Saturday, December 19, 2009

Foundation Day Debate

Finally, on 19th Dec we had finals of the Foundation Day debate.

I am an ardent fan of debates. I almost never miss Big Fight on NDTV. The debates bring the best minds to cross swords intellectually. My personal favourites are Suhel Seth, Swapan Dasgupta, Vinod Mehta. Our own Jay Panda also is a good speaker on national channels.

Recently, there was a interesting series of debates called Intelligence squared debate on BBC. The format is pretty routine. There are two teams of two members each. The teams speak in turns, take questions from the audience and then sum up. What is interesting is the way the winner is decided. At the start of the debate the audience is made to vote for and against the topic. Then, at the end they are allowed to vote. The winner is decided by the amount of audience win by a team. This format is very novel.

One of my favourite movies is The Great Debators. Directed by Danzig Washington, produced by Winfrey Oprah, the movie is based on a true story. It is about a debating team from a black college beating the Harvard team in a national finals. This movie was screened during the orientation programme of our first batch of M.Tech. Students. The arguments, rejoinders, rebuttals are truely enjoyable to watch.

I witnessed last 10 minutes of the Finals of the Foundation Day debate. I was a little disappointed. The audience was thin. The format of the debate was like a GD. The arguments were shallow. But the debators exhibited energy and passion.

Prof. Tanutrishna did put in a lot of hardwork to make this happen. She and Lipika did a good job of pushing a reluctant bunch of students to take a small faltering step in making what possible can be an iconic annual event of the Institute in future.

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