Diverse views on a single stage

Diverse views on a single stage


Attentive Students at the lecture. The Literary and Debating Society of National Law School of India University recently organised the NLS Union Debate in association with the Law and Society Committee.

The topic was ‘Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and three thoughts on Translations from its History Syllabus’ and it saw prominent people from the literary and legal fraternity participate in the event. The debates, said the students, were an eye-opener in a lot of ways. 

The event began with Haragopal Sharma and Justice Santosh Hegde debating about the legitimacy of using hunger strikes. The second edition focussed on the sub judice issue of legislative oversight over intelligence agencies in India.

Modelled on the Oxford and Cambridge Union Debates, this form of parliamentary debating featured three speakers in each team – an expert in the field, a faculty member, and a student of the National Law School. After six speeches, each lasting approximately ten minutes, the floor was thrown open for questions and comments from the audience. 

This edition featured on the proposing side, Dr Sitharaman Kakarala, director and senior fellow of the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, and a prolific author. 

On the opposition was Chandan Mitra, an ex-BJP spokesperson and the current editor-in-chief of The Pioneer. Then there was M S Kalyani Ramanathan, an alumni lecturer teaching History and Nadim Ali Haider Khan, a senior researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at NLSIU who also spoke. Priyanka Madan, a second year undergraduate, and G Agan K from the second year postgraduate course were the student speakers. 

The students who were present said the debate was insightful and gave a feel of what reality in politics is like. The students got a feel of how sensitive but widely debated topics can be dealt within a rational manner. Sanjana Govil, a fifth year student thought the quality of the debate was excellent. “The speakers were from the political circles as well as ordinary people and the multiple views were indeed insightful. The topic is sensitive and it might hurt sentiments but I believe that every college must have the academic freedom to debate such sensitive issues,” said Sanjana.

Siddhartha Basu, another student said that those present had the knowledge of both sides of the issue. “This was the perfect opportunity for the students to actually evaluate if the arguments of the people for removal held any sway. The debate helped us not only to gain insight into core ideas like artistic and academic freedom etc. It also was critical in actually thoroughly analysing the very controversy itself,” he summed up.

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