This article is written by Sunil Kumar Yadav of CNLU Patna. If you want to share your debating stories, write to [email protected]
Debating for me earlier means just giving counter argument to what your opponent is giving and if your able to counter that argument by anything like questioning its existence or providing an example totally opposite to the nature of statement that was given by the other person, this was the thing which I used to do in the school but when I joined CNLU within few days I came to know, that what I was doing is a community type of Debate not a formal kind of debate. In CNLU, I came to know about the Asian Parliamentary Debate and its rules like manner and role of a member for his team and the basic pillars of debating in the guidance of my seniors. In the way of this process I learnt a lot and only thing that I could make out from all this process of debating is that you just have to develop your understanding and express your thought on the given topic in a systematic and structured mannered highlighting the points according to your understanding which you consider important and which should goes to the person judging the debate known as adjudicator by explaining and clarifying those points to the extent that no question of understanding or confusion should remain in the mind of adjudicator. With these golden rules keeping in my mind I started debating and with one more rule that was advice by my senior that just be yourself don’t restrict yourself in any bondage just go out there and openly express yourself in way you think it should be said or represented and never judge yourself, let others judge you. As the basic principle of natural justice is: “You can’t be a judge in your own case”. That is the most vital thing which I always remember when I go to the podium to speak I may forget all the rules but I cannot forget this one that is the real basis of all the debates that I have done and will do in the future. That is how I started debating the Asian Parliamentary Debate and in the course of it I got a chance to go to Ram Manohar Lohiya National Parliamentary Debate 2014 conducted by Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow .
As we as a team were preparing for the debate, as it was our first National Debate totally unknown about this type of world of thinkers and expressive people who has been well versed in the format with a establish legacy of their own and we were going to challenge them and leave our mark in this fraternity of debating and to let others known that we have entered into the field, ready to play the game and give our best shot which will startle them. With this type of thought in our mind with a motive to have good debates and to win some of them, we were on our way to Lucknow and I was the first member of our team to arrive at the station and other two namely Rishabh and Suryansh joined me late that night and after assembling our team.
We all with another team of CNLU, all first timers with great enthusiasm were waiting for the next morning to go out there and debate. The next day in the morning we get up early which usually don’t happens, got ready and hit the hall at 10 A.M as the time was prescribed by the organizers but then we got the message that the after fulfilling the formality and the procedure of registration, inauguration ceremony debate will start at 4:00 P.M.
A lot of time was still left and as the time passed our enthusiasm started to fade and finally at around 4:30 P.M the first match-ups of the teams were released and our first debate was with University Of Allahabad as we entered into the room, suddenly an adrenaline with a blend of fear and enthusiasm passed into my body and we were on our way of preparing as an opposition on the topic “This House believes Malala and Kailash Satyarthi should return their Nobel Prizes”. And moment later we were out of the room walking proudly opposing and winning with margin victory of five backing our claim and as result of this in the next match up our contest was with the team “Lady Sri Ram”(LSR) which was one of favourites of winning the debate competition and it just pumped us up to put a good show and the topic on which we have to debate was “This House will ban the censorship of film on social, religious and political basis”.
Our Team at RMLNLU Debate
We were acting as proposition on this topic I laid down the case from the proposition side and when their Leader of opposition came she totally shattered the entire basis of our stand and honestly speaking as we were debating with such kind of debaters for the first time, firstly the problem arise that we were not able to understand and connect what they were speaking relevant to the topic but still thanks to our last debater Risabh he gave us some hope as he was the only person who understood most part of the debate and was able to prevent us from a humiliating defeat , we were defeated scraped down totally and he was the only person who cut some margin of loss but we learned a lot from this debate and this was the debate which showed the real level of debating as it was the last match up of the day, we had got whole night to introspect and come out strong the next day, almost most part of the night I was eating up the brain of Suryansh about the debate we lost to LSR and was just asking for one more match with them, so that we can show them what we are, after talking all this thing with him I went to sleep and in the next morning I was ready to take on anybody and in the next match up with KIIT we buried them in that debate won with total consensus given by the adjudicator and in the next match up it was like blessing in disguise as we were once again debating with LSR and we all were pumped up ,only thing that was going through our mind that we are going to make this match the most difficult one and let not go this opportunity a waste to bring on the biggest upset of the RML debating rounds, again we were contesting with them having the same core adjudicator Pradyumna Jairam with the topic “This House will prosecute Amitabh Bachchan for inciting riots of 1984”.
What happened in this was that there was allegation by one of the victims of riots that by raising the slogan of “Khoon ka Badla Khoon”, he incited the riots against Sikh but there was ambiguity whether it was Amitabh Bachchan or not, On this topic we were opposing that he should not be prosecuted. As we were on our full throttle to breath the sign of win against LSR we literally gave everything what we have into that debate, totally giving our everything and every understanding what we have and at the end made the best debate of RMLNLU rounds by any team but still after doing all this thing our best was not enough to cross the finishing line first , we were still on the losing side.
We lost again to the same team and by losing this debate we realized our potential and our limitations for which we should be abide to it but still we had to go for one more debate and it was just a formality for us and we had it this with Punjab University. We just did it as a formality and in this performing lower to our potential which put us on the losing side by a very close margin. On the whole it was a very good learning experience we didn’t get anything from winning those two debates except some confidence but we learnt a lot by losing those two debates with the best team of the tournament who went on win the RML debate, LSR, we learned a lot from that two matches that we had with them and the best thing which came out with those two debates was that believe in ourselves and bonding as a team that we found debating against them we took it as the positives and the other debates that we did they didn’t have that much impact on us and whenever we will look back and remember our first debating experience it will only be those two debates that we did and it seems like that we wanted to prove something that we do exist in this fraternity. And I think we made a mark out there in the first tournament nobody would have called us out that we were first timer. Yes, we lost but we fought with pride and humbly accepted the defeat.
After this mind- boggling experience of a National debate tournament what I have decipher is that “Idea is greater than Knowledge” you just have to keep upon what you are following some technicality, develop your understanding and have a simple but unconventional approach to any topic that you are provided, always be in a stable state of mind, don’t let yourself go along with the circumstances always be in control and keep your ears and mind open just make a stand based on the rationality and stick to it by giving the analogy assertion and reduce the matter into the most simplest form in which you can so that the adjudicator will easily notice your point which you want to make and the most important thing is to connect your speech in which it makes sense it should not be like scattered grain on the floor rather it should be like systematically arranged as the books are kept in the library. So that it becomes easy for the adjudicator to decipher your speech.
This is formal debate so there should not be too much of flamboyance , there must be but you should be aware of where you are crossing the line, sounding like a speaker not as a debater and there is one thing which people think it’s irrelevant but it’s create a mark on adjudicator when you start and end your speech well , you may be a very good debater but you don’t start and end your speech nicely, it can cost you a lot and never under speak than the prescribed time limit that has been given to you ,if you don’t have matter just repeat your speech but complete your full time.
In the formal debate if you want to rebut their point rebut it by giving another better point not by giving examples because examples just don’t fulfill the criteria of assertion, reasoning and analogy and you can’t use an open ended statement which can interpreted differently from both side and make one of the point of speech. The best thing in formal debate is that you don’t have to have some special knowledge about something, if you are coming out here and saying that “America is the most powerful country of the world” and are not giving this assertion with reasoning, analogy and example just stating the facts and facts and I am not getting the answers of How’s and Why it is so and someone is coming up and saying that “America is the worst country in the world” and he is backing his assertion with the reasoning, analogy and examples providing with the answers of How’s and Why .
In formal debate, the adjudicator will take that the “America is the worst country of the world”. So you have an Idea first backing it with rationality behind it. And the simplest way to win is to convince the adjudicator that your points are better than the other side. A speech should be presented by always keeping in mind the basic of debating of matter, manner and method. And when you think you don’t have to be in any bondage and want express yourselves beyond the rules prescribed just do that and justify yourselves because at the end your satisfaction matters , how you want to represent yourselves and never hesitate to ignore some rules because these are just rules and rules are subject to interpretation and change.