Word war at its best at law school

Legal eagles

The School’s first NLS Debate Junior had 96 speakers from leading schools across Bangalore debate passionately about topics not far removed from the national mainstream. Arguments, counter-arguments and intensive mindgames dominated the contest as the 33 teams fought it out with elan.

The NLS Debate Junior was conceptualised with the idea of taking Parliamentary Debating, which is one of the most popular and challenging forms of university-level debating, to schools. The format stresses building and delivering logical arguments within a limited preparation time.

The students of NLSIU conducted preliminary workshops, over a period of four months across different schools in Bangalore so as to familiarise the students with the format. Incidentally, the format is followed widely across the world in key tournaments, including the prestigious ‘World School Debating Tournament’.

The tournament consisted of five preliminary rounds, which had students debating on diverse topics such as the viability of holding F1 matches in developing countries, paid news, corporal punishment, etc. After battling it out throughout the five rounds, eight teams proceeded to the knockout rounds.

An interesting feature of the tournament was a simulation round, in which the teams were given a situation of an ethical dilemma (borrowed from the blockbuster movie ‘The Dark Knight’) and they had to debate the course of action.  

Though the concept was new, there was no dearth of excitement and enthusiasm among students. With a zest, they approached the organisers asking them to continue the practice of organising workshops, demanding ideas for setting up debating unions in schools as well as probability of setting up a second version of the tournament.

The finals saw the students debate the current issues such as removing the essay ‘Three hundred Ramayanas’ from the Delhi University syllabus. The team ‘Witty Warriors’ from Sri Kumarans Children’s Home, consisting of Aravind Srinivasan, Anjali Bhargav and Pooja Adiga emerged victorious in the grand finals. Incidentally, the finals boasted of another team from the same school, ‘The Parliament’.

The Best Speaker award

Teams from Christ Junior College and National Public School, Indiranagar made it to the semi-finals of the tournament. Dharini Prasad from Sri Kumaran’s Children’s Home and Karan Gupta from Christ Junior College shared the Best Speaker award.

Dharini Prasad also took home the award for the ‘most stylish speaker’. The improvement in the quality of the debates as well as the grasp of the students on the nuances of this new style of debating were indeed a pleasant surprise.

The tournament was, probably best summarised in the words of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Venkata Rao, when he said: “The future of India is in good hands.”

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