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     Volume 2 Issue 99 | December 28 2008|


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IBA: Setting another benchmark in Rhetoric`08

Shoaib Ahmed

THE time when a Bangladeshi Debating team will dream of being among the top teams of an international competition is long gone. Now, Bangladeshi debaters are soaring to new heights and setting new benchmarks in every international competition and IBA is pioneering in taking Bangladeshi debate ahead. In Rhetoric South Asian Inter University Debate Championship `08, which was held at Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, the team IBA-A went up to the quarter finals of and finished the tournament as the 5th standing team. This was a height that was not reached by any other Bangladeshi team so far within the South Asian Debating Community. This team was comprised of Md. Golam Kibria, Shoaib Ahmed and Md. Abir Hasan. This success can be thought of as a continuation of glory that IBA achieved earlier this year in the All Asians University Debate Championship'08 where IBA ended up getting into the quarter finals and let Asia hear the voices of Bangladesh for the first time in the knock out rounds of the tournament.

It was no less than a euphoria that I felt when I learnt I made it to the IBA contingent to this year's Rhetoric as a debater. We started our trip to Sri Venkateshwara College, Delhi where the tournament was held. Our lively contingent also included Albaab-Ur-Rahman, Ariful Islam and Salmina Azmi who participated in the tournament as the 2nd team of IBA. Amidst all the fun (we almost never ran out of it!) during the trip, we still could feel the onus upon us to uphold the soaring reputation created by our previous teams.

The tournament kicked off on the very day we reached Delhi on October 9. Even before we could properly pile up our heavy suitcases on the stash of luggage, we had to appear in the seminar hall to receive the theme and motion for the 1st and only round of debate of the day. 20 minutes later we were proposing the resolution 'This house would work together' on the theme of `SAARC'. After a fierce round of debate, the adjudicators gave a unanimous win to us against Hindu College (team-B). Abir and me experienced the joy of winning our first international round of debate that we all very wisely thought called for a celebration. So after getting back to hotel, we emptied few bottles of Appy Fizz (I miss you Appy!) to commemorate our first victory.

In the next round, due to power matching we were up against National Law School (team-C), the champion of this year's All Asian Debate Championship who later went on to be champion of this tournament too. We took it as an opportunity and were determined to give our best shot as we were proposing `This house would support sick financial institutions`. We kept our promise and put up a really good fight against the champs but that too fell short of enough and we lost by a close margin. This close defeat left us with an oozing confidence that if we can give a hard time to the very best team in Asia, we can as well take down the rest. Later it turned out that we were not wrong with our conviction. We saw the start of our winning streak in the next round against Amity University (team-A) where we were opposing the necessity of abolishing the coexistence of the lessons on creationism and evolutionism in the science classes of U.S.A. After winning this round convincingly, we moved on to debate against RVCE (team-A).

Being on the proposition side, we came up with a clever definition that caught the opposition in a total mess and they could not get out of it until they discovered the adjudicator too was very much for doing `An Australia'. This was the last debate of the day. Then we were taken to a posh restaurant on the outskirts of the city where we could for once relish the taste of non-vegetarian food. On our way back to hotel, we along with our fellow Bangladeshi debaters from North South University and Stamford University tried our already overstressed voice on a few popular Bangla songs that seemed to amuse also the other people on the bus who probably could not even understand a word of them.

October 11: the D-day. We were scheduled to have 3 more rounds of debate on that day of which 2 rounds would be silent. That meant the result of those rounds would not be announced till the `Break Night`. We had to win at least 1 of the 3 remaining rounds to go up to the knock out rounds. But we had something bigger and better in our mind because letting go of the winning streak did not seem to be a good idea to us. We had the first silent round against Hansraj College, Delhi University (team-B) on the motion that `This house does not believe in coalition government` and it turned out to be a rather unconventional round of debate because we went for a definitional challenge. We later knew that we were the only team in the tournament that won by challenging the definition given by the proposition side. The next round was the last silent round and we were facing another team from National Law School (team-B) that eventually became runner-up of this tournament. It was a scintillating round of debate on the motion that `This house supports carpet bombing`. After the debate, everyone in the room clapped for both the teams in appreciation and the adjudicator confessed that this was the best round of debate in the tournament so far. That evening we faced Ramjas College, Delhi University (team-B) and proposed the motion that `This house would decriminalize holocaust denial` and won convincingly to complete our wonderful winning streak in the preliminary rounds.

The break party on that night was awaiting another surprise for us when amidst numerous rounds of claps and loud cheers IBA-A was announced to be fifth ranked team to break into the octo-finals (best 16). It was indeed a dream coming true for me. Thanking the almighty I slept that night to dream of some more glory in the knock out rounds.

The next day we were to take on SDF proposing the motion that `This house would ban arranged marriages'. We won the round convincingly and moved on to the quarterfinals to face Ramjas College, Delhi University (team-A). The motion was `This house believes that terrorism is justified`. We being the proposition side, placed compelling arguments to prove that the terror created in the minds of Talibans by U.S troops is justified and most of the people in the audience later let us know that they also thought we could sufficiently justify the U.S. terror. But the adjudicators thought otherwise and we received a loss that we think we did not deserve.

Nevertheless, we accepted the result gracefully and were waiting for the final standing. And it was nothing short of a history. We came to know that we finished the tournament as the 5th team in the final standing. In fact this was the first time a team from Bangladesh finished as one of the top 5 teams in any international debating event. So this achievement brought our Delhi trip to a fulfilling end.

The success of this tournament is another milestone for the ever-improving Bangladeshi debate. IBA promises to bring more such glory for Bangladesh in the international debating arena in future and give Bangladeshi debate a new dimension in a joint effort with all the dedicated debaters from other institutes from all over Bangladesh.

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