Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Importance of Debates

New Doc 44_1  - by Jyoti R. Honkote

Nothing in this world is wholly good or bad, our thoughts and opinions decide their hue. There may also be various shades of grey. Every person is brought up in a different environment and in a different manner. Thus, the experiences that he has & the views he comes across shape his thoughts. He also has different genes. Therefore each individual has a different perspective towards the same issue. This variety in thinking allows one to ponder on the pros & cons and consider various sides of a question. This in turn creates a forum wherein a healthy discussion can ensue and all aspects of the topic can be put on the table.

Formal debates were looked upon as a tradition in ancient India. Lively and extensive discussions examining religious, philosophical and moral doctrines were quite common and had the seal of approval of many kings. Buddhist texts mention King Janaka who is said to have not only organised and patronised debates between sages and priests but also participated in them. Women scholars, prominent among them being Gargi, also took active part. Training was also imparted in this art.

The Nyayasutras mention three kinds of debate namely, vada, jalpa and vitanda. Vada is a debate between a proponent and his teacher or somebody of a similar status, the goal being the establishment of truth, based on knowledge, evidence and reasoning. The conclusion generally agrees with accepted tenets and thus Vada is held in a congenial and friendly atmosphere. Jalpa and vitanda are between those whose primary goal is victory. The debater may use quibbling and illegitimate rejoinders in order to emerge victorious. These are thus termed as bad debates wherein the opponents are hostile.

Philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, saw Rhetoric (debate) as a tool to manipulate others emotions by revealing certain facts and omitting others. It was also used to resolve practical issues.

Debate is an essential part of an educational process. Students get exposed to various ideas and feel the need to know the topic in greater depth. They enhance their knowledge and get an opportunity to put forth their views in a clear and concise manner. Debates help one to look at an issue from various angles and this widens one’s perspective. A student learns to put forth his ideas more coherently. He learns to analyse arguments & provide counter arguments. He improves his skill in oratory and becomes a confident speaker. Students become independent thinkers. They draw out ideas and the argue upon the underlying presumptions. Debates bring energy into the classroom and provides for greater understanding of the topic under discussion. Thus within class debates and inter class debates on a variety of subjects have become an essential part of the learning process in our school. We also encourage students to participate in Inter School Debate competitions.

This art of discourse or persuasion is often used to motivate audiences in specific political situations. Healthy and intelligent debates can shape the mentality of the citizens and go on to construct a new world.


Debate Team with their teacher Jyoti Honkote


They won trophies at Rotary Club Debating Competition

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