July 19, 2024

Vagmare.com

The Intersection of Information and Insight

Dr. Soma Battacharjya, Academic Dean of DSNLU, Vishakhapatnam

4 min read

Interview conducted by Divya, a 2nd-year law student of Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakhapatnam as a part of her Campus Leaders Program with Lawctopus.

I would introduce myself simply as a teacher. That is my sole identity. My job is to show the students the path and instill the habit of thinking in them.

The moment they start feeling safe about thinking differently and come up with unconventional ideas and realize that they would not be misguided, my job is done. The students will find out the rest in their own ways if they keep working on it. 

From my childhood itself, I knew that I was going to be a teacher. My mother was a teacher, my father also started his career in teaching and later joined MNCs. It therefore exists in my blood. I am content when I teach.

At present- Cultural Heritage because I did my PhD on this, specifically tangible cultural heritage. Since we are in danger of losing our intangible legacy and it must be conserved, I wish to continue working in this area. Its folklore, dance, and music are remote and isolated.

The role of a teacher is to spark curiosity.

That is only possible when we have understood the concept. I cannot transmit the same spirit if I am not persuaded, intrigued, and share the same excitement. Class should not be a chore for us; rather, we should look forward to it. 

With complexity, there is an interest because there are so many layers to see through, and I feel if I am interested I can generate that. If the students see my interest, that immediately draws their attention.

It depends on the subject, cannot stick to one particular method. For example- a lecture for elaboration and layers, using PowerPoint with the lecture for topics like research methodology, using videos for public international law and showing the students glimpses while discussing ICC trials.

So it cannot be a single facet but should be a mixture of methodologies. 

Basically our university was strict. Study meant study for us. There were extra classes and extra hours for new, complicated topics.

I believe in not setting lofty goals. Take small steps, accomplish it and take it forward.

You won’t ever feel under pressure if you put in the work, work consistently, and divide your time. You will succeed academically and professionally if you divide your time equally among several tasks.

AI cannot be relied upon solely. In the end, we have to create. “Machine must function; man must think.” Although it may make suggestions, we still have the final say.

The creative element is up to us and how we may use it to our advantage. Can it motivate students, replace the teacher, or make lectures more interesting? There are numerous factors. A human cannot be replaced by technology. That would be dangerous for society if we did it.

With respect to law, students can explore various scopes. Even today society believes that if nothing else is there, law is there. Many of us are programmed that way. But when a student enters a law school they realize how many opportunities they have.

A good paper presentation in a reputed international journal may take you to a new height that the student may not have realized. It is not only a law firm but working with international law commission and inventing a new law with respect to the new regime, something unexplored. Your limitation gets expanded here. You start thinking broadly.

When you stay in a hostel, you learn a lot about human nature and become more mature than any average student who does not have the same exposure. I feel that when you stay with your parents they guide you but here every day brings challenge. Basically, you explore yourself and learn a lot about yourself. 

We were very studious people. However, the infrastructure lacked development. Although we had computers and the internet, the range was not as wide as it is now. But now students have much more exposure and the fear is that they would be subject to the wrong kind of exposure. 

Our favourite times were when we had a break in between classes and a cup of tea. That must still be the case today. Students are thrilled when they have a free period.

We used to browse the library’s historical, literary, and classical sections in addition to its law division. We were fortunate enough to have the Dr. Hansa Mehta Library, which was the greatest library in Asia. Library was a very happening place for us. 

It is going in the right direction. We should let things happen and wait to see where they take us because we cannot predict it. The next generation will determine the future, not me. This generation can decide how they want to respond, in my opinion. But don’t confine it to a single viewpoint.

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