Parvaz Lamba is currently in his final year of the five-year law programme at Jindal Global Law School. In this interview, he looks back at life in JGU, his internship experiences in Kashmir, the most important influences in his life, and talks to us about the road ahead for him.
Q: What is your favourite thing about life in Jindal and what is the one thing you wish was different?
P: I wish the flag wasn’t here. (laughs). To me, it is a symbol of imposition of some form of identity or ideology that’s perpetually here.
What I like about this place, it is in its own weird way a very safe space for me right now. I don’t have to bother thinking what I’m going to do now or tomorrow and it’s just easy to be here.
Q: What did you want to grow up to be as a child?
P: I had no clue what I wanted to be and when I started realizing what a career meant, by then the notion was that an engineer was all a person could be and that was the only way you could have a good life. So probably an engineer then?
Q: How would you like to be remembered in this place?
P: Just as a respectable person, I guess. Yesterday I watched a movie in my elective called “Pyasaa” where the main character is a poet whose main aim (pyaas) is to be recognized and respected for the poetry he writes; he doesn’t even care if he gets any money or anything for it. I think for me, it’s probably like that, whatever work I did, if it’s right, then that’s all I would like to be remembered for. Just as a person who did something and was respected for that.
Q: What is the one thing you do for yourself and nobody else?
P: Only for myself? I watch movies.
Q: What kind of movies do you like watching?
P: That depends upon my mood, sometimes I’m in the mood for horror so I binge on horror movies. For the last couple of nights, I’ve just been watching thrillers because I’ve just been in the mood for it.
Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life?
P: In my life, there have been two people- Palak Sehgal and Parveena Ji [Ahanger]. Palak was a senior here and somehow whatever work I did or whatever I learnt here, inside or outside of class, was only from her. She broke stuff down for me and the work she did, I could see the reasons behind her doing it, how she went about it and where that work was coming from and her stance on it. That inspired me and has made me aspire to do more things.
Parveena Ji is an inspiration in a different way. She is obviously the Iron Lady and the courage and strength which she has is infectious and spreads to whoever she speaks to. Her organization is also full of amazing people.
Q: Why don’t you tell us a little more about her organisation [ADPD] and your relationship with it?
P: I have just been an intern there and the most important I learnt from the entire organisation was the idea of humanity. It has also taught me how to respect other people’s basic rights- even those as basic as breathing rights and breathing in free air! It started with that and the relationship with them is still ongoing. I’ve still be interning and I’ve been going there for three years now and plan on going further as well. That’s defining my career path right now, so it’s had a big influence on me.
Q: Because you spoke about how it’s defining your career path, what are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
P: In ten years? Probably in some classroom teaching about the same things I’m doing right now which are topics that deal with conflict, development, violence and state oppression among other. Just your basic, everyday ‘anti-national’ stuff. [laughs]
Q: What is the one thing people may be very surprised to know about you?
P: Probably the fact that I’m a jaat? I do not connect with those roots. You know how there’s always this stereotypical image of a community? I don’t fit in with that image at all. When I’m among jaats, the pride they have, is something I don’t want to be associated with. So I don’t consider myself or want to be associated with them but I am a jaat. If it’s important to someone, I can’t really change it.
Q: What are you most proud of yourself for having done?
P: Going to Kashmir. That was out of the blue, I had never planned on doing that and I had never thought that it would have such a large and lasting impact on me. I’m really glad that I took that decision and went there very spontaneously, It has worked out really well for me. It was a gamble which I took and one that I’m grateful for.
Q: If you had one day of no responsibilities, and you could do whatever you wanted to, how would you plan it?
P: I don’t think I have any responsibilities right now either so most of my days go by with me doing whatever I want to. So it’s doing the work I do for myself, read a little bit, listen to music and watch movies and shows. It’s basically whatever I do right now.
Q: If you could give any piece of advice to a large group of people on campus and outside, what would it be?
P: Just listen. And try to understand what the other person is saying instead of countering them. This is something I read somewhere “don’t listen to answer people but to understand them”.
Featured Image clicked by Shubhalakshmi Bhattacharya.