The MIT Debating Tournament

When DT opened on Independence day

In a day and age where voicing one’s opinions in public can be considered offensive or even treasonous, MIT-DT, 2016 provided a platform for debaters from all over the country to speak up without the fear of being banished to Pakistan. Organised by the Official Literary, Debating and Quizzing Club of MIT, more commonly known by the sobriquet of LnD, the tournament was spread over three days. It started on the 13th and finished on the 15th of August.

The first of its kind, this debate drew participants from as far as Mumbai and Chennai. The debates were of the British Parliamentary format and drew as many as 30 teams from law colleges and engineering institutions alike. The tournament consisted of four rounds in which teams of two battled it out to qualify for the semi-finals and finals. The biggest crowd-puller for MIT-DT was its stellar core adjudication panel studded with giants from the national and international debating circuits; it comprised Souradip Sen, Amritha Varshini, Chan Sriram and Tushar Kanakagiri. This ensured fair and impartial decisions, leaving no place for foul play.

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The adjudicator test took place on the first day followed by the first round of debating. The paucity of adjudicators was a slight hiccup that initially flummoxed the organisers, but the core adjudicators stepped in to modify the model of the debate and smoothed it out. The second day witnessed three, almost continuous rounds of debates that tested the enthusiasm of the adjudicators and debaters alike. The motions given charged the air with deliberation and rebuttal as the teams clashed. POIs(points of information), rained all over as arguments shielded their proponents from their ferocity. The day ended with the core adjudicators announcing the semi-finalists and the novice finalists. The novice finals were held for the benefit of those who were not as seasoned as the others participants.

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The last day of the tournament had the best teams engage with each other over interesting motions and four of them made it to the finals. The final debate was held in the AC Seminar Hall and was filled with students fervently excited for the finale. The chief guest for the occasion was Prof. Sriprasad Acharya, the faculty advisor for LnD. The debate lived up to its expectations and saw debaters defending their points deftly and at the same time vehemently attacking the opposition’s stance. The finals culminated with a cross team from RV and PES colleges from Bengaluru clinching the trophy and NALSAR law college from Hyderabad finishing a close second.

Nikhil Asrani (PES) was awarded the Best Adjudicator and Trishal Kumar(PES), the Best Speaker prize. The novice finals was won by FRCRCE from Mumbai. The tournament ended with the prize distribution which was made especially memorable by the first place trophy being named after Gowri Thampi- an organiser for MIT-DT and an active member of LnD. She had sadly passed away just days before the event leaving heavy hearts and moist eyes in her wake. Given her hard work and dedication towards the event, it was only fitting to have the trophy named after this extraordinary individual.

On this emotional note the tournament ended instilling its participants with the spirit of argument and underscoring the importance of free speech in today’s society.

-Shagun Nevatia for MTTN

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