similar contributions to the art.

We cannot talk about Baul-or Baul culture without mentioning the man who was responsible for
bringing it to the world—Lalon Fakir Shah, the greatest Baul artist to have ever existed. The origin of Lalon Fakir is still debatable. Nobody till date knows where exactly he was born, which religion or caste he was born into or who his parents were. Some say he was a Muslim while others claim he was a Hindu. Even his disciples, upon his death, never revealed his place of origin or his religion.

Fakir Shah was a monumental figure in composing Baul-geeti, with thousands of Bengali songs
to his name. Out of all these, only 600 were documented after his demise. He was the
person who inspired the whole concept of contemporary Baul gaan and their philosophies as
we know them today. What Lalon preached was essentially the result of syncretism of various
philosophies and traditions like Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Jainism. Like today, he was a radical opponent of all established institutions, to the extent wherein one of his compositions, he
sang, “If the creator is one, why so many religions?”.

The captivating angle to his songs were his vocal approach to issues of caste, communalism,
and patriarchy two hundred years back. Songs like,

“Brahman, chandal, Chamaar,
Everyone is cleansed by the same

opposed the oppressive system with such poetic poignance that it resonates with people till date. Even issues like patriarchy were addressed through lyrics which posed questions like,

“A Muslim is marked by the sign of circumcision; but how should you
mark a woman?”
(Translated by Azfar Hussain)

Personally, if there has to be one line by Fakir Lalon that really stirred
me, it would be-
“A person who secretly has rice
from the hearth of a prostitute
What does his religion have to do
with it?”

Folk music, or any music that had subaltern roots, was looked down upon by the Bhodrolok i.e. gentlemen of Bengal. It rose as an alternate narrative and culture to the hegemonic forms of art that were prevalent. They were an attempt for some communities to establish their place in the existing power structures of society at the time, while in other cases, like those of the Bauls, they were a harsh critique of the ways of the world and the conditions that mankind had created in order to discriminate against others.

In contemporary times, the religious extremism that we often encounter was exactly what these
cultures opposed. The question of what religion you were born with and which religion you’ll leave the world with was one question that the Bauls asked society.

Interestingly, Baul-geeti, something that went against modern-day capitalism, has become a child of the same today. In the 60s and the 70s, the Bauls went global and dazzled the world with their talent. Purna Das Baul, the Baul Samrat, even played with music sensations like Bob Dylan and Tina Turner. In more recent times, Kartik Das Baul went from singing on the local trains of Kolkata for some loose change to being one of the top Baul artists in the country. This in no way is a claim that this commercialisation is bad. It was necessary for these unrecognised artists to spread their creations. And it was almost inevitable, since sustaining oneself in 2022 certainly requires a lot more monetary resources than at any other time in history.

For someone from the land of these artists, to witness the world enjoy their music without ever trying to decipher the underlying meaning in their songs seems like an insult to the art, the philosophy and the artists. It is a bittersweet feeling, as a bangaali, that something that
is so close to my heart, is not just mine anymore—it is the world’s to share; on the other hand, there is pride and pride only that the beautiful language and the songs reach millions today.

Read Also: My City, My Pujo: An Open Art Gallery

Featured Image Credits: Osho World

Debarati Mitra
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Can we ever ascertain if a lawyer defending someone who is guilty is a greedy, cold, criminal or just another person doing their job? It seems impossible because, well, it probably is.

You can never truly anticipate what seemingly mundane events of a regular Wednesday will end up leaving a profound impact on you, which is why it feels strange to write this knowing the inspiration comes from a fight I had with my father. He was just making conversation, getting ready to leave for work when he just happened to say that he had been offered the case of man accused of fowl, inappropriate behaviour. To his surprise, and mine, this somehow sent me into an existential frenzy. Suddenly, I was living a life where my father (a criminal lawyer) was defending, well, criminals. I could not reconcile with the duality of his existence, as my father and as a person who (sometimes) defends bad people. What followed was an argument that fizzled out after the client backed out (and subsequently restored peace in our household).  However, this moment of doubt about whether or not my father’s job was morally unobjectionable made me take a rather hard look at the field of law in its entirety. Are lawyers good people? Is law ethical?

After quite a bit of research, I still have not arrived at a conclusive answer. Ethics are principles that distinguish the good, the bad and the ugly. Laws are, supposedly, enforced to maintain goodwill. Violating a law will land you in jail, which indicate a slender grasp on the whole concept of ethics and good moral values, etc. And yet, in their day-to-day execution and application, law practioners end up at odds with what is ethical and right. As a person on the outside looking in, anyone who is knowingly and willingly defending the honor of a guilty person is clearly in the wrong.

“Presumed innocent until proven guilty”

-Sir William Garrow, 1791

And this is where all the lines start to blur up, because, the undeniable fault of anyone defending someone of a crime they did, in fact, commit, and the right to counsel being universally essential are both simultaneously true. Without a trial, neither innocence nor guilt can be proved and this requires lawyers to rely more on detached pragmatism and professionalism and less on moral ethos. But does that make them bad people?

“The whole foundation of our legal structure is based on the maxim that ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ An advocate, as an officer of the court is bound not only by this but also by the Advocates Act which states that without justifiable cause a counsel shall not refuse brief of any client/litigants/accused on the presumption of him being guilty. Even article 21 of our constitution provides that no person shall be denied right to life or personal freedom with due procedure of law.”

-Adv. Naman Mishra, practicing criminal lawyer, Courts of Delhi

“Public prosecutors are public authorities who, on behalf of society and in the public interest, ensure the application of the law where the breach of the law carries a criminal sanction, taking into account both the rights of the individual and the necessary effectiveness of the criminal justice system”

 To counter the actions of a criminal defendant, we have public prosecutors. Once again, from an outsider’s point of view, someone fighting to attempt the to prove the guilt of someone who could very well be guilty, seems to be the bigger, better person. But this scenario, too, flips, in the case of someone who turns out to have been wrongly accused. Here, our good ol’ criminal lawyer emerges a hero. Neither party can seem to stick to any status for long, and end up oscillating between both.

“As an agent of the judicial process, ensuring that those deserving punishment don’t go scot-free definitely makes you feel empowered and on a higher moral plank but in reality, both me and the defence lawyer are just following what is right and clearly defined in the Advocates’ Act as to what is the role and responsibility of a counsel. This image that a defence lawyer is attempting to prove innocence of the guilty strips away a lot of depth and dynamic from the situation and should be avoided”

-A public prosecutor from Patiala House Court, Delhi, who requested anonymity

While criminal lawyers are the most frequently topics discussions like this, legal players of the corporate should not be overlooked. More often than not, a crime involves two parties. On the other hand, the sheer magnitude of the ramifications of a financial misdemeanour blankets so many parties, it is almost impossible to keep count. The verdicts of such cases tends to put into effect a cycle of betterment or ruination. And again, the character on any lawyer involved gets drenched in a big question mark.

“It is natural to be curious of whether people like me feel guilty at times while defending corporate moneybags who have been accused of crimes like tax evasion, bank loan default, which essentially is public money, and other scams.  Well…..a corporate client is just like any other client be it from a civil dispute or a criminal charge or even family discord. Like all other accused he/she deserves able representing in court of law and all other attributes of a fair trial. To presume that somebody is guilty by virtue of being rich is turning the essence of law upside down and doing grave injustice to this hallowed institution of justice. Yes, as lawyers, we do need to see that we don’t become an instrument in the hands of an accused and an accomplice in any injustice committed but then our education and our training has equipped us with the necessary weaponry to negotiation our way without compromising on professional ethics”

-Sanjay Batra, corporate lawyer, High Court of Delhi

Being a good lawyer demands detachment from any emotive motivations. Being a good lawyer demands that, unless and until you are in a situation where you cannot objectively devote yourself fully to the matter at hand, you cannot refuse someone who approaches you. Being a good lawyer demands that you defend bad people. The only inference that can be derived from this is that for there to be an overlap between good lawyers and good people, the parameters need to be slightly altered.

The primary context of whatever has been said so far is an outsider’s perspective, people for whom incidents like these are mere headlines. When you stand to lose or gain from the verdict of a trial, who is the underdog you root for? Is the person on the stand an innocent victim of circumstance? Or is it someone for whom ‘consequence’ has been interchangeable with ‘money’? Is the public prosecutor truly representing the everyday man, attempting to correct imbalance caused by skewed resources? Or is the criminal lawyer a vigilante of sorts, striving to protect the innocence of an innocent?

“I remember reading about some popular criminal case, people were taking sides and the majority had made up their mind that the defending party is guilty. The outcome of the case was not guilty. Does that mean the defendant was really not guilty or were they just rich enough to afford the best counsel and walk away without a scratch despite being guilty? While we do know that it is a lawyer’s job to provide the right counsel to their client and do their best to prove their innocence, would it be wise for a lawyer to represent a client who they know might be guilty. I am not saying that the lawyers shouldn’t provide representation to people who “seem guilty”, because there might be a chance that they are in fact innocent. Our constitution works on the presumption of innocence, “innocent until proven guilty”, so it is up to the prosecution to prove the defendant’s crime and the defence to prove their client’s innocence. (Something about burden of proof.) There is a very fine line that the lawyer has to tread in this case, and whatever they choose to do, in my opinion, does not say anything about them as an individual as they are just doing their job.

-A second year DU student who requested to remain anonymous

So far, it seems, any lawyer who is true to his profession cannot remain true to his moral values. Then, ideally, the second-best option is to be an ethical lawyer (not person, lawyer). For once, we can consult the conventional mandates of right and wrong without ending ourselves up in an eternal conundrum. The only way someone fighting against the very fundamental of right and wrong can strive for redemption is to be honest in the process. Deal with witnesses fairly, do not tamper with evidence, ensure in any way you can that the integrity of the trial and the investigation isn’t compromised.

While all this would certainly exempt a person from any ethical misdeed on paper, the question of whether lawyers are, in essence, truly good people or instruments of crime and societal menace is something we will continue to wrestle with, at least for the foreseeable future.


Naina Priyadarshi Mishra


The tote bags, the kurtas, the jhumkas, the sandals, the Sarojini of it all!

Diversity is possibly the primary thing that counts as a niche when it comes to DU. While it is claimed proudly, the inherent urge of wanting to belong and recognize another as one of your own has quite conveniently led to one of the most diverse and heterogeneous institutions developing its own separate, sense of style.

Beginning with the one that has aesthetic pages in a universal chokehold, the tote bag. While, in my own humble opinion, backpacks are more convenient, tote bags have gained popularity by targeting the need to be seen as individuals. Instead of a generic-looking backpack of primary colors and zips, tote bags can be customized to reflect your politics, your interests, or your favorite Taylor Swift lyric. (Also, for us introverts, isn’t it convenient to have something to hold?)

This arm accessory, which goes well with everything, is frequently paired with a kurta. It can be simplistic or bold, plain or intricate, and not expensive. From Sarojini to Lajpat, shops abound in every color and design you can think of, all for a low price (lower still, if you know how to haggle).

And of course, no good outfit is complete until it is complemented by the right footwear. Flip-flops, sandals, and sports shoes are the most prevalent kinds on any varsity, and with good reason. People often underestimate just how much of college life is essentially just walking. And as much as I’d like to show up in fabulous boots, just the idea of having to endure that pain that excruciating is enough to make me reconsider. Style loses yet another battleground to comfort and sandals reign as the supremely preferred and situationally appropriate choice of shoes.

Once your basics are good to go, in comes jewelry. Rings, bangles, oxidized jhumkas, the works. Just pop on one (or all) before leaving your house and you will have succeeded in guising yourself as a DU student.

And despite all these, the best part of the DU aesthetic is its affordability. Of course, you’re free to turn up in your Louis Vuitton but know that Sarojini is going to the showstopper. While money doesn’t dim entirely here (or anywhere), any judgement you might get from strangers in the corridors does not exist.

It’s impressive how the massive student body has found a style in which they can all come together and exist as one, while also retaining their individual identities and celebrating them as often as they can.

Naina Priyadarshi Mishra

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