One of my favorite takeaways from Pepperdine’s Global Justice Trip to Delhi, India, was my new friendship with Arti Mohan. Our group was not only warmly welcomed by Jon Derby and the hospitable staff at Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ), but we were also fully embraced into tough conversations about life and cultural norms in India. Upon meeting Arti, an attorney for CSJ, I was intrigued by her story and needed to know how her everyday as a law student or lawyer contrasted to mine.
Whether on the road to the Taj Mahal or sharing a Southern Indian meal together, she answered every question I had about current issues on Indian politics, women’s rights, children’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, sexual violence, religious stigmas and expectations, divorce, etc. A night of karaoke and several cups of masala chai tea later, I discovered that Arti’s beliefs and her life as a lawyer in India was not in fact that different than my own.
While there may be different obstacles to overcome in making major changes to India’s legal system, including corruption, lack of infrastructure, or cultural and religious customs, I saw that the next generation was hopeful in bringing justice to those whose voices were forgotten or ignored. Leaving a more comfortable career as a corporate lawyer, Arti took the path of working in the civil rights and public interest sector in order to pursue her passion of justice and equality in India. I was so impressed that Arti and the remaining CSJ team members have already made strides in providing restorative justice and a safe place for victims of sexual violence to turn to.
I will forever remember my time getting to know Arti, and I look forward to seeing the deep impact that she and young lawyers will have on improving the justice system in India.
–By Chelsea McGrath