In Between Black & White- Conversation With Rohan Mukherjee, Founder & CEO of Grayscale Legal.
Rohan, a 4th year student of NLU-O, when he is not busy running Greyscale Legal, is busy helping Law Students all over India fight against oppressive management policies with the help of GrayCheck.!
Q) While For the Sake of Argument congratulates you for Grayscale Legal, the obvious question that arises is from where did you get this idea?
Rohan (R):- Complete survival instinct. I knew that simply my CV won’t get me anywhere – lectures, moots and the likes that usually drive law students didn’t work for me. All of them seemed extremely hypothetical, and lacked the urgency and application of mind that I desired. So that served as an inspiration, and then when we started off, we focused on the aspect of ‘earning your own contacts’ because someone had to call a spade a spade – contacts and outreach help take you places in this profession. Here, we are not your relatives, or your uncle’s colleague’s friend – you earn your own contacts as a result of the work you do for professionals. Simple as that.
Q) Why choose the name “Grayscale”?
R) Grayscale, because the law is concerned with the black and white – and as we provide quasi-legal services, we toggle between the black and white – between ‘grayscale’.
Q) Were people around you initially inclined to support you idea or were you constantly met with pessimist?
R) Didn’t face any pessimism, to be honest. Students and professionals were encouraging – I’m sure that I would have gone ahead even if they weren’t actually. But there was some constructive feedback naturally, which helped me set the whole thing up – and then learning along the way worked out. Still failing and learning at each little step.
Q) Tell us something about GrayCheck.
R) GrayCheck serves as a platform for students to provide evidence against any arbitrary action taken by the administration of their institutes. GrayCheck, powered by Grayscale Legal, facilitates an anonymous voice to take the administration to task – sometimes by legal means and sometimes via media. We don’t just spout everything on a public platform as and when the complaint comes in – a lot of internal research is done and the claims are weighed as well.
Q) What prompted you to come up with GreyCheck? Any personal incident?
R) Well, yeah. I’m still a student, so I know first-hand how things are around us. Also when I visit other colleges, the practice and overall dissatisfaction is apparent, and not without just cause. I had resources within my reach in terms of lawyers who are clients of Grayscale Legal, so lifting this off seemed definitely possible.
Q) What steps does Grey Check take to maintain the identity of the ‘whistle blower‘ secret?
R) Apart from the usual submission platform where after browsing to webmail.grayscale.org.in, logging in with the username firstname.lastname@example.org and password c#eckerR876; we have an anonymous live chat service is present which is monitored by some of our volunteers, and online meetings are scheduled by using a code-name that the grievant chooses for himself/herself. All details are available under the Law Students tab on our website.
Q) When a post has to be backed by evidence, official letters, mails, notices or events, college authorities can easily figure out from the online platform the student behind this? How far it would be anonymous then?
R) Not exactly. We make sure that all sent items are deleted immediately if the sender has not done so himself. Plus, these communications are usually general in nature – that is, addressed to not just an individual but the entire or a sect of the student body.
Q) What is the guarantee that the college authorities would actually take the action in good stride and not otherwise and would stop perpetuating the act in question? Infact it is very likely that instead of bearing good results these may worsen the things or compound the grievance?
R) We don’t expect any authority to willingly step down and make amends – and naturally I can’t guarantee anything right now and here. But we’ll try till all our resources and methods are exhausted. You have to understand that authorities turning vindictive implies that we pose some form of threat to them, and if that’s the case, GrayCheck has tasted a little victory.
Q) What is being planned next for Grayscale Legal?
R) We are changing our research and legal assistance model to some extent. Also, we aim to focus on providing legal advice and counsel to laymen and point them to the right lawyer if need arises. All this shall be done for a fee of Rs. 700 per week – so a student can be engaged by any person for that amount to take care of his/her legal problem. Steps are being taken to hold the relationship between the student and the professional more formal and concrete.
Q) Your proudest moment till date?
R) There have been a few high moments within a year – but I’d have to say that when a few clients, being lawyers, show personal interest in working with some of our associates by their own initiative – and trust me, today if these associates graduate and give these clients a call, they’ll be pulled into their offices without any hesitation. That’s essentially what I set out to achieve – and it is a high to realize that sometimes.
Q) Anything else you may want to add for the sake of law students everywhere who may be oppressed but without a voice?
R) Everyone has a voice. Some haven’t developed strong opinions on issues yet, and others are set in their roles as passive observers – staring and mocking the passersby. I understand where both of them come from – but you have to let it all go. All your focus today is to mould yourself into an excellent student – think about it, after 5 years or less, where will your student-hood take you? So, learn to look and focus on the larger picture – focus completely on what you want for yourself for the rest of your life, and start towards that one target from now. Everything you think, do, write, read and say must take you a step further towards that goal. It’s not that complicated a process, really.
For The Sake of Argument would like to thank Rohan for his time. Visit their FB page HERE