After having spoken with one of our co-founders, Swapnil Verma, we bring to you our conversation with Sankalp Sharma who was also a co-founder of the NLIU Law Review. Mr. Sharma is now the managing partner of a litigation firm and still continues to actively contribute to the journal as a peer.
Here is what Mr. Sankalp Sharma had to say about his decade long journey with us so far –
Q1. What drove you to establish the NLIU Law Review? Were there any difficulties you faced in publishing the first volume of the journal?
The real credit for the initiative must go to Prof. (Dr.) Ghayur Alam and Swapnil, and for the determined effort, it must go to the first team of NLIU Law Review or the “student body” as we loved to call it. I, for one, was more of a spectator to a brilliant event unfolding before my eyes; my contribution to the Law Review can be best compared with the water boy of an amazing playing 11.
But before I venture into how it all started, I cannot stop myself from mentioning that it was the 2010 batch that saw history unfold before itself in too many ways. We were the last to have studied at the old campus, the Gyan Mandir was inaugurated before us, the list is endless…I believe when you are part of an institute that grows before you, inevitably, you also try or make an effort to contribute something to that growth.
In our time, we were lucky to be taught by great professors, and all of them always focused on good research and writing, but it was Prof. (Dr.) Ghayur Alam who always used to tell us the importance of research coupled with a worthy publication. Many a times he would name great journals, and over a period of time we realised that most of these famous journals are run by student bodies and not by institutions as such. In our classes and discussions, Alam Sir would probe all of us for an effort to begin a student run journal and make it the best that there is. Amongst all of us, I would not shy away to say that it was Swapnil, who not only inculcated and improvised on what he taught us but kept on holding to the idea of making this work.
In 2010, when we were in our last trimester, I vaguely remember having a conversation with Swapnil and a few of our friends after a class with Alam Sir and there was this realisation that we have pushed the issue too far. Somewhere towards the end of January and early February of 2010, we started placing a plan together; if I remember correctly, we went from batch to batch and informed everyone to come and meet us on some day in some classroom, the idea was mooted and participation was sought.
So, to answer the first part of your first question, what drove us as a team was the desire to build something that could be a part of the institution for years to come; irrespective of the fact as to who started it and how it survived the tough times, one day the institution as a whole would feel proud to be associated with it.
Now, to answer the second part of the first question, the difficulties were many – in my time at college I had seen many ideas go to waste for lack of planning and proper execution, coupled with the fact that not everyone would share the enthusiasm that one may have about a particular initiative. So, the first and foremost difficulty was to attract the crème de la crème of the institute and to make them believe in something that we did. Thus, I say that the real people worthy of praise and admiration were the young members of our team who not only grabbed on to the idea but with their sheer determination made it a success. If you will go back to the first issue and see the names of people who were part of the student body, and see where there are today, you will find that they were the best of the lot and proved their mettle in both academic and professional life.
Once we had a team, the next task was to make it completely self-reliant and independent of interference from the University administration. This required not only the drafting of the Constitution but also assignment of roles in a manner that would result in maximum co-operation and least friction. I assume that at the back of the mind of each and everyone, the most difficult task was how to make the Law Review worthy of its name and recognition, how to stand out and how to create something that will just not die down over a period of time.
Everything, right from the posters for the Call of Papers to publication guidelines, was made with an extra bit of effort and zeal. I must say once that it was Swapnil’s brain that actually made this endeavour possible in terms of the vision, planning and the ideas for each of the hurdles that may arise in the future. In retrospect, it may seem that anyone could have done all of this and started the Law Review, all the difficulties and hurdles seem so simple to overcome. However, keeping in mind that it all started with a young team with no experience and no one to fall back, I believe that the student body did an amazing job.
Q2. What was your vision for the journal? How far do you think the journal has come towards achieving it?
My vision for the journal is rather simple, I want the articles in the journal to be referred as study material across the globe; I want our journal to be referred by not only our courts but courts across the globe, and thus I say we have a long way to go. However, I have no doubt in saying that we have come a long way over the years. I have seen team after team working towards making the journal better and witnessed students work selflessly towards something that may not give them the same amount of glare and recognition as may be a moot or a debate. I should summarise by saying that we are on the right path, and all that we need to do is to keep moving.
Q3. Any advice for the student members of the Law Review, prospective authors of the journal or its readers?
My advice to the members of the journal is to ask yourself this every time you think of the journal – how can we be the best? Am I putting in my best effort or is there more I can do? To the authors, I would say, keep on looking for new ideas and new areas to work on, keep yourself aware of the current as well as the historical aspects of issues that surround us today and those that have surrounded us from ages altogether. To the readers of the journal, I just have a word of thanks and gratitude, because it is their word of mouth that has till now and will ultimately in the future help the journal reach the heights that all of us have worked for.