Potterheads have finally something to cheer about, especially if you are a law student as a law university in Kolkata is offering a new course on Harry Potter.
NUJS Kolkata has come forward to encourage students to learn the legal aspects of J.K. Rowling’s fictional world and grasp the real-life lessons it has to offer.
While, Rashmi Raman, a former student of NUJS, first started a Potterverse-centric elective law course at the Jindal Global Law School in Sonipat in 2012, it has now been discontinued now due to exceeding class limit. This goes to show how Harry Potter series has piqued student interest in law.
Decoding the course
The course “An Interface Between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special Focus on Rowling’s Potterverse” will be offered as an elective subject to 4th and 5th-year students of the law programme at NUJS Kolkata.
Obviously, the course designed by Assistant Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha for the winter semester at NUJS is on a different line than those of the orthodox law curriculum.
The course will cover parts of legal traditions and institutions, crimes and punishments, economy, politics, contracts, morality, social values, identity and class rights, family and our favourite fiction sport Quidditch potrayed in Harry Potter.
In this course, students will learn to apply legal principles in a completely different way than the usual, and understand how things work through insights into a wizarding world constantly under government eyes.
Wondering about the incidents from Potterverse which this course will cover?
According to a statement released by the NUJS, the Harry Potter series strongly exposes the limitations of laws and institutions in comparison with the real world.
For instance, the infamous prison of Azkaban is usually built in a way to drive inmates to desperation and suicidal tendencies without giving them anyway back.
How the freedom of the newspaper in the Potterverse, Daily Prophet is curtailed and is used to spread propaganda amongst the wizarding world.
In numerous occasions, we see how the Malfoy’s, who are wealthy control and influence government policies and decisions.
We also see how the Ministry of Magic uses it representatives to torture children who dare to speak the truth and imprisons or executes wizards without the proper process of law in place.
Although this is at an experimental stage, this course sure provides a unique platform to these law students to reflect and compare the Harry Potter world with their own government.
Guha also says his assignments given to the students would be very creative in nature and hopes that some of the work can eventually be published.
What’s the motive behind this course?
Well, recently seen many landmark judgements being taken up by the Supreme Court which is leading to many social, legal and political changes around us which these present age law students need to adapt and respond to, according to Assistant Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha who designed the course.
“I could have designed the course based on our real political situation but it is not necessary that all my students will share my political leanings,” Guha told PTI in a phone interview.
So as the Potterverse is fiction, this would not create any political controversies but help students learn to apply their legal knowledge as well as take fun in studying completely different scenarios.
The other reason is that this brings a change from the routine courses including hard letter of the law, case laws etc that one has to study throughout the 5 years of his/her law school which makes things boring.
This course will take both me and the students out of our comfort zones,” said Guha.
“I was introduced to Potterverse in my tenth standard. Since then I have read the books multiple times. I am familiar with each and every line of all the seven books. So it will come to me naturally,” he added.
The seven books and eight movies based on the chosen one Harry Potter and his friends have already found a way into classrooms abroad and its time India too gives law students a different perspective to look at.
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