The NUALS Journey: A Road Towards New Horizon
The NUALS International Maritime Law Arbitration Competition (NIMLAC) was a dream for us. At the beginning, we didn’t know if we can make it or not. Everything happened at the eleventh hour. We applied for the visas and booked our tickets on 2nd April. We collected our visas on 4th April at 5 pm and then took the bus to Kolkata immediately at 5.30 pm. And the journey to NUALS began.
We, the Bangladesh Team reached Kolkata by bus on 5th April at 7 pm. Then we roamed around Kolkata New Market area for a while, experienced the street foods, and had a chat with two persons about Bangladesh. They were very much interested in visiting Bangladesh at least for once in their life as they knew the history of our Language Movement. Then we took the Metro Rail from Esplanade to Damdam at around 10 pm. Our flight was scheduled on 6th April at 5.45 am. So we had to wait for almost 7 hours at the Netaji Shuvash Chandra Bose Airport. The airport was the biggest airport we have ever seen in our life. There, we met a person from Uttar Pradesh who was travelling to Mumbai for his higher studies. We had a long chat with him about country, cultural differences and mostly, the cricket. The discussion made the waiting worthy after all. After the announcement, we boarded the flight for the very first time in our life. Then the journey shifted from ground to over the clouds. We flew from Kolkata to Hyderabad and then took another flight from Hyderabad to Cochin.
The time was at or about 12:30 pm on the 6th of April and the airplane landed on the runway of Cochin International Airport, Kerala. Soon after the announcement for the passengers to depart the flight, we got ready to leave the beautiful airport. The Bangladesh Team was going to participate, as the participants, the 5th NUALS International Maritime Law Arbitration Competition 2018 (NIMLAC) being about to take place in the campus of The National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi, India. We took pride in being assigned to be the only team from Bangladesh.
After walking out of the departure section of airport, we could not make answers to a couple of questions: where to go and how to go. However, we went for an easy solution. We contacted with the organizers of NIMLAC for further direction. They made a very sincere response to the phone-call and constantly made themselves feel sorry for their not being able to stay present at the time of our departure at the airport. After passing several minutes at the airport, we found their car to receive us. It took us to our accommodation at the hotel. We reached at the hotel at about 1.30 pm and made our reservation confirmed at the reception. The team coordinators informed us that there would be a bus to escort the participants from the accommodation to the NUALS campus at 2:00 pm. So we had to hurry to be ready for that accordingly.
The NUALS campus is situated in a place apart from the city, closer to the rural areas of Kochi. The bus ran on the clean and concrete roads of Kochi rounded by the blessing of the beauteous nature. However, we found our destination after a while, the elegantly decorous campus, the NUALS campus. The bus crossed the gate and stopped before the Seminar Building. We, along with all the other participants, headed towards the seminar room according to the direction of the coordinators. There were a number of tables arranged in several rows flagged with team names. We took our assigned seats. Interesting fact is, having been in a tiresome journey for several hours; we found it a bit relaxing being seated in the air-conditioned seminar room.
The ice was broken with an announcement that Ms. Natasha Sailopal, a practicing partner at Brus Chambers, Mumbai, who was ranked by Legal 500 as a leading individual for litigation and arbitration in the Asia-Pacific, was coming to take stand before the microphone to deliver a lecture on Maritime Law with the clarifications of the basics and practical utility of it. Her power-point presented lecture was an impressive one and took almost 3 hours in drawing an overall picture of Maritime Law, to our mind, covering from zero to hundred on a summary basis.
After the lecture, the time for opening ceremony was at hand. The ceremony was opened inflaming a special kind of lamp (probably it is more famous there rather than cutting ropes in terms of opening a ceremony). The light of the lamp made the room filled with celestial senses. The introductory speech and welcome speech were respectively voiced by Mr. Asif E., Assistant Professor and Faculty Advisor, Moot Court Society and Mr. Shinto Mathew Abraham, President of Student’s Council, NUALS. Then, the time for Presidential Address was saturated by the speech of Professor D. Rose Varghese, the Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor of NUALS. To be honest to express, we can still remember her energizing speech with her voice.
Taif and Badhon along with the other teams of NIMLAC 2018
“Everybody is winner here. When you have been selected by your institution to represent the same is enough to come to a conclusion that you have taken the taste of victory.”
Those lines still echoes in our mind and makes us believe that there should be no room for being depressed at anything. She encouraged the mooting culture as an instrument of upgrading practical education in the arena of legal studies. She reckoned preferring sincere observation and adoption of the practical legal education to the adoption of the theoretical one. At last, Mr. Rohit Sharma, Secretary, Moot Court Society & Student Convenor, NIMLAC, came on the stage with his Vote of Thanks to all of us.
There was a scheduled Researcher Test. It was quite new for us as we have never faced it before. One of us, Syed Tanvir Azam Taif sat for the test as the Researcher of Team Bangladesh. The test caught our eyes as a new mode of relating researcher to the competition. In other moot competitions as we see till today, the role of the researcher remains passive in comparison with the role of speakers during the very hours of the competition. And in this particular competition, we understood that the researcher’s sit has got polished further by being entrusted with the chance of playing active role during the very hours of competition.
Handing over the SCLS Law Review to the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of NUALS,
Professor Dr. Rose Varghese
Afterwards, the teams were allocated with the role of applicant and respondent against each other for the Preliminary Round I and II. We, the Bangladesh team, were scheduled to play the role of respondent against Symbiosis School of Law, Pune and applicant against National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi. After the role allocation, the teams were announced to be ready for the memorial exchange. We exchanged our memorials with the respected teams.
Then the day ended with the dinner with the native foods of Kerala almost all of which were unknown to us. We, just out of our curiosity, took several South Indian food items but we failed to have them properly as they were fried with coconut oil. In Kerala, coconut oil is very popular for cooking. Though we were not used to the foods, we tried a little from all of them. Fortunately, there were three items (chicken, parathas, and a type of pitha) that were eatable for us. Later, we came to know that those foods were specially made keeping our presence in their mind. We realized the depth of their hospitality then.
The next day started with a very refreshing breakfast with a number of South Indian and Bengali foods. Then the bus took us to the campus. The preliminary rounds took place as per the schedule. Standing in front of the foreign teams, we got a lot of educative and wonderful lessons yet to be learned and a lot of mistakes yet to be rectified by us. We caught the lessons and mistakes with the best of our abilities for securing the future betterment of ours in this aspect. We tried our best in facing the rounds but we could not make it all the way to the quarter final. We did not visit the quarter final as there was a lecture ongoing by of Mr. Hari Krishna, the CEO of Nimble Legal, a legal consulting and legal technology research business that provides legal advice to businesses in high-risk industries. He delivered an excellent lecture on how to make an international career in maritime law illustrating the practical aspect of his own career. While he was denoting that he was a student of Tulane University, we were remembering our beloved teacher Mr. M. Jashim Ali Chowdhury, who also was a student of that prestigious institution.
The day also ended with a fantastic dinner. But the after dinner program made the day a bit more special. Seeing a guitarist on the stage of the hall, Badhan Ghosh proposed one of the organizers that he would like to sing a song on the stage. They became more excited than us hearing the proposal. Soon they arranged everything to make the performance great. Badhan sang several songs in Hindi and Bengali accompanied by innumerable musical mistakes. But what made us actually amazed was that the audience shouted, clapped and encouraged on whatever Badhan sang. The information that we came from Bangladesh made them very much happy and thankful. Still the Bangladesh team cannot forget their adoring class of hospitality!
On the 8th of April, we set out from the hotel to visit the semi-final and final rounds. Soon after reaching to the venue, we attended the semi-final round. The teams fighting in favor and against the moot proposition were probably the finest of all. We found ourselves in a dilemma to anticipate which team was going to win or which one to lose. After the semi-finals, the result was published highlighting the two teams going to have a fight against each other in the final rounds. In the final, we thought of ourselves fortunate to witness an extremely class of fight between the top 2 teams. The fight was adjudicated by a panel of renowned judges who were in the name of Mr. Joy Thattil (Advocate, High Court of Kerala), Mr. V. B. Hari Narayan (Partner, United Maritime Law Chambers, Kochi), Mr. Amitava Majumder (Head, Mumbai Arm, Bose and Mitra and Co.) and Mr. V. Bala (Advocate & Solicitor, Supreme Court of Singapore).
Team Bangladesh holding the flags of Bangladesh and SCLS
Later, the closing ceremony of the grand event began. When we went to the stage to receive our certificates after the announcement, the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor Professor D. Rose Varghese thanked us especially as we were participating from the farthest place. After the distribution of certificates, we handed over the SCLS Law Review to the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor. It was a moment of pride when she received it curiously and praised us for such initiative. She also ensured us that the law reviews would remain in the journal section of NUALS Library. Soon after all these, the photo shoot event began. It was an honor for us holding the flag of Bangladesh and SCLS in the foreign land. The feeling that we were having at that moment is beyond description.
Everyone was very friendly in NUALS. The organizers managed everything smoothly to make us feel home. They helped us in every way they could, even with our return tickets. So it was tough to say goodbye to all. We started missing them then. Mr. Rohit Sharma came along showing his gratitude towards us. Two faculty members also met us to say goodbye. We also showed our utmost respect to them. We left NUALS campus, with some beautiful memories, and with some eternal delight that never fade away.