Updated: Sep 29
nobody can chain you unless you allow them to
A free bird with wings of passion cannot be caged at all. I am someone who just cannot take clutches well. Independence, personal space, freedom to think, and my passion for law are my oxygen. They define me and my life. My creative instincts stop working, the moment I am told to do something in a particular manner under strict dictation. All my life I have been advocating liberty of thought, expression, and the idea of respecting those of others. To achieve whatever I plan to be my priority at any given point of time. For me something I deliver has to include a part of me, represent me in a true sense, with all flaws.
My journey of life has been full of ups and downs. What differentiates my case has been the constant support of my family and my faith in the Almighty. Since childhood, I struggled to deliver my best possible. Diligence, discipline, and honesty have been my driving forces. Probably, due to this reason, I was never late to any of my classes even when I had to cover a distance of 18 kilometers at a time. I did not do that well in school, but Computer Programming was something nobody could defeat me in.
In 2011, moving to Aligarh Muslim University was a new chapter in my life. It is a completely different Universe. I vividly remember how elated I was when I scored highest in all the subjects. My journey since then has been incredible. I have been selected as the head girl and many other administrative posts. My alma-mater gave me more than I could ever ask for. I was awarded 3 Gold Medals in and have scored the highest grades in the previous 3 semesters of my Master's course. I have been entrusted with very confidential matters and appointed to various posts during those 9 years in Aligarh.
In 2019, I cleared 3 levels of U.P.P.C.S. (J) exams but could not make it to the final list. This was a turning point in my life, as I had witnessed failure after many years. It has taught me humility and reaffirmed my faith in the concept of destiny. To be honest, I did not prepare for this exam; I appeared to oblige my fathers' dream. My soul has always been stuck to research; I wanted to pursue LL.M from the U.K. but due to some supervening I could not pursue that dream. I am determined to earn a degree from one of the finest universities in the world. My firm belief is that someday my quest to learn their approach, teaching pedagogy, and research techniques, will take me there.
We are often told that Hijab impedes the liberation of women folks, it hinders our mental progress. One can find the most learned scholars accepting this fact. In my perception, this is like raising doubts on the command of our God. Many times during internships and interviews even I have been told to remove my hijab, but thanks to my senior Anam, and my knowledge of the law, I came out proudly wearing my hijab.
Anam Rais Khan is the embodiment of the fact that no one can put chains around you until you allow them to. Despite being married at a young age, she managed to earn a Gold medal in graduation and become the first hijab-wearing judge of India.
Similarly, Iram Majid as a mother and a full-time professional is awe-inspiring. She firmly believes that 'being called learned, makes a person of past; one needs to be called a learner.’ She has been breaking stereotypes and refuses to adhere to unnecessary customs. She motivates me to maintain calm and remain content yet determined at every point of time. She motivates me to keep learning and be open to all opportunities.
Samreen Ahmed is currently completing her Masters in Law from Faculty of Law, Aligarh Muslim University
The views expressed by the author are personal