NLSIU Registrar Dr. Nigam Nuggehalli Appointed on GOI Panel

We congratulate Dr. Nigam Nuggehalli, Registrar, NLSIU, who has been appointed by the Government of India as a member of the Approving Panel for implementation of General Anti Avoidance Rulings (GAAR). The three-member statutory committee will decide on the application of the GAAR, under the Income Tax Act, 1961, to transactions referred to the Panel by the income tax authorities. The GAAR is meant to apply to transactions that are considered as abusive or exploitative of the tax legislation.

According to an official notification released by the Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance, the other two members of the committee are Shri. Rajat Bansal, Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, New Delhi, and Justice Chander Shekhar, retired Judge of the Delhi High Court, who will chair the committee. The term of the approving panel is one year.

Speaking on his appointment, Dr. Nigam said: “I look forward to serving on the Approving Panel. I have been researching GAAR related issues for some time now and it’s a great opportunity to contribute to the GAAR framework in India.”

What Did NLSIU Read In 2021? | Part I

Curious about what was on NLSIU faculty members’ reading list during 2021? We sure are! As we begin a new year, we asked our faculty members to reflect on the year that passed by and share with us some of the books they found most meaningful in 2021 and why.

We begin this series by featuring three faculty members from NLSIU this week. Find out what impressed them most about these books, and why it made it to the top of their lists.

Part I of the Series:

 

Sushmita PatiDr. Sushmita Pati

Book Title: The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Author: Amitav Ghosh

Why this is my pick: The book begins with the violent conquest of Banda archipelago by the Dutch in the year 1621 for nutmegs and takes us all the way into the contemporary horrors of COVID-19. It retells the history of the world to talk about the ecological crisis staring us in the face. He tells us a non-linear story involving anecdotes from different parts of the world, snippets from literary classics, and human stories of a migrant, a shaman and sometimes his own. This book is a classic.

 

 

 

 

 

Sony PelliserryDr. Sony Pellissery

Book Title: Thondra Thunai

Author: Perumal Murugan

Why this is my pick: Perumal Murugan’s description of childhood in agrarian society in his book Thondra Thunai (Tamil) was touching. The book is truly inspirational in its telling of how inner courage can be developed to overcome the pressures of social norms. Didn’t Indian farmers just display the same kind of courage through their persistent year-long struggle to repeal the farm laws, which led to their eventual victory?

 

 

 

Sabarish Suresh

Book Title: The Imaginary Institution of Society

Author: Cornelius Castoriadis

Translator: Kathleen Blamey

Why this is my pick: In this stunning work, Castoriadis manages to radically reorient studies of social structures by conceptualizing an idiosyncratic notion of the social ‘imaginary’. By moving away from traditional Platonic ontology (eidolon) as well as psychoanalytic conceptions of the imaginary (à-la Jacques Lacan), Castoriadis weaves a unique analysis of social institutions as being based on an ‘imaginary’ fabric. He does this by incorporating a revolutionary Marxist theory of the social along with a subject-centric theory of the structure. This will be fundamentally useful to not just Marxist theory and poststructuralism (which has undermined the subject at the cost of the social), and psychoanalytic criticism (which has often, at least before Lacan, stressed on the personal at the cost of missing the social), but also, perhaps first and foremost, to readers of the law, a system which is replete with legal ‘fictions’. Castoriadis’s work is an epistemological investigation of the fictional, the imaginary and the imaginal, and will be profoundly beneficial to anyone interested in how structures imagine and how the social converts the imaginal to the real.

 

CCL Commences Phase II of ‘Bread for the World’ Project

The Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, commenced the second phase of the ‘Bread for the World’ project on October 1, 2021. The project  seeks to ensure food security for marginalised people in India. The Centre conducted the the first phase of the project from August 2018 – September 2021. The second phase will be conducted over a three-year period.

About The Project

The first phase of the project aimed at ensuring food security for the marginalised people through enabling progressive implementation of the National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013. A systems strengthening approach was adopted and the capacities of the stakeholders were built along with highlighting the key issues and gaps in implementation of the law. The Centre conducted studies in the following areas:

  • The role of the State and Judiciary in ensuring food and nutrition security in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Response of state food commissions in the context of COVID-19
  • Policy alternatives for food and nutrition security in India apart from manuals for members of Panchayat Raj institutions, Bal Vikas Samitis, vigilance committees, State food commissions and civil society organisations.

In the second phase, the project will focus on engagement with the community to strengthen their capacities and make use of the grievance redressal mechanism under NFSA. This is being done along with strengthening capacities of the officials who are discharging these duties under the Act.

Team

The project is led by Dr Neetu Sharma, Coordinator of Centre for Child and the Law and Programme Head of the Right to Food Programme. The other members on the team are Ms Jyotsna Sripada, Ms Shruthi Raman, Mr Kumaraswamy T and Ms Sudha S.

About Bread for the World

Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) is a development and relief agency of the Protestant Churches in Germany. With a network across 90 countries, they empower the poor and marginalised to improve their living conditions. Key issues of their work are food security, the promotion of health and education, the access to water, the strengthening of democracy, respecting human rights, keeping peace and the integrity of creation. Brot für die Welt takes steps to make sure that there is enough food for everyone.

NLSIU’s Regulatory Governance Project to Assist the Reserve Bank of India

The National Law School of India University is happy to announce that its Regulatory Governance Project is set to collaborate with the Reserve Bank of India’s Regulations Review Authority (RRA 2.0) in streamlining and rationalising the RBI’s regulatory functions. The collaboration will be for an initial period of three months.

The Reserve Bank’s RRA 2.0, was constituted in April 2021 and is headed by RBI Deputy Governor M Rajeshwar Rao. The recommendations of the previous RRA in 1999, simplified regulatory procedures, and paved the way for issuance of master circulars and reduced reporting burden on regulated entities.

RRA 2.0 will focus on streamlining regulatory instructions, reducing compliance burden of the regulated entities by simplifying procedures and reducing reporting requirements, wherever possible. It will recommend ways to make regulatory and supervisory instructions more effective by removing redundancies and duplications.

The Regulatory Governance Project will extend it inputs and support to the RRA 2.0 in the following areas:

  • Developing a suitable framework for codification of regulations such as unified annotated codes or compliance handbooks
  • Developing tools for drafting regulatory instructions. Developing improved and consistent communication practices such as introductions to regulations, guidance notes, FAQs and compliance calendar
    – Formulation of Compendium or Handbook on Compliance Instructions
    – Standardisation of the manner of articulation of FAQs / guidance notes / mailbox clarifications issued by RBI

About the Regulatory Governance Project

National Law School of India University’s two-year research project aims to enquire into how Indian regulatory bodies can reimagine their systems and processes for the 21st century. The project has been working on generating original research aimed at ‘restocking the regulatory toolkit’ for India. The research will identify the administrative aspects and norms of regulatory authorities and their parent bodies that can be optimised to create autonomous, accountable and effective institutions.

Read more at: reg-gov.nls.ac.in

Meet our faculty member | Harsha N

We extend a warm welcome to Harsha N, NLS ‘LLM 2016, who recently joined NLSIU as Assistant Professor. He previously worked as a law officer with the Airports Authority of India where he was involved in matters pertaining to tender, environment, construction, labour, commercial contracts among others. He has also worked as a transactional lawyer where he advised multinational clients with business interests in India.

We asked him to share more about his interests and his work.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself/your background?

I hail from Bangalore, and completed my B.A.LL.B.(Hons.) from Hidayatullah National Law University and LL.M. from NLS. I had the opportunity to work at the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and on transactional matters in a law firm. These diverse experiences have broadened my perspective towards the industrial approaches to law. My keen interest in the theoretical side of law has inspired me to start my academic career after gaining experience on the professional front.

2. What are your main areas of teaching? How did your interest in these areas begin?

I teach Environmental Law and Financial Market Regulation (FMR). During my previous professional engagements, I had encountered situations where the knowledge of FMR helped me in dealing with complexities of transactional matters and government contracts. There were also situations wherein I was able to contribute to add new dimensions in the workings of PSU based on knowledge of FMR. It captured my interest when I experienced that a contract structured on FMR principles could bring clarity in complex transactions.

During my work at AAI, I was also involved in matters pertaining to environmental issues and thus developed an interest in the tight rope walk between environmental law and developmental activities. Laws governing environment protection are primarily anthropocentric and when the interest of human development takes precedence over protection of environment there are instances of violating these laws. The margin for error is absent in environment protection and certain actions are from a point of no return. I always felt frustrated when human development and self-centred interests of certain groups were destroying the environmental balance and hence, I would like to work towards protecting the environment.

3. In your opinion, please elaborate on the importance of these subjects you teach at NLS.

Financial Market Regulation and Environmental Law are areas that impact each one of us with or without our knowledge. The dynamism of Financial Market Regulation keeps one involved in the field to be a part of continuous changes in financial markets. Currently, machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology are the driving forces of markets. Financial market adopts technologies and are developing financial instruments at a very fast pace. Law regulating the market has to develop addressing the issues especially investor protection and asymmetry of information.

Environmental Law is facing challenges with rapid industrialization and economic development. Environmental law is seen as an impediment to development, but on the contrary, it is a field that governs the behaviour in the developmental activities. There are contrasting perspectives on what is allowed and what is not like in the instance of the forest dwellers required to relocate outside the core forest areas and there is tourism developing near the forest areas. There cannot be a denial of the right to livelihood of the two groups and but which one should take precedence is evident. Environmental law has numerous conflicts that need to be addressed and to protect the interest of those who cannot reach the pedestal of justice.

4. Since you are also an NLS alum, could you briefly share your experience at law school?

My law school days were a highly enriching experience. I had the opportunity to learn from inspiring professors who not only motivated me to push my limits in the classroom but also in my professional life. The seminars during my LL.M. year allowed me to delve deep into research on different areas like cryptocurrency and revenge pornography. The theoretical underpinnings that I learnt at NLS helped me overcome professional challenges with ease.

5. Your thoughts on starting your teaching journey at NLS? What are your plans ahead?

It feels great to be back! After having been a student here, I’m looking forward to being a part of the faculty. I endeavour to translate my professional experiences into my classroom teaching and also theorise the same in due course.

NLSIU Welcomes MPP Batch 2021-23! 

Welcome to the 8th Cohort of the Master of Public Policy programme!

The University recently marked the beginning of the two-year interdisciplinary MPP programme that focuses on law as an interface between inclusive sustainable development and public policy.

“It is inspiring for us to see students from such varied backgrounds take an interest in public policy. This year, we have students from Economics, Engineering, Political Science, Sociology, Law, History and Finance & Accounting, which makes it stimulating for us as well,” said Chairperson of MPP Council and Associate Professor, Dr. Sony Pellissery.

Every year, the MPP programme sees a remarkable mix of students from a variety of academic and  professional backgrounds. The 8th cohort of the MPP programme has 30 male and 40 female students. 50% of the cohort bring relevant work experience in assignments such as managing flagship programmes of governments, managing large projects in private companies and working in research organisations. The batch also represents a wide variety of ethnic diversity, drawing participants from almost every region in India.

Innovative Pedagogy

The course has adopted an innovative pedagogy which combines reflective learning through classroom discussions, in-field exposures, solving problems for real-world clients, internships and a research dissertation.

Doyita Basu

Background:  Doyita Basu (B.A. Hons., Political Science), is from West Bengal and has worked as a part of the UN Global Compact Network India and Inkpot India, among other things.

Why the MPP Programme?: “Post my UG programme, I was looking forward to subjects that were research-intensive as well as application-based in their approach, and it was the MPP programme that offered this perfect blend. I am hoping to learn the nuances and practices of research, as I wish to pursue higher education in the future. I am also keen on understanding an application-based approach for all the concepts that I learned during my undergraduate days.”

 

 

 

Aditi Vasudevan

Background: Aditi Vasudevan is from Tamil Nadu. She graduated with a degree in B.A. Social Sciences last year, and has interned with several organisations, including Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged and Horizon Lanka Academy.

Why the MPP Programme?: “I was particularly attracted to the MPP programme as it had a unique nexus between public policy and law. I believe it will hone my quantitative abilities; which will create a balance with the qualitative practices TISS honed during my graduation days. And the emphasis on internships and fieldwork greatly enhances all theoretical understanding. It is my dream to work towards bridging the problems with education in India, especially in view of the large divide between urban and rural resources.”

 

Creating Impact

The MPP programme is designed to train young professionals to become policy practitioners capable of supporting inclusive and sustainable development. NLSIU emphasizes a dialectical pedagogy that encourages students to question the complexities in the practice of public policy.

Sharath Chandra

Background: Sharath Chandra is a civil engineer from Karnataka. He worked as a Research Intern at IISc- Bengaluru for a year.

Why the MPP Programme?: As a part of a 70-year-old family business, he chose to take up the MPP programme to make a difference. He said, “My family has been in the construction business for more than 70 years now and it was quite obvious what subject I would take up for my bachelor degree. In 2019, I graduated with a degree in civil engineering with a good CGPA. But I always wanted to bring about change in the environmental sector, and I believe the MPP programme will help me create an impact.”

 

 

Srishti Rongpipi

Background: Srishti Rongpipi (B.A. Hons., Psychology),  is from Karbi Anglong, an autonomous tribal district in Assam. She has worked with several NGOs and welfare organisations, namely Uttaran Special Education Foundation, Growing Buds School and Srishti NGO.

Why the MPP Programme?: “For many decades, my district was plagued with statehood-demand violence and insurgency. Witnessing this turbulent nature of politics instigated a deep interest in the Constitution, governance and policy-making. I travelled India extensively for various collegiate debate tournaments which ultimately sparked my academic transition from Psychology to Public Policy. With NLSIU’s MPP programme, I could find the underscored the relevance of law in policy-making. Being a part of this programme holds a significant meaning for me as it will play a part in the realisation of my life-long objective of becoming a public servant for my state; and contributing towards tangible growth and restructuring of my community.”

 

The NLSIU community welcomes the new cohort, and wishes every student the best in their journey of academics and beyond!

 

NLS Faculty Member Receives Indian Law Review Prize 2021 | Preeti Pratishruti Dash

 

We congratulate NLS faculty member Preeti Pratishruti Dash for winning the Indian Law Review Best Article Prize 2021 for her article: ‘Rape adjudication in India in the aftermath of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013: findings from trial courts of Delhi’.

Reacting to the prize, Preeti said: “I am deeply honoured to have received this prize, and it is a huge encouragement to pursue research on difficult topics. I owe a huge thanks to Prof. Janet Halley at Harvard Law School who supervised this paper as part of my LLM thesis, and Prof. Mrinal Satish and Prof. Prabha Kotiswaran, both of whose work inspired me to take up this project. I am also truly grateful to the editorial team and the reviewers at the Indian Law Review who made the publication process incredibly smooth.”

She is one of the two joint winners of the ILR Best Article Prize this year, from among all research articles published by the Indian Law Review in 2020.

 

On why she chose this topic:

Elaborating on why she chose to pursue this topic for her paper, Preeti explained that the paper questions the current trend in India of relying on punitive, carceral solutions in response to sexual violence against women. She hopes that findings from her paper will help initiate conversations around the inherent problems of the criminal justice system in India, and further an understanding of why an unjust system cannot provide solutions to violence against women.

“I also hope that in the coming years, there will be a lot more empirical research that unearths the disparate impact of the criminal justice system on the marginalised, thereby discouraging women’s rights groups from seeking so-called feminist solutions within criminal law,” she said.

Abstract of the paper:

This paper asesses the impact of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 (CLA-2013) on rape adjudication, by examining 1635 rape judgments from trial courts of Delhi pronounced between 2013 and 2018. Of these, 726 cases were adjudicated under the old law, of which 16.11% resulted in convictions and 909 cases were adjudicated under the CLA-2013, of which 5.72% resulted in convictions. Analysing this data, the paper argues that absence of engagement with criminal justice literature linking mandatory minimum punishments with higher acquittal rates, led to unintended consequences, like reduced convictions under the CLA-2013. The paper also finds similar patterns between nature of rapes and reasons for acquittal under both laws, highlighting that mere legal reform, unaccompanied by governance and social reform, does not yield far-reaching results. The paper concludes by questioning the use of criminal law as a site for feminist reform.

To read the full article, click here: Rape adjudication in India in the aftermath of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013: findings from trial courts of Delhi

 

 

Alumni Feature | Aparna Mittal on Samāna: Making a Difference with Equality

In 2017, Aparna Mittal, NLS ‘LLB 2005, had worked with some of the leading law firms in the country, and been a Partner for over five years. While her work was intellectually exciting, somewhere in her journey, the NLSIU alum felt that her worldview was beginning to get limited to the “privileged bubble” she lived in.

It is this thought that gave birth to India’s leading consultancy focused on equality and inclusion. Samāna Centre for Gender, Policy and Law, set up in 2018, specialises in gender and LGBTQ inclusion. About her vision, Aparna says “I believe in multidimensional learning and professional growth, and have always wanted to do more than what the defined path entailed. I had a very clear vision for how I could use my experience and skills to make corporate India  and workplaces inclusive, equitable and safe for all segments of diversity such as gender, religion, faith, ethnicity, race, age, abilities, caste, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation and more.”

However, given the Indian market, the initial phase was not devoid of challenges. Aparna invested a significant amount of time building awareness around the business and legal imperatives of equity, equal opportunity and inclusion. “In the first year, a lot of our work entailed seeding these ideas in India and in the corporate landscape. In the past few years, our advisory work and curated interventions and programmes have impacted more than one million people, and have garnered interest from clients in Europe, APAC and the US,” she added.

Today, the venture engages in multi-themed advisory work across impact investment and ESG, entrepreneurship development and financial empowerment, workplace diversity, equity and inclusion, gender mainstreaming in philanthropy, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment frameworks. “A key differentiator in Samāna’s approach is that our work and inputs are comprehensive and highly customised for clients’ business and sector. We work holistically,  covering legal, policy, data analysis, human resource, D&I, and all related aspects,” Aparna posits.

Last year, Aparna was invited to join the advisory board of ET HRWorld, a human resources-focused platform of the Economic Times, and the Task Force on Diversity & Inclusion set up by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI); both with an aim to give direction to and guide corporate India’s efforts on equity and inclusion.

Imbibing Inclusive Living

Aparna spoke about her years at NLSIU, saying “In addition to a strong foundation in law and social sciences, law school taught me the importance of independent thinking and critical analysis, which is an essential tool for any lawyer, as it helps you approach any issue or problem with knowledge and confidence, and bring your own unique perspective to it.” Aparna Mittal was the Vice-President of the Student Bar Association (2003-04) , and graduated in 2005 with a BA LLB (Hons) degree.

She believes her time at the University played a pivotal role in her personal and professional development. “Given the vibrant and diverse student community, faculty and staff at NLSIU, it also gave me the rare opportunity to closely work, live and interact with people from across India (and abroad as well), and in doing so really imbibe what inclusive living and multiculturalism is all about.”

Words of Advice

“Use the time at NLSIU to discover and explore your own unique personality, your ideologies, values, and skills; try and figure out what your own aspirations are, what area of law do you enjoy engaging with the most, what form of legal work do you find the most fascinating or exciting; and develop a strong community of friends and allies to last a lifetime.

“Making choices based on quality, range and depth of learning and experience (and not merely based on quantitative goals or peer-pressure), will always give you a strong foundation – no matter what direction your professional life takes (or even if you change directions, like I did, after more than a decade of practice!).”

NLSIU announces Research Project on Digital Public Records | Call for Applications

The National Law School of India University is excited to announce its Digital Public Records Project. The two-year research project is supported by Thakur Foundation, and will focus on research, engagement and policy advocacy to chalk out ways in which accessibility and transparency of public records can be improved in India.

Background

A key vision in the Union Government’s Digital India programme is ‘Universally Accessible Digital Resources’. Although the vision documents discuss open formats and interoperability, by focussing on resources rather than records, this articulation elides the question of the legal status of public information, and whether the government is obliged to provide accessibility across a range of data. 

Despite the existence of specific laws and policies, much work remains to be done before India can boast of meaningful access and use of public information to improve public accountability. In the absence of a normative framework that addresses the status of public records in the digital era, practices across government agencies have naturally varied widely. As a result, sharing of such public records largely fails to meet substantive goals of transparency and accessibility.

Project activities 

  • Noting the fact that openness in digital government requires intervention from different fields and perspectives, the project will conduct an interdisciplinary conference involving people who work on these issues in different fields – archivists, historians, public policy scholars, civic tech and right to information actors, as well as data platform builders from public and private institutions. Their perspectives will help shape the agenda for the researchers in this project. Follow-up events will be conducted at the midpoint and end of the project as well with the same set of participants.
  • The project also intends to publish a series of papers taking a deep dive into the practices of the executive when it comes to record-keeping. The focus will be on practices, policies, notifications etc., at the Ministerial or Departmental level, which form the most direct basis for the government’s handling of records. For this series, government records will be classified into broad categories, such as
    – Records that are legally public, such as subordinate legislation, public orders, policy documents, circulars etc.
    – Financial records
    – Internal government communication
    – External government communication
  • With these inputs, the project intends to develop a draft framework law that harnesses experiences and approaches within and outside India, and attempts to clarify the legal status, standards and executive obligation with respect to public records in India.
  • The project will also explore ways in which public tools and datasets can be built as demonstrations of the recommendations made. Efforts will be made to collaborate with interested institutions in this regard.

Call for Applications

Research Fellow

All roles are full-time based out of the NLSIU campus in Bangalore. Due to COVID related restrictions, engagement may begin on a remote basis.

Role Description

  • Develop and implement the research agenda for the initiative under the supervision of the project lead.
  • Conduct original, empirical research on identified issues
  • Leverage new and existing advisory networks and partnerships across academic institutions, research organisations and government. 
  • Participate in, and organise platforms for discussion of issues related to the research.
  • Lead the dissemination of research findings and policy-relevant insights.

Who should apply

  • A degree in law, and either a Masters degree or relevant post-qualification experience
  • 2+ years of post-qualification academic or professional experience
  • Excellent research, writing and communication skills.
  • Familiarity with contemporary law and policy issues.
  • Experience in designing and executing research projects will be preferred.

How to apply

Write to with the subject heading “Application for Digital Public Records Project” with – 

  • Your CV
  • A published writing sample or extract on an issue of law, technology or public policy (not more than 2000 words)  
  • A short statement of purpose (not more than 500 words)

Deadline for applications is 18th July, 2021.

Acknowledging three decades of dedicated service | Rathnamma

On June 30, 2021 Ms Rathnamma retired after dedicating over 30 years of her life to NLSIU. We thank her for the years of committed service, irrepressible enthusiasm and work ethic and wish her all the very best for her life ahead. She recalls her journey with the University and recounts key memories along the way.

Sixty-year-old Rathnamma’s small frame belies her levels of enthusiasm that exceeds that of most younger students. She disarmingly asks all those she met in the NLS corridors “Oota Ayta” (Did you eat your lunch?) or “Yenu Naashta” (What did you eat for breakfast?).

Her association with NLSIU goes back right to its years of inception, and after working in the Lower Management Service in the University, Rathnamma retired from the University after 32 years of service.

Beginning of the NLS journey:

“My younger brother was working as an attender in the Bar Council Office when he met the NLSIU Founder-Director Prof (Dr) N R Madhava Menon, who employed him as an attender in the University. Prof Menon would enquire about our family from time to time and I would also help his wife with some work. He later offered me a job at the University. I joined NLS on March 13, 1989, a few months before my brother’s death. I worked in the Central College premises for about four years before the University shifted to the Nagarabhavi campus.”

Life at NLS:

“There were very few people on campus at the time and construction was still underway in the Nagarabhavi campus. Many current and former faculty members were young students when I started working here. I remember telling a few of them off for making a lot of noise during the evaluation process by the examination department,” she reminisced with a smile.

I used to help in sweeping and cleaning the premises, readying classrooms before the start of term and other such jobs on campus. I have helped across various departments but my primary work was an attender in the reception area. I would also check in on our faculty members if they needed anything from time to time. Several of them would bring snacks and even share it with me, which was touching.

After several years of service, Prof Menon said that I should be given easier jobs since I was older and so, the younger attenders were given the cleaning jobs. I was then shifted to the Examination department (now known as the Academic Administration department) where I have been working for the last 10 years. My daughter Mangala also worked with the Distance Education Department for a decade in the University.

Lemon tea, a speciality?

Rathnamma also seems to take great pride and joy in what she serves. “Several times, teachers would have lectured for long hours and would just want something warm and soothing for the throat. So, they would ask me to get them some hot water, tea, or coffee. Even the former Vice Chancellor Venkat Rao would tell me, ‘Whenever I come, you need to prepare some nice coffee for me’,” she said.

But Lemon tea seems to be Rathnamma’s specialty from how she describes it. “Many people had a habit of asking me for lemon tea. I usually make it with ginger, lime and some mint leaves.”

During this interview, when I expressed I had never gotten to taste this special concoction, Rathnamma promptly said “You come, I’ll make it for you!” And in less than an hour she had already made the lemon tea and brought it to my desk, stating, “You need not step away from your work. I will bring it to you.”

Fond memories:

“Several students took my phone number while leaving the University and even when they came visiting the campus, they would come see me every time, she recalled fondly. Recalling her interaction with members of the University, she said: “Prof Menon would call me “Nanna Magalu” (My daughter), and whenever he interacted, would check how I was doing and if anyone was giving me any trouble.”

Rathnamma also speaks Telugu quite fluently and she attributed this learning to Prof KC Gopalakrishna, a former faculty member at NLSIU. “He would speak to me in Telugu and I would speak to him in Kannada so both of us improved on the languages we didn’t know well,” she said.

Looking forward:

It’s been 32 years of service. I have also grown old and have the usual aches and pains that age brings with it. There is a time for retirement and one can’t keep wishing to stay and work when it is time to leave. It applies to everyone in any job no matter what the position. I am surrounded by my siblings and their families and now there is more time to spend with them. Now, I just want to stay home and relax.

Rathnamma’s farewell: Vice Chancellor Prof (Dr) Sudhir Krishnaswamy with Rathnamma and Registrar Prof (Dr) T S Somashekhar.