Kajal Dalal from the Class of 2016, has been selected for the Young India Fellowship. She will be pursuing a Multidisciplinary Post Graduate Diploma Programme in Liberal Studies that will begin from July 13, 2017 at Ashoka University, Sonipat.
The Blue Pencil: What kind of a selection process does Ashoka University follow when it comes to Young India Fellowship?
Kajal Dalal: Application Round :
Evaluation is done on the basis of your academic performance and involvement in extra-curricular activities through school and college.
The most important part of the written application according to me, are the essays having a word limit of about 150 – 200 words. They need to include your motivations, expectations and reasons as to why you seek admission to the fellowship. As long as you are honest and can express your said intent through your essay, that will guarantee you a spot for the telephonic interview.
Telephonic Interview Round:
The same from personal experience, is a brief conversation not exceeding 15/20 minutes, pertaining to the content mentioned in your application and a few questions about your areas of interest.
On the Spot Essay Writing:
The essay is based on the content of your application. 30 minutes are designated for the same. My essay was based upon a passage that had to be critically examined, listing out the pros and cons of the same.
There is no set pattern of a YIF interview. I doubt any two fellows have a similar experience. I was interviewed by two professors. It was the most interesting interview I have ever had! I was asked to enact a cross examination in court. The questions included but were not limited to the current legal scenario, challenges faced by our legal system, history of the various eccentricities of courts. I was asked my views on the ever famous, His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru and Ors. v. State of Kerala and Anr.! All in all, the interview in itself in an experience worth having!
TBP: According to you, what are the traits and qualities that are required for securing the fellowship?
KD: I don’t think I am adequately qualified to answer the question! However, owing to its unique nature, the programme doesn’t have an ironclad profile of a fellow. In my view, the fellowship primarily aims to seek a passionate individual with a proven interest in any chosen field, but with requisite knowledge and humility to want to learn more along with a willingness to be open to different perspectives and ideas, which might be contrary to one’s own.
TBP: What are your expectations of the Fellowship?
KD: The fellowship by nature being multidisciplinary encompasses a diverse set of subjects with experts taking us through them. The fellowship will enable me to delve into these subjects while letting me explore the various facets of law and achieve my aim of understanding where all law can be put into use.
The fellowship takes students from various walks of life, the energized of the lot from various disciplines and has exceptional faculty and opportunities. Being in such an environment will make me push myself to my maximum limit and challenge myself and in turn, broaden my knowledge.
TBP: The curriculum of YIF is considered to be very comprehensive as it encompasses a wide range of subjects. Could you throw some light on what would you be studying there?
KD: The courses taught at YIF vary each year, primarily because the faculty comprises not only teachers and practitioners from India, but, Visiting Faculty from Universities and Institutions across the world. However, there are some core courses that are repeated and are mandatory for all Fellows to complete, like Foundations of Leadership, Art Appreciation, Mathematical Thinking, The Political Economy of India’s Development, Academic and Research Writing, Economics and Public Policy, Shakespeare and the World. Additionally, the core courses also include subjects related to gender studies, history of India, among others.
TBP: Do have any advice for students wishing to apply for the Fellowship?
KD: It’s brilliant exposure. The kind of opportunities and resources available at Ashoka University are phenomenal, both in terms of infrastructure and the human resources, i.e. the faculty and student pool. The scope of growth, both personal and professional is extraordinary at YIF. It also promises to be amongst one of the many opportunities in the country, to effectuate change and act as a stepping stone in figuring out in what capacity we can contribute to the evergreen process of nation building.