Pro.Verb 2018 saw a participation of 28 teams from both sister colleges of MAHE and colleges from across the country. The Core Adjudicators present throughout the three days of the tournament came all the way from Delhi and Bangalore. The tournament is organised every year by Y.E.L.L, the Literary and Debating Club of SOC, in the honour of Dr. M.V. Kamath, a veteran journalist and the founding father of SOC.
The fourth edition of the M.V. Kamath Memorial National Debating Tournament (Pro.Verb) drew to a close with Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) winning the competition, defending its “Best Team” title in the process. The team composed of Amandeep Singh Kalsi and Shouvik Mukherjee. The award for the Best Speaker went to Rajarshi Mukherjee, who is also an MIT student. Hrishikesh V from People’s Education Society (PES) University, Bangalore, was titled “Best Adjudicator”. The valedictory function and closing ceremony was presided over by Dr. Pritam Kumar, Deputy Registrar, Academics (Technical), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and Dr. Padma Rani, Director, School of Communication (SOC).
The day began with an elucidation of the context of the motion followed by the motion release. The gist was—Delhi Pride argues that their struggle is not only against heteronormativity but against all forms of oppression while, on the other hand, Mumbai Pride argues for a separation of sexual and political identity towards unification of movements in the Indian societal scenario.
The motion read, “The House, being a rational member of the LGBTQ+ community, would prefer the Delhi Pride’s narrative over the Mumbai Pride”. Both the government and the opposition had some interesting points of view to present. The government, speaking for the motion, mainly exploited the argument that oppression is common to all marginalised groups. “Oppression is oppression irrespective of its form or target group. The LGBTQ+ community consists of a broad spectrum of people within itself. With more people joining from various downtrodden groups, the movement will only gain strength and momentum,” said a speaker from the government. In response, the opposition contended that the LGBTQ+ community differs from other downtrodden communities. “The struggles of the LGBTQ+ people are different from those of other marginalised groups because while the former is based on ideological paradigms, the latter rests on political and economic differences. The end goal for all communities would be to achieve equality, but the methods in which— it is attained varies for different groups,” said a speaker from the opposition.
As the final round began, it saw the entry of two MIT teams taking on PES University and CMR School of Legal Studies. The motion—”The house opposes the glorification of Atal Bihari Vajpayee”—also lived up to the expectation and garnered quite an audience. There was no shortage of drama as the participants employed arguments ranging from Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) intolerance to the late leader’s staunch nationalism. “There is a crazy level of intolerance in existence right now and BJP is hiding behind the ideologies of Vajpayee. More than intolerance, it’s the perspective about intolerance being supplied by the media that is bad,” said a speaker. Participants debating against this heavily relied on people’s perception of political leaders. “Voters are not stupid. They understand the change of leaders and change of perception. It builds a rather toxic culture if we do not recognise such a great leader,” said a speaker from the Opposition.
In the end, Pro.Verb truly did live up to its motto—’Debate like a pro’.
—Riya Peter and Rishi Kant for MTTN
— Photography by Sumeet Kumar