IDIA and it's Pune Chapter
IDIA (Increasing Diversity by increasing access to legal education) started out as a student-run movement in 2010 and late (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer, the founder was the brain behind IDIA. IDIA runs on the backbone of its student volunteers, drawn from leading law universities across India.
These student volunteers travel across the length and breadth of India to identify and sensitize underprivileged students to the power of the law, and the diverse range of career options that await them. Interested students are screened through a carefully designed basic aptitude test and are then put through a rigorous training schedule for 2 years, including classroom coaching from India’s leading law entrance (Common Law Admission Test or CLAT) coaching centers and trainers.
Once an IDIA trainee is admitted into a law school, IDIA arranges for scholarships to support their education. IDIA also attempts to improve policies and regulations in the area of inclusive legal education and diversity within law schools and, consequently, within the legal profession. IDIA’s job does not end with merely facilitating law school admissions for underprivileged children. Rather, the ultimate goal is to produce leading lawyers and community advocates who are sensitive to the issues of the society and are capable enough to deal with them in a legal manner and IDIA takes under its wings various underprivileged students and helps each IDIA Scholar to blossom to their fullest potential. IDIA has set up its base in various law colleges of the country such as the Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Hyderabad, and other such chapters and the Pune chapter is one of the youngest extensions of IDIA slowly building up and working towards its goals.
An Ode to Dr. Shamnad Basheer
The very nature of IDIA, the organization whose aim is to make law and legal education accessible, possible and inclusive to students from underprivileged backgrounds, divulges a lot about the character and the towering personality of its founder, late Dr. Shamnad Basheer. He was known for his multidimensional academic career, for being an IP genius, for founding several initiatives such as SpicyIP, P-PIL and Lex Biosis, for his contribution in the landmark Novartis case, for his pioneering work in the field of IP law in India and for being a brilliant professor and legal scholar. However, he is most widely recognized and fondly remembered for inspiring students, for being a mentor and a guide on their journey in investing towards a bigger cause. Students were central to most of Mr. Basheer’s work, as an academician, Professor and a social entrepreneur and IDIA is the largest manifestation of it. Students worked incessantly on his projects, voluntarily. Under his leadership, competitive law students could be motivated to undertake arduous efforts in recruiting, training and coaching IDIA scholars, students from underprivileged backgrounds. He instilled ethics for voluntary work and empathy in the minds of youngsters, in a field largely known for its cynicism. He is fondly remembered by friends, colleagues and students for his kindness, faith, creativity and most importantly, the ability to see potential in everybody. He believed that true empowerment comes from the freedom to make one’s own choices and not just funding someone’s education and this philosophy remains at the core of IDIA’s work. Under his tutelage, IDIA has transformed lives and it is this legacy that we aspire to carry on.
IDIA’s Pune Chapter
The Pune chapter started in the year 2017 and is currently being headed by Apoorva Shukla. Our team consists of 26 members, with Soumyashree Ray Chowdhury as the deputy leader in-charge of Sensitisation, training, and materials, Ahan as the deputy leader in-charge of fundraising and social media and Aakanksha Ranjan as the Information Officer. Till date, the team has conducted 21 sensitisation sessions since the inception.
We have had our own success story with one of our trainee - Vaibhavi, who hails from Zirad, a village in coastal Maharashtra, and has been selected in the esteemed Gujarat National Law University in 2019. Currently, we are organising more sensitisation sessions with hope to find such students who need our help to achieve their goals.