LitSoc Debate 2010


Saturday evening, CLT. The LitSoc debate brought out slick arguments, relevant questions, and long rounds of cross-questioning.
The topics could not have been more different from one another, both in style and in substance. By far the most popular topic was about Negotiations with Terrorists, and what policy India should adopt. It created heated argument, with the judge repeatedly trying to find loopholes in each speaker’s stance or to make them contradict themselves. Some speakers held that if negotiations given a fair chance and all sides are at least heard out, there will be no need for terrorism in the first place. Others believed that negotiating with a terrorist could lead other terrorists to read signs of weakness in the government. There really was no clear winning side, in this debate at least.
A second topic was classic debate material: that the Right to Die is the ultimate personal freedom. This actually had some confused about whether they wanted to talk about suicide or about euthanasia. The main point that was brought up was that a person’s own death is not isolated from the world; that he will definitely have responsibilities to other people in the world, whose lives will be affected.
The third topic, and possibly the most fun topic of the evening, was whether we believe in Attendance. All the debaters interpreted attendance as compulsory attendance to class in college/school, although the topic was actually the most wide open to interpretation. Debate on this topic was punctuated by spells of laughter, as someone or the other made veiled references to particular peers’ experiences with attendance issues.
A fourth topic, one about the Palestinians’ right to return, was not chosen by anyone.
For the most part, the audience did not even exist. The only ones who cared to listen to the oratory were the other participants. Well, this was not surprising, since some of the hostels’ LitSecs were actually searching for anyone with the smallest amount of enthusiasm, to persuade them to participate.
At some points, the judge with his questions succeeded in making speakers contradict themselves. And at others, the judge contradicted himself worse than anyone else, and a couple of his questions drew amusement and perplexed faces.
The winners were SOS and Fiddler from Saras, and second place went to Vinay Sridhar and Nikhil Punnoose from Alak. Third came Siddharth K and Anirudh Natarajan from Mandak. Best Speaker went to Fiddler (Saras) with a special mention being made of Vinay Sridhar, Anirudh and Rohit Prasanna (Mandak).

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