Hindu's 'Vaktavya' gets students speaking

Lets discuss

The Hindu College held its annual group discussion programme ‘Vaktavya 2012’ with great participation from a number of Delhi University colleges recently. Organised by a dedicated society of students called ‘Caucus’, the programme has become very popular off late as it is the only event of its kind in DU.

Debates and writing contests are held by every other college, but a platform where students can just discuss a variety of topics, is rare. ‘Vaktavya’ has thus captured the imagination of several students and was successfully conducted from March 20-21 this year as well.

The vice-president of ‘Caucus’ Amogh Dhar Sharma, a student of Economics here, tells Metrolife, “Group discussions are an important way of getting one’s views across people.

Convincing someone about your perspective on an issue without getting violent is an art in itself. Besides, it is also very useful for us students as discussion skills come handy in many competitive exams. Keeping in view all this, we came up with ‘Vaktavya’. We are glad it is now realizing its aim.” No doubt ‘Vaktavya 2012’ received a whopping 150 entries for participation this year. Out of these only 80 were finalized for the four preliminary group discussions on Day 1.

A thoughtful mix of subjects was chosen by the society for the four group discussions and the participants were informed of the topics beforehand. The first team discussed ‘Is the Occupy Wall Street Movement justified?’ Amogh says, “This subject saw a very well-informed discussion as most participants were students of either Economics or Commerce and knew their facts very well. Some were leftist oriented and supported the movement while others, in favour of free markets and Capitalist economy, dismissed it.” It was a similar scenario at the second group discussion on ‘Should we welcome more FDI in retail market?’

But the most heated arguments were witnessed in the third group discussion on ‘Should pornography be legalised in India?’ Students ended up discussing subjects as wide and varied as Sharia on porn to the recent Porngate scandal and the relation between pornography and increasing rape cases to Sunny Leone. A very vibrant discussion took place on the last subject ‘Has cricket resulted in the death of other sports in India?’ as well. Three best speakers from each of the four teams were then selected for the final group discussion on Day 2.

The topic here ‘Are populist movements a legitimate way of shaping public policy?’ was given on the spot and saw a very intelligent discussion. Many important issues like the relevance of the Anna Hazare campaign, movements like that of Binayak Sen turning seditionary, and situations where the interests of two communities clash in a movement, like that of quota for Jats, were discussed. Students finally acknowledged the importance of populist movements but agreed that they should be non-violent.

Three students, who emerged as the best speakers, were then awarded. Shourjendro Mukherjee, a student of History Honours at Hindu was given the first prize while Poornima Rajeshwar of B.Com Honours at Hindu and Hargungeet of Economics Honours from Hansraj College shared the second prize. Amogh added, “The best part of this programme is that even if we don’t arrive at a consensus after a discussion, we become aware of the other views existing on the issue. After all this is how we build a society which is intelligent, informed and tolerant.”

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