War of Words
Return of DUDS
'Prokashei Protibha' is the slogan Dhaka University Debating Society believes in. Expressing views and potentials through logic and utilising them to construct a rational, democratic and secular Bangladesh is the mission of the organisation for last few decades.
Dhaka University Debating Society, the central body of debate, with the continuation of its effort to promote debate in the national level, organised 'Janata Bank' 4th National Debate Festival 2010 from 15 to 17 May. Debate competitions and festivals are now regular features in all parts of the country. But National Debate Festival organised by Dhaka University Debating Society (DUDS) is a very special occasion for which debaters of the country wait with curiosity and eagerness. Undoubtedly it is the biggest and most prestigious debate gala in the country for which this time debaters had to wait for 6 years. The previous festival was arranged n 2004. The long awaited festival was the demand of time successfully met by DUDS.
Debaters from remote parts of the country started to gather in the DU campus from 14 May. It was a thrilling experience for many school and college students to stay in DU halls far away from their home. DUDS arranged accommodation for all the participants coming from outside Dhaka. In total more than 1700 people attended the festival, including students and teachers of more than 120 institutions, former debaters and organisers, intellectuals, media personalities, politicians and representatives of civil society.
The festival was launched with an inauguration ceremony attended by an exclusive panel of guests. Speaker of National Parliament, Abdul Hamid Advocate was the chief guest to inaugurate the 4th National Debate Festival. Panel of guests included the Vice Chancellor of University of Dhaka Dr. A A M S Arefin Siddique, Pro Vice Chancellor Dr. Harun Ar Rashid, Treasurer Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Moderator of DUDS Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin, Managing Editor of the Daily Shamokal Abu Sayeed Khan and Chairman of Janata Bank Dr. Abul Barakat. The ceremony was presided over by Al Amin Chowdhury Sumon, President of DUDS and anchored by Raqibul Islam, General Secretary of DUDS. The inauguration ceremony was followed by a grand rally that went around the campus with more than 1500 debaters and participants. Soon after lunch, the show began. The festival witnessed its first show debate with six debaters representing six different regions-Dhaka, Rangpur, Noakhali, Barishal, Chittagong and Sylhet, with their local dialects, struggling to prove that their region is the best. Then debates in Australs format, Conventional format, Jukti Bitorko and Planchet debate were staged on the very first day.
The second day started with a Barowari Debate by school, college and university debaters. The next part was a debate full of humor, titled “Rommo Bitorko”. Workshop on British Parliamentary format was followed by an instant show of BP format debate. Teachers - Students debate was an interesting one with disciples arguing against teachers which is not a very common scene in our educational institutions. The evening became colourful with a cultural programme with the participation of professional artistes as well as debaters. Debaters, the artists of logic, proved that they can also sing, dance, recite and act very well. After two long days of model debates and workshops, the cultural evening was a great chance of relief for the participants. The third day commenced with the most attractive debate form, parliamentary debate. Six best debaters of Dhaka University represented their generations to stage a thrilling show of parliamentary debate. The audience was amazed with the logic and counter logic presented by the debaters. After the lunch session, Srishti-Sroshta Bitorko was staged.
The afternoon turned interesting with the very special debate by Members of Parliaments and debaters. Parliament member Suranjit Shen Gupta chaired the session as the Speaker. The proposition bench was represented by Arif Al Mamun, Al Amin Chowdhury Sumon and Debashish Ranjan Sarkar. The opposition bench consisted Rashed Khan Menon MP, Sheikh Fazle Nur Taposh MP and Zunaid Ahmed Palak MP. The motion placed before the house was “Democracy is not suitable for third world countries”. Insightful logic came from participants of both the teams. The last session was a discussion on the Tribunal of War Crime in Bangladesh. The session was attended by Lt. General (Rtd.) Harun Ur Rashid, Abed Khan (Editor, Kaler Kontho) and Tahmina khanam. The debaters ensured their support once again in favour of the upcoming War Crime Tribunal.
The three-day carnival came to an official end with the closing and prize giving ceremony. The chief guest of the event was Deputy Speaker of Parliament Colonel (Rtd.) Shawkat Ali. Vice Chancellor of University of Dhaka, Dr. A A M S Arefin Sidduqe, Senate Member of DU Subhas Singha Roy and Moderator of DUDS Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin were in the panel of guests. The ceremony was presided over by Al Amin Chowdhury Sumon, President of DUDS. The last phase was the award giving ceremony. More than 120 institutions were awarded for participating in the biggest debate festival ever in the history of Bangladesh. Former DUDS Presidents were awarded for their special contribution to debate. Executive members of DUDS, debaters and organisers received token of appreciation. The publication of 4th National Debate Festival “Protibak” came out during the concluding ceremony.
Last but not least, the debaters were entertained with a grand dinner and a camp fire. The three-day gala event came to an end with the beats of music and dance going around a fire. The debaters lighted candles and illuminated the TSC area with the message of optimism that light of logic will one day help our citizens become enlightened with rational attitude towards everything.
The biggest debating event ever in the history of Bangladesh ended with hope and aspiration towards creating a rational and democratic Bangladesh with the spirit of logic.
Star Campus finds out more on DUDS:
An interview with the president
Star Campus(SC): Tell us about the preparation details of the 4th National Debate competition.
Al-Amin Chowdhury Sumon(AACS):The DUDS executive committee for year 2009-10 had committed to organizing this event. We organized the National Debate Festival at the end of May. We first finished our routine programs and then launched this project.
Preparation actually started from late April. We started our formal journey from last week of April when the university administration finally permitted us to go for such a big venture. So our committee and volunteers got only 20-25 days time to prepare for the event.
SC: DUDS organized this competition after six years, why after such a long time?
AACS: The first DUDS debate festival was arranged in 1994, the second one in 1996 and the third one in 2004. For many reasons a huge event as such is impossible to arrange every year. Thus DUDS actually aims to arrange the National festival every 3-4 years.
DUDS had plans and also the capacity to arrange the national festival for the past 2-3 years. But due to political unrest and other unavoidable circumstances it was not possible.
SC:Was the university authority cooperative enough in arranging such a huge event?
AACS:To be honest, without the assistance and support of our VC Dr. A A M S Arefin Siddique, Pro-VC Dr. Harun Ar Rashid, treasuer Dr. Mizanur Rahman, the program would not have been possible.DUDS alone couldn't have arranged the event in only 20 days. Accommodation in the halls, managing sponsors, security affairs and each and every aspect of arranging the program was taken care of by the university administration. Finally, our Chief Moderator, Dr. Syed Manjurul Islam and Moderator, Dr. Mahbuba Nasrin had contributions, which cannot be measured.
SC: Did DUDS face any form of difficulty to arrange the program?
AACS: We had a few difficulties, which we would not like to mention after completing a successful program. DUDS is a big debating organization and it welcomes challenges.
SC: What was the role of the volunteers in the program?
AACS: DUDS members and debaters from different organisations volunteered for the programme. We had 12 sub committees consisting of almost 100 members. It was a collective effort of DUDS and other participating organisations. Volunteers worked really hard to make the show a successful one.
SC: Any future plans regarding similar events?
AACS: DUDS will continue promoting debate in and outside the country. We have regular programs of our annual calendar.And we hope to arrange the 5th national debate festival after 2-3 years interval.