By: Tania Saili Bakshi & Nikita Aggarwal
Pics: Shivang Yadav
The Valley of Words| Shabdavali Inter-School Bilingual Debate was held at the Thimayya Auditorium of the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) on November 26, 2023. The event, a part of the Valley of Words International Art and Literature Festival initiative, the National School Debate aims to attract young school debaters from all over India.
The semi-finals were held a day prior at RIMC, Dehradun in which 16 participants took centre stage. Eight teams NVS- JNV, Dehradun, Sainik School Amrawatinagar, KV Hathibarkahala, BSF School Gopalganj, RIMC, Eklavya School, HIm Jyoti School Dehradun and Railway School from Mussoorie and took part in this years competition.
The final event witnessed the participation of 8 students, divided equally between English and Hindi speakers, with 2 participants each arguing for and against the motion. The Chief Guest at the event was Maj Gen Atul Rawat, AVSM, ADG NCC and the Guest of Honour was Dr Sanjeev Chopra, Festival Director of Valley of Words|Shabdavali.
Three eminent personalities served as judges for the debate, ensuring a fair and thorough evaluation of the participants' arguments. Mr Yogesh Kumar, a seasoned journalist with a remarkable career; Dr Srishtee Sethi, Harvard University, India Fellow specializing in Borderlands and Migration; and Mrs Rekha Kalia, a veteran in soft skills training with over 30 years of experience, brought a wealth of expertise to the event.
Dr Sethi complimented the participants, highlighting the seamless and well-researched nature of the debate and the students' commitment to knowledge and critical thinking.
Dr Sanjeev Chopra expressed gratitude to all the esteemed guests, judges, and participants. He specifically acknowledged the instrumental role played by RIMC Commandant Brig. Vikram Kadian, Ms Kshipra Panwar (Faculty English Deptt, RIMC), Mr Khushiram (Faculty Hindi Deptt, RIMC), The Samkhyaa Foundation, and the volunteers of Valley of Words in making the event a resounding success. Dr Chopra emphasized the significance of debates in fostering knowledge and wisdom, praising the participants for putting forth well-reasoned arguments.
Maj Gen Rawat acknowledged the difficulty of the topic for participants of such a young age yet he highlighted the essential qualities of a good speaker, emphasizing the importance of articulating ideas effectively.
The winners of the debate were announced after much anticipation. RIMC won the ‘Best Speaker Award’ in Hindi and English; Sana Iqbal of BSF Sr Sec School stood second while Tanmai Mishra, Railway School, and Kanishka Thapa, Navodaya Vidyalaya came in third. In the Hindi Category: Abhishek Kumar, RIMC won the ‘Best Speaker Award’ , followed by Virat Chauhan, Railway School, Khushi Rajak, BSF Sr Sec School, and Abhishek Raj, Sainik School were third runners up.
The Valley of Words’ Inter-School Bilingual Debate left a lasting impression, showcasing the intellectual prowess and oratory skills of the young debaters. The annual event provided a platform for healthy competition and fostered a spirit of critical thinking and articulate expression among the participants.