A total of 57 students from various ICSE schools from across the country arrived here to engage in a battle of verbal wit on Friday.
They were participating in the annual national debate competition organised by the Association of Schools for the Indian School Certificate (ASISC), at Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School, Kowdiar.
The one-day event saw students from various schools from 10 regions under ICSE - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar/ Jharkhand, Odisha/ Chattisgarh, North West (Gujarat/Rajasthan), North, UP/ Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The students, selected for the national competition after triumphing the various regional-level competitions, came well-prepared and confident, to state their views articulately and with seeming conviction as they debated on various topics.
The contestants in the senior boys category, for instance, minced no words as they argued over whether the ‘Right to No Vote’ should be exercised or not.
When Qusai Sardharwala of St Paul’s School, Rajkot, argued against the motion saying that the negative voting would increase the financial pressure since the election expenses would be doubled as they may have to be conducted again, his opponent Shiven Shridhar of the British Co-ed High School countered with: “Would it be more acceptable now that convicted criminals are allowed to contest elections?”, referring to the ordinance that was recently passed.
The senior girls were no less emphatic in their arguments. Indeed they were more so, having received a topic close to their hearts - ‘The feminist ideology will serve the purpose of creating equality between genders’.
Those arguing for the motion, like Akansha Singh of Anand Niketan, Satellite, Gujarat, felt that feminist ideologies were the starting point of granting equal rights to women.
And those against, like Vedika Walia of Jamnabai Narsee School, Maharashtra - who won the first place in her category - argued that feminism was an idea invented by men and it was based on seeking sanction from male authorities.
The junior boys and junior girls too had tricky topics dealing with the future, with each speaker given nine
minutes to express their views.
While the former argued whether or not computers could ever replace teachers, the latter debated whether India would be a safe and promising place for future generations.
Three prizes were awarded in each category for the best speakers.
The following are the first place winners in each category - Rithvika Ramesh Iyer, Hiranandani Foundation School, Maharashtra (junior girls); Abhijit Kumar, Hill Top School, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand (junior boys); Vedika Walia, Jamnabai Narsee School, Maharashtra (senior girls) and Pranjal Awasthi, St Joseph’s College, Allahabad (senior boys).
Kerala region too bagged a couple of prizes with Athulya Mohandas of Hari Sri Vidya Nidhi School, Thrissur, winning the second place in the junior girls category and Varsha Renjit of L’ecole Chempaka, Thiruvananthapuram, coming third in senior girls category.