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Blending yoga with legal empowerment: An experiment of Paralegals

Nepalayatimes

Dhangadhi- Rita Parki started writing poetry years back because she felt there was no such thing called as justice. Justice to her meant power, money and muscle. Her family did not have any of these.

 

One day she met justice crusader Prabhakar Bagchand who not only listened to her poems but said, “I would like to see you as a Paralegal” . Paralegal was just a word for her then. Almost three years after the meeting she herself has been teaching her community folks about law. Rita has helped a destitute woman to acquire a citizenship certificate. She brought to light the absence of separate toilet for children in the school where she teaches as a primary level teacher. Rita was trained by Campaign for Promotion of Community Paralegalism in Nepal (CPCPN) as a Paralegal. She now feels proud to be a Paralegal.

 

 

She says,  she has never felt so powerful. I feel the entire community is with me. But the problems in the community are so many and people are stressed out, law scares them. The training provided by CPCPN had ” Yoga as a tool for legal empowerment” as a part of the curriculum. Rita now starts her community meetings with five minutes of  yoga. She says, the results are startling. Rita says, ” it infuses purity of heart. It is law of giving and receiving love. It has helped me organize things better”.

Many folks feel the same way the lessons given by Rita has helped their mind body integration.

 

Ajay  Jairu a youth also a Paralegal,  was quite  frustrated with alcoholism in his locality he had almost given up. Alcoholism was root cause of poverty and poor health of Dalits in his area. Besides foul language and expletives and profanities used by these alcoholics was having an adverse effect on psychology of children and women. In spite of his several pleas no one was willing to listen to him.

He decided to experiment. He spoke to women folks of the area and taught them law and yoga simultaneously. Slowly men joined these sessions. Alcoholism has gone down. Ajay says, yoga has brought in the element of love in law. We are not imposing law it is becoming a way of life. It’s a slow process but is going to bring about sustainable change.

President of CPCPN Mr. Prabhakar Bagchand says, Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1861 laws and institutions must go hand in hand with progress of human mind. Mr. Bagchand says, Jefferson’s idea speaks a great deal about what law is. I think law or punitive measures alone can’t change mindsets. We have to repackage way of teaching law. Yoga can be a powerful tool. I think yoga in itself is a law.

 

He says, Nepal has now been restructured geographically into seven provinces. These provinces can’t flourish with the same old mindset. We need to restructure our mindset so that people are aware about their rights, people follow and respect laws and engage in formulation of laws that not only ensure but expand their rights.

 

CPCPN paralegals have been working in various issues voluntarily. Encouraged by the enthusiasm of its volunteers the President of CPCPN Mr. Bagchand states, I see a silent revolution through law happening. A revolution that will establish nothing but love. We will then live in a just, developed and free society.

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