MIT-DT ’17: An Undebatable Success

Before you begin reading this article on MIT-DT, it is highly recommended that you go through http://manipalthetalk.org/colleges/mit/fests-mit/revels/the-debate-workshop/ to get yourself acquainted with the rules of a British Parliamentary Debate.

Think of the scariest things in life. Clowns, mummies, alien invasions, mummified clowns from Mars wanting to invade the Earth – you get the idea. None of these, not even calling the Iceland juice shop owner, “Anna”, is as scary as taking your opponent’s POI in the finals of a national-level debate tournament.

After over four months of preparation, the MIT debate tournament (MIT Deetee DT) commenced on the 12th of August, with thirty three teams of two, and thirty seven adjudicators from the top colleges from across the nation taking part. The organising committee for the event, The Literary, Debating, and Quizzing Club (LDQ) of MIT, did an exceptional job in ensuring the smooth flow of the event. On Day 1, about a hundred debaters waited anxiously in an NLH classroom for the first round’s motion to be received by the core adjudicators.

Before we proceed any further in this action-packed retelling of the second edition of MIT-DT, a bit of background on the personnel. Think of a debate tournament as Game of Thrones. The latter has George RR Martin causing wars, burning ships, essentially, killing people to not let things get boring. Similarly, every debate tournament has its core adjudicators. Together, they form a 3-headed, Cerberus-esque George RR Martin, who doesn’t let the tournament stagnate, by constantly pitting surprises. The core adjudicators for MIT-DT 2017 were Trishal Kumar, Anish Ravishankar, and Dibyojyoti Mainak, and if you’re anyone even remotely familiar with the Indian debating circuit, you probably already have their autographs framed on your walls.

During the course of the two days that followed, 5 rounds of heated debating ensued, with the motion for each round highly different from the previous. 12 rooms of NLH saw multitudes of 7-minute long compelling arguments, making the adjudicators’ job of passing a verdict, nothing short of a nightmare.

 

It is highly draining to be able to debate round after round, dodging accusations thrown at you from all sides, and ensuring your team’s victory. Nevertheless, the debaters showed no signs of mental fatigue, and were as eager as they were when they had just set foot in Manipal (Although, one could not deny the early signs of dark-circle formation, and a gradually declining disregard for personal hygiene).

While the students of MIT groggily drudged on under the overcast Monday sky, the MV Seminar Hall told a story of its own. As the teams and adjudicators who had progressed to the semi-finals filed in, and took their seats, the room was filled with tapping feet and fidgety hands, and the cold air conditioning wasn’t the cause. The draws were displayed, the motion – which was clearly inspired by a Black Mirror episode (further investigation pending) – was out, and the teams set out to do what they do best. Two simultaneous debates were conducted, in the MV and ICE Seminar halls, and the adjudicators’ verdicts were folded away neatly, privy to everyone’s eyes. Just as the semis ended, the novice finals began. The novice category is created so that debaters who are relatively new to the scene are pit against competitors of similar standing.

 

After one of the most nervous lunch breaks of their lives, the participants took their place back in the hall, and the finalists were declared. The teams who didn’t make it were slightly dejected, the ones which did, rejoiced, but every single person in the room couldn’t deny that the floor had been set for the most spectacular debate they would see for a while.

In a finals that was streamed live on Facebook, the four teams did everything in their power to make their point stand out from the rest, one last time. At the end of the 3 days of non-stop debating, here’s where the results stood:

Champions
NLS B – Unnati Ghia and Aman Deep Borthakur

Novice Champions
VIT C – Prachi Mishra and Natasha Singh

Best Adjudicator
Chinmaya Bhargava (VIT Vellore)

Best Speaker
Aniruddh Nigam (NLS A) -Avg. Speaker Points: 78.4

 

“This year we were much more prepared than the last. This being the second time we were hosting this tournament, we received the participation of a much higher level of debaters and adjudicators, we were prepared logistically and on the admin front. Sure, there were a few minor setbacks but we made it up in the level of debating, we’re becoming an established name in the Indian debating circuit, and we can only go higher from here. One of the things that made me the happiest was that right after the prize distribution ceremony, the three core adjudicators came up to me and told me that they had had immense amounts of fun, that our hospitality was unparalleled, and that they were all leaving happy, and I think that’s what matters. I would do it all over again in heartbeat if I could.” – Samir Kothari (LDQ President)

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