It was a fine September morning in Delhi, and the English Debate Society of Sri Venkateswara College (University of Delhi) was hasty with all the last minute preparations of Rhetoric 2007, unaware of how it would create history in Bangladeshi debating. After the event's huge success last year and the years before that, EDS.SVC took extra care to make this year's Rhetoric the best and biggest so far, with over 40 teams participating from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. However, it turned out to be most significant for Bangladesh, since Rhetoric 2007 gave Bangladesh its first ever international breaking team, making proud North South University and the country's debate fraternity.
EDS.SVC has been the most constructive associations in the Delhi University and has been a platform where students exhibit their best skills at public speaking and are awarded for the same. It is among the top in the Delhi University debating circuit. Last year EDS.SVC organized .Rhetoric 2006: Indo-Pak Debate. The winning team GIKI, Pakistan was awarded cash prizes and certificates of appreciation from the President of Pakistan and the Government of Pakistan. Rhetoric 2007 was a three member parliamentary debate based on the Australasian format of debating with self-incorporated variations.
Rhetoric 2007 began with the opening address from the Principal of Sri Venkateswara College, Dr. A Sankara Reddy. The tournament displayed some of the best debaters in Asia, with teams from RVCE (last year's finalist at the All Asians), National Law School, Ramjas and other reputed institutions from all over India. Pakistan was represented through three institutions; Lahore School of Economics (this year's quarter finalists at All Asians), GIKI and another law school from Islamabad. From Bangladesh, EDS.SVC had invited North South University, IBA and Dhaka University. However, only NSUDC 'BROKE' into the quarterfinals.
The competition was held at the Delhi University campus from 10 14 September 2007. A total of 126 debaters in 42 teams from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh participated at the tournament. There were five rounds of preliminary debates, and then the break was announced. The NSU team, comprising of, Sheemtana Shameem, Nayeem Kashem and Sinha Ibna Humayun was also the only international team to qualify for the quarter-finals, apart from being the sole breaking team from Bangladesh. They competed with well renowned teams in the preliminaries and in the process won debates against teams from Delhi University, Campus Law College, Loyola and Lady Shree Ram College. Sheemtana was 'best speaker' in all of the five preliminary debates that the team had to survive through. NSU eventually lost in the quarter-finals to the ultimate finalists from Rashtriya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (RVCE). The final was between RVCE and Delhi University, with the eventual winners Delhi University being awarded cash prizes of over 40,000 rupees.
The success of the tournament was in part due to the high quality of adjudication that was prevalent throughout the tournament. NSU Debate Club excelled here too, with its freshman member Paromita, becoming breaking adjudicator, thereby having an opportunity to adjudicate at the quarter-finals stage of the competition. NSUDC promotes all aspects of debating whether it is debating or adjudicating, thus along with the debate team, five adjudicators, Raisa Ashrafi, Mushfiq Wahed Rusho, Samin, Paromita & Mahnaz, were also sent to Delhi. The adjudicators did a fine job throughout the tournament. Again, NSU was the only institution from Bangladesh which had adjudicators at Rhetoric.
The international teams participating in the competition were put up in the International Youth Hostel in the Delhi University South Campus.
This allowed the students to relax and mingle with each other on an informal level, and interact more congenially. The NSUDC members made a lot of friends, and enjoyed their time with both the Pakistani & Indian teams, as well as the IBA and DU teams. The bonding was remarkable between these students, as they went out sightseeing, shopping, and experiencing the beautiful city of Delhi together.
One of the most important features of international tournaments such as these is that it provides an opportunity for people from different cultures and societies to interact and gain a greater understanding of each other. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, share a common history and culture in the sub-continent yet there is so much more that we can learn from each other. The various socials during the course of the tournament provided a platform for such interaction to take place, and this was also the exact platform that was necessary for the entire eight member North South University delegation, to propagate the ALL ASIANS 2008, which they are proud to be hosting next year.
The highlight of the tournament was the banquet dinner at the India Convention Center, arranged on the break night after all the preliminary rounds of debating was over. The dinner was attended by the Chief Minister of Delhi and the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University. NSUDC had a brief presentation about the upcoming ALL ASIANS 2008, before the breaks were announced. After the announcement of the break the whole of the Bangladesh delegation was delighted at North South University's feat, this again showed how the spirit of debating brings everyone together regardless of institutions.
Over the last few years debating in Bangladesh has grown from a niche extra-curricular activity that appealed to only a few, to a one encompassing all students in all institutions, hence creating a vibrant debate culture in the country. This has lead to the increased participation of Bangladeshi universities at international debate competitions. NSUDC has been participating in international tournaments for more than a decade now, Worlds, All Asians and other numerous tourneys abroad. The recently concluded Rhetoric 2007, International Parliamentary Debate Championship, has seen the club add more to its success a remarkable international achievement. North South University is delighted at the performance of the team, Sheemtana Shameem, Nayeem Kashem and Sinha Ibna Humayun, in being the first Bangladeshi team to reach the knockout stages of an international debate competition, and in the process bringing a great deal of pride to the nation and to its debate club.
Chicken Soup for the Soul
One at a Time
Afriend of ours was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.
As our friend approached even close he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water. Our friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said “Good evening friend. I was wondering what you are doing.”
“I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see its low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen.”
“I understand,” my friend replied, “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can't possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don't you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?”
The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, “Made a difference to that one!”
(Collected by Nazia Ahmed)