By Courtney Tsao
For many, attending Hogwarts has been an all time dream to experience the magical world of Harry Potter.
However, the wizarding school may not be entirely fictional as the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata, India now offers courses that blend aspects of Harry Potter and real law fundamentals.
The class, called “An Interface Between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special focus on Rowling’s Potterverse,” encourages students to use scenarios from the popular book series as a medium to study political, societal, and legal factors.
By applying governmental principles on wizardry concepts, Shouvik Kumar Guha, the professor of the course, hopes it will reveal the parallels in Harry Potter that reflect reality.
The elective is set to begin this December where the course will cover the slavery of magical house-elves, which gives students an opportunity to explore its similarities between India’s social class. Enslavement and torture are still widely used in some parts of India and discussing this situation allows the course to give students a sense of awareness of the issue.
Guha’s class will also expand on the social values found in the Potterverse, such as how the wizarding world glorifies purebloods and marginalizes mudbloods, a mirror to the discrimination that is present in current society.
As a course taught in a law school, its curriculum will delve into the political aspects of Harry Potter by analyzing the “Ministry of Magic” and its bureaucratic features. To allow students to exercise their knowledge in law using foreign situations, Guha intends to focus on the Dark Wizards’ use of the three “Unforgivable Curses” and the process of the “Wizengamot trials.”
Studying Sirius Black’s imprisonment can further teach the class how the India justice system can be applied to a case of incarceration without the due process of law.
This school is not the first to implement Harry Potter into their classes, as Durham University and Yale have done it before, but it is a different approach to learning that greatly contrasts India’s rigorous education system.
However, Guha believes that offering this class is not entirely unusual as he writes in his course outline that, “The picture that Rowling paints of the government in Potterverse is not pretty, yet [her] critique [on] the functions of the government to its nature and the bureaucracy […] often resonates with the readers in comparison to their own governments in the real world.”