Inlaks Scholars 2017: Abhinav Sekhri, Alisha Sett, Anushka Siddiqui & Aradhya Sethiya
In a three part series of posts this month we will be introducing to you the Inlaks scholars of 2017.
I stumbled upon the law nearly eight years ago when I joined the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, and thanks to the generosity of the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, am now on my way to pursue my Graduate Studies at Harvard Law School.
I have been practising law in the trial courts of New Delhi since completing undergraduate studies in 2014. My professional interests are criminal law and procedure, and I hope to use my time at Harvard Law School to better understand the rights constitutionally to criminal defendants in India, especially in context of economic offences. I have been quizzed about this decision to focus on an area so early in my fledgling life as a lawyer. The best I can offer in response is to point to Horace Rumpole of the Old Bailey, borrowing his words to say that criminal law matters, and that’s what drew me to it.
I think my interests in the law come from my love for reading and writing. Books of all shapes and sizes surround me wherever I go, as my bags showed upon returning from Mumbai yesterday. I remain extremely partial to the amazing prose of Michael Ondaatje and Julian Barnes, and am an equally avid reader of material on Indian history between 1857 and 1950. I try and assimilate what I read into my understanding of how the world works, which helps shape my views on the law as I write. My academic work has been published by different journals across India. Of late, though, I have spent equal time running a blog – The Proof of Guilt (www.theproofofguilt.blogspot.in) – to explain and discuss issues relating to criminal law in India in an accessible manner to help stimulate debate.
Alisha Sett is a writer. She contributes regularly to The Hindu. In 2014, she co-founded the Kashmir Photo Collective, a digital archive that aims to create an alternative photographic history of the Kashmir Valley. Since its inception, KPC has archived over 3000 images and continues to invite contributions from families, individuals, photo studios, and other institutions.
Through her work with family albums, Sett was invited to curate an exhibition from the Rescued Film Project archive for the Focus Photography Festival in Mumbai in March 2017. An Attic Full of Film became the first public exhibition of the images taken by Paul Martinak – a Czechoslovakian steel mill worker in East Chicago in the 60s and 70s – photographs chosen from 1200 rolls of film recovered by his children and Rescued Film after 50 years. The show took place at the Ferreira House in Khotachiwadi, itself one of Mumbai’s most prominent family homes and heritage structures with a lineage going back over 200 years.
In 2013, Sett was an Edmond J. Safra Network Fellow. This fellowship from Harvard University gave her the opportunity to begin her fieldwork in Kashmir. In September 2017, she will begin an MA in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She is part of a Special Option headed by Professor Julian Stallabrass Documentary Reborn: Photography, Film and Video in Global Contemporary Art. During her time there, her research will focus on the history of documentary photography and archival practices in the subcontinent.
Sett has a B.A. from Tufts University where she studied Political Science and English and was a student of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice.
Anushka Siddiqui is a graduate of Economics from Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) Delhi University, as well as an alumna of the Young India Fellowship. She has keen interest in issues of policy and governance, borne of work experience at the central, state and district levels of the Indian Government through consulting projects with McKinsey & Company and Samagra Development Associates.
For the past year, Anushka has been working with the Himachal Pradesh Directorate of Elementary Education on a systemic transformation program to improve education quality. In the fall, Anushka will be studying for the Masters in Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School where she will focus on education policy and management. Anushka has been designated a “John F. Kennedy Fellow” and received a full tuition scholarship from Harvard University, as well as the Inlaks Shivdasani Scholarship. In her personal time, Anushka loves to read (she has an eclectic taste in fiction- her favourites range from To Kill a Mockingbird, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Palace of Illusions, but above all Harry Potter) and eat (she spent most of her free time in Shimla exploring its gorgeous cafes).
Aradhya Sethiya will graduate from National Law School, Bangalore in 2017. He will be joining Yale Law School in fall 2017 to pursue LLM. He has earlier clerked for Justice DY Chandrachud (Supreme Court) and Justice Ravindra Bhat (Delhi High Court), and has assisted in research and drafting of 244th and 255th Law Commission Reports. At NLS, he has worked with the Legal Services Clinic for four years, and has served as the Chief Editor of the Indian Journal of Law and Technology, and Editor of National Law School of India Review. A recipient of H.M. Seervai Gold Medal in Constitutional Law, Aradhya has been widely published, including by Oxford University Press. He has represented NLS at several mooting and debating competitions, along with being a finalist at Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge. What fascinates Aradhya is how we understand law and legal institutions in the context of emerging information society. At Yale, he intends to study courses on constitutional law, and law and technology. He wishes to contribute to the law through legal policy and academia. Apart from law, he takes a keen interest in politics, Hindi-Urdu literature, sufi music and PJs.