5 Reasons Why Law Students Should Learn Parliamentary Debate

5 Reasons Why Law Students Should Learn Parliamentary DebateOne of my lasting regrets about my time in law school is not trying enough debating. I asked Sumaiya Saleem from UPES to write about why she thinks every law school student should go for parliamentary debating, and she wrote this awesome article. Over to Sumaiya.

For one second let’s go back to our law school, now there you see many people, some just mugging up books, some just busy is buttering anyone and everyone they can get their hands on. And then there are some who are just there to say the least. But amongst these stereotypes there is another breed of law students, the ones who catch everyone’s attention, these ones are the popular faces. My experience says that this breed consists of a lot of debaters.

A law student always has his plate full with serious stuff and there you have one of the most informal debating formats, the parliamentary debating. Here are five main reasons as to why law students should learn parliamentary debate:

Connecting Oratory with Intellect

The image of lawyers in India is clouded by vision of a great orator, speaking logic and law at the same time and winning hearts with his style. The parliamentary debate is a debating format providing students, a platform to gain these oratory skills in a conducive and informal atmosphere. For a budding lawyer, the biggest setback may be lack of confidence. Facing, opposing and convincing unknown people requires confidence which any parliamentary debate would equip them with. In a parliamentary debate, one has to look after the running time, collect various ideas and form a chain of thought so convincingly as to speak out in front of the adjudicators, bear the burden of proving the constructive put forward and refute the new points kept by the opposition, all together. Team work is an added quality which this debating format offers, from tolerating a team mate’s absurd notions about the motion to bearing the burden. Parliamentary Debating improves one’s speaking skills and enables them to instantly discuss important issues. It enhances a person’s intellect and increases his/her area of knowledge. A law student should be able to think of innovative ideas in the field of science, religions, politics, media or whatever the topic may be.

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Learning the Thrill of Public Speaking

Parliamentary Debate is fun- While for some, parliamentary debate is about preparing oneself by researching deep about different current topics, for some it’s just about fun. Such people would even reach the venue with track pants and a hoodie on and start debating. Parliamentary debate comes to them as excitement and a challenge to form a chain of thoughts instantly, not to forget the fact that in PDs, what the first speaker says becomes the rule of the house. Such speeches are lively and attract attention of the audience. People tend to enjoy the nerve – wrecking extempore, using only the notes they have prepared during the preparation time. People start to like the thrill of thinking on their feet, forming chain of ideas and putting them in front of the adjudicators as convincingly as possible supported by relevant facts and examples. Each speaker has a responsibility of elaborating bullet points. Also, unlike various conventional debates, PDs are less complicated and less technical rather full of fun and thrill.

Expose Yourself to More People

No matter if one loses or wins a parliamentary debate, one doesn’t come back empty handed. The ceremony of shaking hands and expressing gratitude between the teams in the end of every session ensures good relations between them. This in turn creates bonds of friendships and sometimes just a little more than that (pun intended). The more people one meets and gets to know, the more one’s perception of looking at various issues formulates.

Creativity and Expression

Unlike the conventional debate where one has to speak what everyone agrees to, in parliamentary debate one speaks what one himself agrees with. One can rely and put emphasis on what is in one’s favor and then deny what is not. The key is how well you frame the ideas into sentences so the adjudicators get convinced. Here, another thing which comes into picture is one’s gestures and hand movements and body language. One should try to grasp what the adjudicator’s expectations are and act accordingly. A PD is all about expression. A logical expression of what you think is right. You are free in all senses to create situations, for example you can open the house in Bagdad at the time of a civil war. This adds all the more thrill to the debate.

The after party

The essence of a PD lies in the hip and informal atmosphere, the debate starts with a bang and ends with a louder bang. Yes the after party, the format of this party varies from state to state expending on the excise duty (pun intended). For most the party is full of fun and craziness. Once you’ve been to a PD and attended the after math, you rarely stop debating.

Debate till you drop and party till you debate again!



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