23 Nov 2011: Our Lady Queen of the Missions School win the Debating Matters India National Final 2011
Kolkata School triumph at Debating Matters India National Final 2011 - congratulations!
After a whirlwind few days the Debating Matters team are back from the National Finals of Debating Matters India 2011.
The event was a huge success, with some excellent debates on land acquisition, drugs in sport, the role of civil society in India’s democracy, euthanasia, and finally whether India should pursue soft, or super power status.
The programme also included some fascinating public discussion, including a Battle of Ideas satellite debate ‘The Battle for Democracy’, with a panel that included Jug Suraiya, author and popular columnist for the Times of India, Dolan Cummings, associate fellow of the Institute of Ideas and Kiran Bedi, committee member of the India Against Corruption campaign. The following evening, Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, chaired a special ‘Question Time’ style discussion with some of India’s leading commentators including Hartosh Singh Bal, Political editor of Open; Professor George Brock, Head of the School of Journalism, City University, London; Kanchan Gupta, associate editor, The Pioneer; Usha Ramanathan, independent legal researcher and social activist; and Deepak Mukarji, Head of Corporate Affairs for Shell in India.
Students from across India have written to say what an important event this was for them, and how much they enjoyed the chance to interrogate real world issues with their peers and the judges. Pranav Garg, a participant from Prakash Senior Secondary School, Ahemedabad wrote of the experience:
“I relished the chance to hear what students from different parts of India had to say on issues that we all needed to work upon as one nation. I learnt how to accept different view points on the same controversies, even if they did not fall in line with my ideologies… I deeply encourage such platforms provided to the youth of the nation to voice their views. I wish it spreads to all parts of the nation in the near future.”
After some extremely close debates, Our Lady Queen of the Missions School triumphed as the winners of the 2011 competition and will be travelling to London next year, to take on the UK winners. A close second, Christ Junior College took the runners up slot, with one debater, Nikunj Agarwal, taking the prize for best individual.
Speaking after the event, Arushi Dhupia, debater at Our Lady Queen of the Mission said:
“The way this event was organised and the format of the debates were fantastic. DM provides so many avenues to youngsters like us to understand better issues plaguing our country and the world. I would recommend DM to all who like speaking for a cause. It would be great to see DM reaching out to other countries as well and churn out a whole generation of good debaters, and more importantly, intellectually and socially aware people.”
Ben Stewart, Grants manager for the Engaging Science Grants team and programme at the Wellcome Trust, and one of the National Final judges said of the event:
“The finals were keenly contested through a number of excellently argued debates. It was a pleasure to witness them first hand and to see the competition grow so well here in India.”
Debating Matters would like to congratulate not only the team, but all those that participated in such an exciting, but close fought final. Finally, it goes without saying that Debating Matters India would not be possible without the hard work and support of our partners. We would like to thank the British Council India, Shell Companies in India and the Wellcome Trust and for all they do to make sure that debating matters in India.
Winners: Our Lady Queen of the Missions School, Kolkata.
Runners-up: Christ Junior College, Bangalore
Semi-finalist teams: Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti School, Guwahati and Sri Sankara School, Chennai.
Other participants: Prakash Higher Secondary School, Ahmedabad; Jamnabai Narsee school, Mumbai; Police Dav School, Chandigarh; Springdales School, Delhi
Best individual: Nikunj Agarwal, Christ Junior College
Highly Commended: Abhilaksh Sharma, Prakash Higher Secondary
Commended: Keshav Seth, Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti
Honourable mentions: Payaswini Tailor, Our Lady Queen of the Missions; Pranav Garg, Prakash Higher Secondary; Ayush Sahay, Prakash Higher Secondary; Sudharshan Suresh, Sri Sankara Senior Secondary; Brahadeesh Srinivasan, Sri Sankara Senior Secondary; Krupa Maria Varghese, Christ Junior College; Raunak Pednekar, Jamnabai Narsee School.