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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Meet the man whose unique method of teaching law through Harry Potter is inspiring scores of students

A glaring truth that we are faced with every day is that the education system in India needs reforms. From 3 Idiots to Hindi Medium, numerous films have also portrayed the reality.

Films, however, can do little to bring about a change unless the authorities, and those who are directly a part of the education system, step in.

A perfect example is the subject English literature, which is creative and imaginative in nature. Several schools and colleges, however, prefer to make the students mug up the chapters and gear up for examinations, paying little heed to whether they enjoy studying the subject or not. 

The education system is all about exams and little about enjoyment.

While the system refuses to change, one day a man in the city of Mumbai came along — with law and literature intertwined beautifully inside his bag — as a blessing to his students.

Shouvik Kumar Guha, a voracious reader, is a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. His Potterhead days began when he was 15, and was a member of as many as 10 libraries.

Now, according to all Potterheads, they belong to one of the houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry — the houses being Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Shouvik, he says, is a Hufflepuff.

“Harry Potter and the inclusivity of the Hufflepuff house remained undiscovered until my English teacher recommended it to me. That was my introduction to the Potterverse, and what an introduction it was– everything from the Weasley’s to The Order fascinated me,” Humans of Bombay quoted Shouvik as saying.

“As I went through the typical Muggle hum-drum and studied law, I felt like the way our subjects are taught lacked soul…lacked magic. So after I graduated and got an opportunity to teach law at my alma mater, I jumped at the chance… maybe I could inspire my students in my own way. I just needed to find a medium to do it,” Shouvik adds.

“I wondered how we could teach law by telling students the purpose behind it. So I went back to what I knew best– Harry Potter and decided to create a curriculum that taught legal principles like equity and justice within the world of witchcraft and wizardry! My college administration approved and thankfully, I got a great bunch of students to board the Hogwarts train with me!” says Shouvik.

Their discussions ranged from the regulations of the Ministry of Magic to the innocence of Sirius Black (a character falsely framed in a crime), from the implications of Gringotts Wizarding Bank on the economy to the etymological analysis of the name ‘Hermione Granger’, one of the three lead characters in the series.

One of the most heated proceedings in the classroom was a mediation between Harry Potter and the Dursleys; the Dursleys were Harry’s disrespectful aunt and uncle at whose house he had to grow up after his parents were killed by a Dark Wizard named Voldemort.

“I had 40 students in my class and every single one of them did well in their exams– they loved the course! One student actually said that she participated in the class discussion in this course more than all her courses combined. As a teacher, nothing gave me more happiness,” Shouvik says.

“I’m honestly just trying to be a better teacher and student at the same time. I’ve realised that the best way to be an adult is to hold on to our childlike wonder and then it all falls into place– I solemnly swear by it,” he adds.

Here’s wishing Shouvik the Potterhead immense success in his career.

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