Internship Experience | Anshuman Sahoo | ActionAid India | Legal internship

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At a glance

College – Faculty of Law, the ICFAI University, Dehradun

Place of work – ActionAid India, Bhubaneswar office (an NGO)

Process of application – through college, but one can send an email along with a recommendation letter to Mr. Debabrat Patra at debabrat.patra@actionaid.org

Eligibility – undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctorate students from humanity and other related courses, that have a direct relation with the society, can apply for an internship therein

Duration of the internship – One month

Stipend – No stipend

Kind of work – field work near Sundargarh district, Odisha (located around 400 kms from Bhubaneswar) for detailed observation on the local tribal people and impact of Forest Rights Act (‘FRA’) on them. After the internship, I prepared an internship report titled ‘The Forest Right Act: Effectiveness of an effort to effectuate Justice’, which was more like a research paper and ran into 64 pages

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In detail

InterFeel (IF): Please tell us something about yourself. Where are you studying currently? What are your hobbies and interests?

Anshuman Sahoo (AS): I’m Anshuman Sahoo, a second year Law student from Faculty of Law, the ICFAI University, Dehradun. As a law student, I have a keen interest in exploring various fields of law. However, I’m particularly interested in Cyber Laws and IP Laws.

IF: Tell us something about your internship including stipend, duration and place?

AS: I got an opportunity to intern with ActionAid India, Bhubaneswar office (an NGO). There was no stipend, and the duration of the internship was that of one month. Talking about the place of internship, although I had to report to the main office once in a while, my main task was related to field observations that was at a distance of around 400 km from the main office in Bhubaneswar.

Duration of the internship – One month

Stipend – No stipend

Kind of work – field work for detailed observation on the local tribal people and impact of Forest Rights Act (‘FRA’) on them

IF: Tell us about the procedure to apply for the internship. Who all are eligible to apply for this internship?

AS: In my case, the internship was arranged by the college itself. However, one may also intern there with the help of a recommendation letter from the concerned college by contacting Mr. Debabrat Patra at debabrat.patra@actionaid.org. Undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctorate students from humanity and other related courses, that have a direct relation with the society, can apply for an internship therein. More information about the organization can be found on their website.

IF: Could you please highlight the work/research you carried out during your internship period?

AS: On the first day of the internship itself, I was asked of my preference as to what type of work would I prefer. As per my choice, I was sent to the field area for detailed observation on the local tribal people and impact of FRA on them. The field area was located near Sundargarh district, Odisha, and was at a distance of around 400 km from Bhubaneswar.

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Anshuman with local tribal people

Therein, ActionAid has a tie-up with a local NGO. My whole internship, except for the research project, was monitored and guided by the local NGO. In the field, I was to interact with the local tribal people and study the impact of FRA on their daily lives.

The internship was quite interesting as well as exciting as it exposed to me a whole new level of practical application of law. Finding accommodation was a problem, though. I used to stay in a local guesthouse which was around 25 kms from the field. My main task was to interact with the local tribal people, tribal leaders, government officials, and other NGO activists and minutely observe their outlook towards various aspects.

Talking about my findings, although I realized that FRA can be the strongest and mightiest possible tool to ensure tribal development through sustainable development, I also found that the powerful legislation is never being used to its full potential to realize the goals set by the preamble of the FRA itself.

After the internship, I prepared an internship report titled ‘The Forest Right Act: Effectiveness of an effort to effectuate Justice’, which was more like a research paper and ran into 64 pages.

The internship taught me the harsh realities of social development. It showed me how contradictory can be the meaning of development, and how it can have radically different meanings for different sections of the social strata. Through the internship, I also realized how the law can be the most powerful tool for development if properly utilized.

IF: Any cherishing moment you had in this period that you’d like to share?

AS: While working in a field, every moment becomes a memory worth a cherishing that would last lifelong. However, there were some moments which made me realize the disastrous inequality and injustice that the illiterate and downtrodden have to face. Those were really some emotional moments.

IF:   Any advice for juniors/readers?

AS: I would suggest every reader to go through such an experience for at least once in a lifetime, and I assure you, that will be worth the time and effort. Such an experience makes you realize so many things at once that you’ll never be the same again thereafter!

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We would like to thank Anshuman for sharing his experience with such passion and wish him all the best for his future endeavors.

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