[VoxSpace Life] Law And Magic : NUJS Ties Up With The Ministry Of Magic

Educational Institutions Of Kolkata On A Spree To Acquaint Students To Wizarding World   

Department of Magical Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Magic and the Department of Mysteries have their own share of a conundrum. Rowling’s Potter series is incomplete without its legal status and dictates in the wizarding world. Politics and ideology remain an essential part of children’s literature, which in turn enables readers to reflect upon the social reality that is being alluded to. Harry Potter is perhaps one of the pronounced examples of such an instance, where moral choice and social evils are intertwined in such a manner that would probe deeper into the institutional corruption of the state.

Harry Potter Law University Course in INDIA's National University of Juridical Sciences

In a pleasently surprising turn of events, National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) has decided to include legal aspects from J.K Rowling’s magnum opus Harry Potter in the syllabi from the oncoming semester. It would be included as an elective to the 4th and 5th-year students pursuing the B.A, LL.B Honours programme.

The course titled An interface between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special focus on Rowling’s Potterverse has already fetched an over-whelming response from NUJS students. This queer infusion of a make-believe world with the drab monotony of studying law would definitely make the students more alert.

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Glories To Professor Guha For The Amendment

Assistant Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha opted for a slight alteration of the century-old orthodox curriculum that the law school was following up until now. The statutes of the world of Muggles and wizards, dark magic, racism and racist crimes directed against elves, goblins and mudbloods all form a major segment in the revamped syllabi.

The much discussed ‘magic fountain of Magical Brethren’ that fosters the idea of pureblood wizards and their superiority in society by virtue of their race would be quite a deviation from the set of subjects that students had been made to study till now.

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Assistant Professor Shouvik Kumar Guha

In an interview to The Telegraph, Mr Guha elucidates on the plaintiveness of the former course syllabi “The curriculum revolves around the hard letter of the law, case laws etc. Given the fact that this course lasts about five years, students also get bored,” he said.

Law, its misuse, and delusion from it are tremendously relevant in Harry Potter series, with its abundance of allegories providing for an understanding of how power helps in sculpting and moulding cultural practices. Harry Potter, considered to be a literary canon in children literature, would further open threads of conversation and debates amongst students, who are willing to analyse deeper the different components of law in society.

The real-life legal yardsticks can be applied to Rowling’s magical world of Hogwarts’ elite education and a society rotten with power mongers and staunch racists. Professor Guha, a Potterhead himself, is enthusiastic in welcoming such parallels being drawn between both the worlds.

It would furthermore help the students stumble upon practical limitations of law and state institutions when functioning in relation to social order and individual’s personal choices. Rowling has left a hint of arbitrariness parading in the name of rule of law in Harry Potter. It would definitely push the students to study law with a new perspective, by meddling into these two worlds of fantasy and reality.

Alohomora To The Potter’s Closet

NUJS puts special emphasis on the degenerating social order of Potterverse along with its subsequent deadly implications. Rowling has briskly touched upon areas like the using press and media for propaganda, open prejudice against the muggles- Dolores Umbridge’s open hatred for muggles as she resorts to pretentions when in power. NUJS would be including these readings in the classes for deeper analysis.

Next, they will study about Azkaban, more of a netherworld and less of a prison is utterly sadistic in nature without an inkling of civil discipline or moral obligation towards the inmates. Curtailing of the freedom of the press, as the Daily Prophet used for spreading fake propaganda, is tremendously pertinent to the modern times and should no longer remain restricted to the readers’ bookshelf.

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The law department of NUJS wants the students to traverse through these regions in order to tighten their hold on law and the subsequent implications on society and their immediate surroundings.

Professor Guha also hopes to publish a bulk of the research works, as compiled by the students of NUJS, which would be an enriching read for all the Potterheads. “I was introduced to Potterverse in my tenth standard. Since then I have read the books multiple times.” Guha is, in fact, more familiar with the bric-a-bracsm of Rowling’s world than Company Law.

December To Set The ‘Magic’ Wheels In Motion

As the classes are about to start in December, the inclusion of Harry Potter into the course might be a breakthrough in some of the eminent institutions of Calcutta primarily started with the 161-year-old University of Calcutta. It would put NUJS at par with the other world-class universities that offer classes designed to discuss peculiarities of this fantasy fiction.

The Kansas State University, for instance, probes into the political aspects of the social hierarchy in Potterverse where on the other hand, Frostburg University aims for the scientific realities lurking hoodwinked by the magic of Potterverse. As NUJS is to be engaged with the law, Yale University’s concern is with the Christian tenets and doctrines as made explicit in the HP series.

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To be precise, students will deal with the role of various institutions (Ministry of Magic and the like) in Potterverse within the framework of major legal yardsticks, crimes and other transgressions (curses, Wizengamot Trials and wrongful accusations on Sirius Black). Class identity and politics, and the problem of marginalization of a section of the wizarding world (Mudbloods, Squibs, Centaurs and Werewolves), Potterverse Economy will also be included.

Like the cherry on top, the readings would also be sprinkled with miscellaneous magical ingredients like Quidditch, technological anarchism, stereotypes steeped deep in the world of Hogwarts, influences of Dante, Spenser and George MacDonald on Potterverse.

It is just not meant to be a delightful treat to savour by the law students alone but, is meant to enrich every literature lover, fantasy fiction lovers, science, and philosophy students as well. The course opens up thousands of interpretations for reading the series anew, without distorting its original flavour.