Raising South Asian Voices

Cynthia Dettman:  Author

Tamil woman wins “India’s Best Law Student” award

Bhargavi Kannan, a 23 year old Tamilian law student,  won the award for India’s Best Law Student in June 2018.  I recently spoke with Bhargavi by phone, as she is right here in the USA.

Bhargavi completed a five-year law program at the Ambedkar School of Law, School of Excellence, in Chennai.  She wasn’t very impressed with the quality of that program, but on her own steam did very well in moot court competitions.  Her team won several awards during competitions around India, and finally after an in-depth interview, she won the Best Law Student Award.  She believes she won that award in part because she spoke about the need for human rights advocacy in India and her desire for better support for students with disabilities in law education.

That Award brought with it a scholarship to study law in the US.  “That was fantastic,” she says.  From there, the US Government has granted her a one-year opportunity to work in the US.  She is now working at an immigration law firm in Virginia which caters to the needs of privileged, educated immigrants coming to the US.

However, Bhargavi has a big heart.  My guess is that she will end up working for marginalized communities. Bhargavi became a close friend with a visually impaired law student in India and more aware of the needs of people with disabilities.  She also greatly admires her own cousin, who walks with crutches and is married to a man with cerebral palsy.  Bhargavi wants to work in the field of human rights.

I congratulated her on being a 23 year old unmarried Indian woman coming to the US by herself to pursue career opportunities.  She says her family is very educated, her father is law-educated, and they are very supportive of her goals.

Since my novel’s protagonist is a female law student studying at the same institution from which she graduated, she will be able to give me a lot of helpful, contemporary feedback!   Bhargavi has also kindly agreed to send me contacts in Chennai, including her own family and law associates, with whom to speak when I come to India this winter.  And she has agreed to review my novel when it’s ready for the “authentication test”- does it reflect human realities in modern Tamilnadu?

Enjoy this article about Bhargavi’s accomplishments.  Congratulations Bhargavi!

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