Ms Priyanka Dhar is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Hidayatullah National Law University. Prior to joining HNLU, she has worked as an Assistant professor in Galgotias University, Greater Noida, U.P., Amity University, Noida, G.D. Goenka University and National Law University, Jodhpur. Priyanka has cleared UGC-NET in 2013 and CG SET in 2019 and has done her PhD (Law) from National Law University, Jodhpur.
She is editor of UGC recognized journals of national repute. She has publications in various journals and has contributed chapters in many books. Her area of interest include Criminal Law, Family Law, Criminology, Internet Laws.
Here’s the excerpt of the interview with Ms Priyanka Dhar
Legal Bites: Tell us about your journey as a law student and the challenges you faced.
Priyanka Dhar: I from the very beginning had decided that I wanted to pursue law. But I guess that’s not always enough and this lack of proper direction and guidance did cause me certain difficulties to begin with. I completed BSL LLB from DES Law College, Pune and LLM from ILS Law College, Pune. Now the difficulty that I really faced was when I enrolled for my LLM. 5 years of undergrad went by pretty much not doing any kind of academic research since there was no guidance that research papers are to be worked on or there is probably something like attending conferences.
The only saving grace was that I did intern all throughout my 5 years which did give me some amount of confidence but then internship while they are important, they don’t help much when you go for your masters and all of a sudden you are told to make projects which are obviously graded. So, the first semester of LLM was really difficult because I had to write research papers which I really wasn’t used to doing.
Legal Bites: When most people want to become a corporate lawyer or join the judiciary, what inspired you to become an academician?
Priyanka Dhar: Both in UG and PG, I had some of the best teachers whom I looked up to. While they were strict and yet when they taught, they were so patient, motivated, enthusiastic and determined that the most difficult subjects should come easy to all. Prof. Deshmukh was one such teacher who motivated me to join academics. I clearly remember how I messaged Sir that I wanted guidance on my dissertation and he on numerous occasions called me from the US to guide me through my work. I am indebted to teachers like him who are the reason for where I am today.
Legal Bites: You are a professor at a National Law University. Is the education culture in an NLU any different from other Universities?
Priyanka Dhar: The educational pattern of NLU is very rigorous which keeps students engaged round the clock. Many times, this helps in bringing the best out of students as they are literally managing so many different activities at the same time. This definitely gives them an edge when they enter into the professional sphere as they are prepared in advance to take the pressure and manage the deadlines very well.
Legal Bites: According to you, what are the qualities or skills a person aspiring to become an academician should focus on or work upon?
Priyanka Dhar: Needless to say, one has to work hard and keep oneself updated as an academician which I think stands true for any profession. But something that is very essential as an academician is to be patient and accessible as not everyone in the class will have the same level of receptivity. Also, as an academician, we somehow have this conception that “we need to know it all”, but as I have learnt from some of the best teachers, it is ‘sometimes’ ok to not know something, it’s just that you just need to be honest about it and get back with the topic where you faltered. This is way better than academic deception.
Legal Bites: What are your suggestions on improving the quality of legal education in India?
Priyanka Dhar: The most important step that needs to be taken up is revamping the course curriculum of traditional universities in the country and I say this from my personal experience. My peers in the NLU’s and private universities had a very rigorous course structure and were studying way more law subjects than I did. This definitely needs to be looked into. Also, we need to experiment with different teaching methodologies as academician which can also positively impact legal education in the country.
Legal Bites: We are all aware of how the pandemic has affected the routine of students and how their college experience has been taken away from them. What is your message to motivate them?
Priyanka Dhar: In these testing times, I hope that the students keep themselves motivated to be productive and keep moving not just towards their studies but anything they feel passionate about. Just do not give up hope as this too shall pass.