Last year, DebSoc achieved a new milestone by conducting a Debate tournament, three fictional debates, and a MUN in a single month. The “Deb-cember” debate tournament recorded a decent involvement of sixty-nine participants after more than a hundred registrations. In contrast, the imaginary themed debate, “Pokemon Week,” was attended by only four participants. Another highlight of the month was conducting a MUN. The Debate Society held the last formal MUN in the college in 2016. Thus, MUN – 2020 affirmatively holds great significance as it is responsible for reviving the “MUNning” culture in IIIT Hyderabad.
1.“Deb-cember” Debate Tournament
The tournament’s chief idea was to introduce students, especially the newly entered UG-1 batch, to the concept of debate, conflicts, and arguments. Sixty-nine participants showed up, who were divided into 23 teams. Each round of debate had an independent theme based upon society’s fundamentals, such as Education, Healthcare, Politics, etc. The tournament’s total prize money was ₹12,000.
Finals of the debate tournament witnessed a spectator crowd of around fifty people, which happened between a UG-2 team, “Agla Debate Phodenge,” and a UG-1 team, “Team JNU.” The theme of this debate was ”relationships,” and the motion was, “The house regrets the institution of marriage.” ADP had to present their views for the motion, whereas JNU had to go against it.
JNU did a decent job portraying the sacredness and importance of marriage in society and tried to counter ADP’s views on marriage’s rigidness. Team ADP felt that failed marriages result in enormous societal pressure and hanging divorces. Eventually, the adjudication panel declared ADP as the winner of the debate. Team ADP had the following UG-2 students: Pahulpreet Singh, Tushar Jain, Ainesh Sannidhi. Anirudh Govil, a part of Team JNU, won the title of Best Speaker.
“Rebirth” was a fictional event based on the famous Japanese Anime and Manga “Death Note,” and adds to the list of significant events conducted in the college. The story follows a teen genius, Kira, who stumbles across a mysterious otherworldly notebook: the ‘Death Note,’ which grants the user the supernatural ability to kill anyone whose name was written in it. Being one of the DebSoc and Literary Club’s combined events, the topic fantasized the death note available to the human race.
The twelve participants were divided into four teams of three each. Following were the views and arguments of each unit depicted in a nutshell:
- Amnesty International: This group’s primary agenda was to avoid Human Rights violations through this Death Note, believing it would lead to a more lax justice system and an opaque method of justice.
- Association of Lawyers: They had several notes on the Justice System’s current flaws and believed a better method would improve the current system. They shared ideas of Kira, a mass-killer in “Death Note,” but wanted to involve it in a controlled legal system.
- Representatives from Police Forces: Their viewpoint involved continuing the current legal system while improving the law. Their position on how/whether to use the Death Note was a bit unclear.
- Illuminati: This group of corporates and technocrats wanted to continue Kira’s work directly but under their control. They also had resources of about 100 Billion USD for their proposed solution. The organization wanted to get full control over the world.
The judges declared Amnesty International as the winner of the debate consisting of the students: Vamshi Krishna, Mugundan Kottur Suresh, and Prerak Srivastava. Amnesty International believed that the death note ought to be destroyed as soon as possible as it was too dangerous to co-exist with humanity. No other organization could give a fool-proof system in which the death note could not be mishandled in any way.
3. A debate on Ice and Fire
This fictional debate held in collaboration with the Literary Club was focused on giving a different ending to the iconic fantasy drama television series, ‘Game Of Thrones.’ There is a general discontentment among the fans regarding the concluding season of the same. Hence, the debate topic was deciding the successor of the iron throne after Robert Baratheon’s death in season one. Every participant was allotted a character and debated keeping their characters’ interests and beliefs in mind.
Petyr Baelish/ Littlefinger insisted on making Sansa Stark the heir to the throne and felt that she could marry a Baratheon when the time came. Meanwhile, Lord Varys was convinced that Joffrey, the eldest son of Cersei Lannister, should sit on the iron throne. In contrast, Stannis Baratheon, the eldest brother to Robert, believed that he was the true successor to the iron throne. The small council proposed many different ideas and methods to relinquish stability and prosperity in the realm.
The adjudicators declared Eddard “Ned” Stark, who was portrayed by Mayank Goel, as the winner of the debate and announced the verdict considering his arguments: “ The small council has decided to split up the seven kingdoms, as it was before the Dragons. Stannis Baratheon will then be made the Warden of the seven kingdoms, serving as an elected head of this confederacy. The Warden will be elected by the seven kings of the seven kingdoms after every generation. Another conclusion of the meeting was that Joffrey Baratheon’s claim to the iron throne is false.”
4. G20 Summit [ MUN ]
The Model United Nations, also known as M.U.N, is an educational simulation and academic activity where students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and working of the United Nations. The purpose of each committee in MUN is to pass a resolution paper that solves the agenda at hand via a majority vote. The committee – G20, though not a part of the United Nations, has a similar structure to the latter.
The committee’s agenda was: “Privacy rights and data protection in the use of online services and connected data.” The committee focused on issues of Data globalization vs. Data localization, Cyberwarfare, and Election Tampering. The students’ enthusiasm was noted when the registration forms were closed four days before the actual date as all forty-three slots got occupied.
Eventually, the majority of delegates decided to come up with a single resolution to the problems of Data Localization and Cyberwarfare. The resolution had the following authors: USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. The resolution proposed dividing all data into two types: sensitive and non-sensitive, and ensured globalizing non-sensitive data heavily, whereas protecting the sensitive data in such a way that it would never leave the national borders. Also, cooperating with white hat organizations and creating an emergency response team was proposed to avoid cyber-warfare. For anyone willing to read the full resolution, it is present here.
China’s delegate opposed the resolution with all his heart, going to the extent of using the clause, “The Resolution is like a donut which is sweet, but with a big hole in the middle.” The delegate of Saudi Arabia responded with, “The delegate of China’s amendment has so many holes that even Mia Khalifa is jealous of it.” After some heated arguments and some amendments to the resolution, it finally passed with a greater than 75 percent majority.
The summit’s total prize money was 3.5k rupees. Following were the prizes and the delegates to whom they were awarded:
- Best Delegate: Delegate of U.S.A, Anirudh Govil.
- Honorable mentions: Delegate of Russia, Harshit Gupta, and delegate of China, Khush Patel.
- Best Position Paper: Delegate of Saudi Arabia, Tanmay Goyal.
5. Pokémon week
The “Pokémon Week” debate was a fictional theme debate based on the differences in Team Plasma and Pokémon Rangers’ opinions. The Debate Society and the Literary Club held the event in collaboration. For those who have not seen the Pokémon Ranger series or have not played the games associated, Pokémon rangers are not Pokémon trainers. Their goals and methods for interacting with Pokémon are very different. They harness the power of certain Pokémon and utilize them to help defend nature. On the other hand, Team Plasma aims at liberating all Pokémon from their trainers by either manipulating the Trainer to release the Pokémon or by theft and cheating. According to them, it is immoral to trap Pokémon in Pokéballs. One of the teams was allotted the name of ‘Pokemon Rangers’ and the other ‘Team Plasma’ to indicate a better characterization of their role.
During the debate, team Plasma insisted on Pokémon’s health issues, use of certain pokéball, which might have a similar effect to drugs(e.g., Luxury Ball), and highlighted the problem of humans making Pokémon fight forcefully after catching them. Pokémon Rangers, on the opposite note, argued that battling was the only way for the evolution and growth of the Pokémon. Pokémon Rangers, consisting of Shreyas Pradhan and Alapan Chaudhuri, were finally awarded the Pokѐcup for their emphasis on Pokémon and Humans’ symbiotic relationship insisting on Pokémon being in constant touch with humans to protect their master from wild Pokémon.
Abhijeeth Singam, the judge of the event and a Debsoc coordinator, said, “All the pokémon week events, especially the gaming club’s pokemon showdown tournament, have greatly contributed to nourishing the Pokémon culture in the college. Many people are now talking about Pokémon.”
Should I say, “Winner Winner, Pokémon dinner”?
Debates are among the best sources for an individual’s overall personal development and melioration. The importance of fair discussion and a chance to challenge and explore new opinions and ideas cannot be overstated. Debate allows everyone to feel included, no matter the outcome. “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it”- these golden words by Joseph Joubert explain to us the significance of debating.