17th Dr. Amidas Goradia National Inter school Debate

Posted by on Aug 14, 2018 in School News | Comments Off

41 Schools 45 Topics 120 Speakers!

The 17th Dr Amidas Goradia National Inter-school Debate in English was hosted by The Indian School on 8 August 2018. Having grown over the years the debate saw an overwhelming presence of 41 school teams from 6 states and 1 SAARC country!

After the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the distinguished guests, Dr. (Mrs.) Nayana Goradia, Vice Chairperson, extended a gracious welcome to Chief Guest, His Excellency Sir Dominic Asquith KCMG, British High Commissioner in India. Dr. Goradia called upon the honourable guest, a fine debater himself, to share some of the secrets of the art of cut and thrust of debating. She iterated that students would benefit by these pointers as Sir Dominic has inherited a rich legacy from his great-grandfather H.H Asquith, former prime minister of England, a nation renowned for its parliamentary debates ever since the Magna Carta in the 1215 AD. Dr. Goradia lay emphasis on The Indian School’s commitment to inculcating debating skills amongst its children because it is the bedrock of good governance and democracy.

His Excellency addressed the august gathering which included dignitaries from the School governing body, Chairman Mr. Prafull Goradia, Mr. Shyam Divan, Director Mr. Lal Raisinghani, Ms. Brinda Shroff, Ms. Madhavi Divan and Principal, Ms. Tania Joshi. Also present were office-bearers of the School PTA Body, teacher-escorts of the visiting schools and the class XII students of the host school.

Sir Dominic expressed his delight at being part of the event and said that debate is at the heart of democracy. With references that ranged from Cleisthenes, Father of Athenian Democracy to Covalent Bond, a chemical bond that involves the sharing of electron pairs between atoms, Sir Dominic’s speech engaged the young audience. He affirmed the significant role of debating in the arena of creating leaders who can direct public thinking for ethical decisions by quoting Robert A. Heinlein “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices than you can convince one man by logic” and Michel de Montaigne, “There is no conversation more boring than one where everybody agrees”. It is better to settle a debate than settle a question without debating it.

Be brave, be courageous, have a strong moral code. Find your key allies; for a lone voice won’t do the trick, was his compendious reply to the question- How to avoid populism?

Guest of Honour, Ms. Namita Gokhale, noted writer, publisher and director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, lauded the School for keeping alive the ancient Indian tradition of vaad-vivad. She appreciated how debate makes children confident, articulate and learned, for they learn as much from the process of listening as they do from speaking. Most importantly, children learn to listen to other people’s point of view and oppose it in a civilised way.

Mr. Parnab Mukherjee, well-known knowledge resource curator chaired this prestigious event, which is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Amidas Goradia, ancestor of our School chairman and the first allopathic doctor to qualify in India in 1863. The co jury was Mr. Sahaj Umang Singh Bhatia, assistant director, White Balance Social Media Influencer and Mr. Abhishek Pal, writer for Quora.com

The preliminary round was a combination of extempore and turncoat. Each team constructed a motion based on one of the two concepts given. The first speaker of each team fiercely showcased prowess at skilful thinking, dexterously switching sides at the call to ‘turn’, presenting the propositions followed by an opposition of own argument! The second speaker shared the process of constructing the motion citing the logic behind the chosen concept. The concepts ranged from insomnia versus sound sleep, Karl Marx versus open market, fast food versus slow food, A.M. versus P.M., homeward bound versus outward bound, Ambedkar’s idea of reservation versus what we have made of it, thematic versus random, etc.

In the meantime, the third speaker of each team was asked to write five constructive affirmatives and five constructive negatives on the motion-“ This house chooses NOTA as its discourse.”

The grandiloquence and flourish of the speakers shone through as they married the five strands of contemporary history into their erudite speeches. Quite a few children talked about Karl Marx and his relevance or irrelevance over 100 years; the Semi-colon project which talks about mental challenges; Black Power Salute as an act of protest in sports; LGBT Rights; the forgotten Paika rebellion that shaped our national independence movement, amongst others.

The eloquent speakers proved that debating is a repository of literature as they liberally sprinkled their argumentation with excerpts from popular works of Gandhi, Warsan Shire, Simon and Garfunkel, Charlie Chaplin, Plato, Socrates, Galileo, Edmund Burke, Donald Trump and Diogenes!

Six teams made it to the two semi-final rounds – Sunbeam School Bhagwanpur, Modern School Barakhamba Road, Springdales Pusa Road, Mayo College for Girls, (Ajmer), Vasant Valley School and The Indian School. The two motions given were: ‘This house believes that cricket as we know it, is currently dead’, and ‘This house believes that article 35 A and NRC point in the same direction.’

The final round saw a lively face-off between the two of the best teams in the event-The Indian School and Springdales, Pusa Road- on the motion, ‘This house will free Abhimanyu of the chakravyuh.’

The Indian School team comprising of Avantika Chodha, Aatif Hussain and Shrey Gogia triumphed but being host school, tradition directed that they hand the Rolling Trophy to the Runners-Up team which comprised of Yashvardhan Chawdhary, Sana Mittar and Hiya Chowdhury of Springdales School, Pusa Road.
Modern School Barakhamba Road and Sunbeam School, Lehartara were declared joint Second Runners Up.

Other prizes: Best Speaker (Turncoat) – Aarshu Acharya, DAV Sushil Kedia School, Kathmandu, Best Speaker (Turncoat- Runner-up) – Shirin Vetticad, Convent of Jesus and Mary, Best Speaker ( Extempore)- Praanjali Deep, Sunbeam School, Lehartara ,Best Speaker ( Extempore- Runner-up) – Dhwani Teckchandani, DPS-Vasant Kunj ,Best Team ( Motion Framing)- Singapore International School, Mumbai.

Ms. Navreet Shergill.

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