By Shaan Katari Libby
Nelson Mandela said:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” and “A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.”
On Sunday, October 24, A to Zee Creativity, having trained debate champion teams across various competitions, including the World Scholar’s Cup, and several national competitions, hosted the second edition of “Definitive Debate”. Like last year, this competition was held entirely online on Zoom.
The preliminary rounds held in the morning had an accomplished set of judges from the fields of law and journalism, and the chief guests were Inderjit Badhwar, Editor, India Legal, and Mukund Padmanabhan, former editor of The Hindu, both of whom judged the finals of the competition which consisted of approximately 50 competitors and an audience of their families.
Divided into the junior and senior groups according to their age, the students put forth impassioned and reasoned arguments that touched upon social and political life, as well as abstract themes. While tackling challenging questions asked by the chief guests, the winners of the junior group were Ayaan Sathyakumar, Caroline Zita Dias and Diya Nandakumar (above) who argued against the motion: “This house believes that poorly-behaved students should be judged by a jury of their peers.”
The winners of the senior group were Harschith Adimoolam, Madhav Menon, and Taran Balakrishnan (above), who spoke for the statement: “This House believes the internet has enhanced the freedom of the press.”
Additionally, the best speakers of the competition were recognised: Mathew Ryan and Anya George from the Junior Group, and Yash Chokhani and Madhav Menon from the Senior Group (below).
As always, the philanthropic nature of every public event hosted by A to Zee Creativity chose to donate funds to NUR, a charity founded and run by Tehzeeb Katari. For every point scored by the students, the equivalent was donated to Nur. This way, the better they did the more they gave to this education-based charity! The students gave us lots of useful feedback on the competition and the judges. Overall the general consensus appeared to be what young Raoul Alexander had to say: “I like it just the way it is.”
We would like to thank the chief guests and the judges, the parents, our team, and the participants for everything! We look forward to seeing you all next year!
—The writer is a barrister-at-law, Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, UK, and a leading advocate in Chennai. With inputs from Shruti Lal