(This is mostly a blatantly egotistic post….so be warned )
Our team “BridNBees” <representing FMS MBA(MS)> (please direct all wisecracks and taunts for this name to amuliee) , ruddie,amulie and I , just won “Treatise – The International Thought Challenge” an online debating contest for teams from all around the world (well, at least 2 international teams were there for sure in the final rounds ).
It involved around 5 rounds where you had to write for and against different topics related to sustainable development. In addition to blowing my own trumpet (which I think I have already done here to a nauseating level ), I also want to write about some of the topics that we debated about in different rounds and express my views on them.
We had to write a essay extolling the virtues of sustainable development , which we did in roughly 30 minutes after procrastinating the whole day. Frankly before this debate “Sustainable Development” was just a buzzword for me to use and gain brownie points in a GD. Not claiming that it has changed a lot, but I do think that I look at the word with more respect and also are more attuned to the various trade off’s associated with it.
Universal education is the most disintegrating and corroding poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction.
Our Stand: Against
Opponents : IIM Lucknow (Hosts)
This is actually something I had started writing looong back (June 07) and saved in my blog drafts. But finally it is going to get a chance to flirt with google bots. Originally a Hitler quote, it had me scrambling to understand what exactly it means, but once I got the meaning , it got easy to defend. Among other core issues with universal education most people have the problem of who actually decides what right and this is what I think was as the one of the pillars of our stand. We felt that it was a problem with the pedagogy than with universal education.
To take an example from science, a teacher teaching the gravitational theory can teach in two different manners the entirely same concept. She/he can present the theory as one that is accepted universally, the explanation embellished with the story about Newton and the apple or she/he can teach the same theory as an example of the scientific methodology of understanding the world around us. One that involves , observing the phenomenon, proposing a hypothesis, trying to validate it with further experiments, modifying or rejecting in case of inconsistency or accepting it as a theory in case of agreement of further observations. By doing the latter the pupil is free to believe in what he believes at the same time equipping him with a rational way to analyze the universe.
(Irrelevant observation #2,438 about girls : if you have 2 gals as your team mates “he/she” automatically becomes “she/he” after reviews and any change to saner language gets u beaten up )
‘Survival of the fittest’ is the only sustainable means for development
Our Stand: For
Opponents : IIM Indore
Extremely dicey topic considering its relevance to political and emotional issues like reservation. But we wanted to start right by dispelling the wrong connotations that the team “Survival Of The Fittest” has especially its perverse wrong equivalence to Social Darwinism. Something to sum up our stand would be “In the natural order of things, the fittest are not those that fight well, but those that avoid fighting altogether, and thereby learn to use resources efficiently” Tony Stebbing and Gordon Heath (Renowned Ecologists from the Sustainable fold, Green Futures, September/October 2002). Our stand was confused as a tautology by the opposition which we dispelled successfully in the closing round.
In the name of sustainable development, the environmentalists pretend that strangling industrial civilization would not consign the world to a permanent hell of poverty, starvation and mass death.
Our Stand: Against
Opponents : SPJIMR
A very wrong and weak topic to debate upon in my opinion, and in fact after the first round ouropponents got confused and started supporting us!!!
Round 5 (Final Round)
Sustainable Development can only be fruitful when it grows up from the grassroot level rather than when implemented as a policy decision
Our Stand: For
Opponents :IIFT Kolkata
Very close debate and our moderator Sidin Vadukut royally screwed our stand but thankfully for us the judges (or at least some of them) thought otherwise. Actually I also think it was too close to call but the fact that the moderator comments for 1st two rounds were uploaded only 3 hours before the 3rd and final round was a bit of a bolt from the blue. But finally we survived
I would be lying if I said I didnt want to win, but this is one contest where I really enjoyed working with the team on coming up with the write up’s, especially the rebuttals which were like triple decker chocolate fudge for me . So the prize was like the icing on a cake that was built with a lot of sweat, abuse(yeah thats what we tend to do in debating ) and fun.