Razor-sharp jargon, layers of argumentation, and excessive hand gestures – dive into the world of college-level parliamentary debating.

Dear Freshers, as the floodgates of Delhi University have been opened to you try to soak in the vibrant extracurriculars scene on campus – from expressive Dramsocs, socially-committed Enactus to the absolutely beautiful monstrosity that are Debsocs. Debating at the college-level is quite different from the public speaking or ‘debating’ our English teachers forced us into during our schooling years. Have you come across groups of debaters rapidly scribbling notes and speaking without a single pause? Folks who wear, “Don’t Hate, Just Debate” T-shirts. The over-caffeinated curious species who attract starry-eyed freshers into the magnetic pull of debating. Yes, those are your ‘college debaters’.

Introduction to PDs

College debating, especially in colleges of Delhi University, focuses on the Parliamentary Format. Unlike school, debating at the varsity-level is a group activity with one team of 2-3 speakers arguing for the motion, known as Side Government, and another team against the motion, known as Side Opposition. There are several niches of Parliamentary formats, the most common of which are the Asian Parliamentary Debate (APD) and the British Parliamentary Debate (BPD). Loosely based on the style of discussion followed in legislatures, the PD format of debating involves dynamic cross- argumentation and enhanced teamwork.

Debates are judged by a panel of Adjudicators who analyze the entire debates and decide which team wins. They then give their justification behind the verdict. Similar to debating, adjudicating is a competitive activity as well. In addition to this, Debating also involves Tabbing which is a technical activity involving softwares for
organising debate tournaments, and Equity, a grievance redressal and diversity mechanism.

The DU Debating Circuit

The community of Debating Societies of all colleges in the varsity which come together for practice mock debates and intercollege tournaments is known as the “Debating Circuit”. There are two prominent circuits for English and Hindi debating each. It includes legacy debsocs such as those of Kirori Mal College, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, and Sri Venkateswara College which have dominated the space for decades, and up-and-coming fledging debsocs with dynamic debaters and much-needed fresh blood.

The circuit is known for fostering some of the closest friendships and team-ups, but also generational society rivalries. Some of India’s and the World’s largest debate tournaments are hosted within the Delhi Uni Debate community such as the Mukerji Memorial Debate by St. Stephens which is one of India’s oldest running debates (they hosted the 75 th edition this April, 2023) and the Shri Ram Debating Festival, by Shri Ram College of Commerce, which is Asia’s largest week-long debate extravaganza.

The circuit initially brought about for promoting healthy dialogue and discourse and enhancing the communication skills and critical thinking of its members, unfortunately, has it’s fair share of criticisms. In recent times, legacy colleges with age-old society machinery and admin backing have been able to dominate tournaments that require significant financial resources and English-speaking ability. People from privileged backgrounds find it easier to make it big in the debating sphere, thus excluding minority speakers. Those with pre-established reputations and status in the circuit (known as “Dinos”) get an edge over those trying to break into this highly competitive field.

With greater awareness and callouts, the circuit is trying to revamp itself to be more accommodative and inclusive. Year after year, fresh blood, from colleges all across DU, irrespective of campus, find their way into debate rooms and beyond, thus carrying on the century-old legacy of this varsity’s greatest orators.

So, if you are an enthusiastic fresher, enamored by the pull of debating, or someone unsure about their prowess to enter this dynamic field, fear not and take that leap. After all, your voice matters, and no better space to find its resonance than Debating.

Image Credits: DU Beat Archive

Bhavya Nayak
[email protected]

A thing that brings all the aspirants of the University of Delhi (DU) in this country to a sense of fascination is the University’s engagement with the performing arts. With a plethora of opportunities in fields like dance, music, dramatic, debating, students are exposed to the discipline and the adventure of the arts that interest them. DU Beat brings to you, for the first time, a ranking of the top debating societies in the circuit. The hard work was persistent, and the competition heartening. Let’s delve into who made the cut and how.


The best college society in each category was selected by creating a tally of the top 3 positions that could be won at various events. The team that secured the 1st position (winners) was awarded 3 points and the team that secured the 2nd position (finalist) was awarded 2 points. The best adjudicator and the second best adjudicators were allotted 3 and 2 points each, respectively.

46 DU college competitions were considered in the making of the tally. The selection of these 46 competitions was based upon an analysis done by speaking with members of numerous college societies, and tracking the competitions they considered most prestigious. The considered college competitions are limited to only colleges affiliated with DU:

Aryabhatta College
Bharti College
College of Vocational Studies
Dyal Singh College
Daulat Ram College
Delhi College of Arts and Commerce
Deen Dyal Upadhyay College
Gargi College
Guru Gobind Singh College – Freshers
Guru Gobind Singh College – Seniors
Hansraj College
Hindu College – Premchand
Hindu College – Thadani
Indraprastha College for Women
Janki Devi Memorial
Jesus and Mary College
Kamala Nehru College
Keshav Mahavidyalaya College
Kirori Mal College – Freshers
Kirori Mal College – Seniors
Lady Irwin College
Lady Shri Ram College
Mata Sundri College
Maitreyi College
Miranda House
Moti Lal Nehru College (Morning)
Moti Lal Nehru College (Evening)
PGDAV College (Morning)
PGDAV College (Evening)
Ramjas College
Ramanaujan College
Ram Lal Anand College
Satyawati College
Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies
SGTB Khalsa College
SGND Khalsa College
Sri Venkateswara College
Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Business Studies
Shivaji College
Shri Ram College of Commerce – Freshers
Shri Ram College of Commerce – Seniors
Shyama Prasad Mukherji College
St Stephen’s College – Freshers
St Stephen’s College – Seniors
Zakir Hussain College (Morning)
Zakir Hussain College (Evening)

Top Three Positions

The following are the positions and the points with which they emerged victorious:

Winner- CBS with 47 points
First Runner-up- Venkateswara with 45 points
Second Runner-up – KMC with 40 points

Points Tally

The Winning Society at a Glance

The CBS Debating Society shared its delight with DU Beat correspondent, Shivani Dadhwal- “This year has been an extremely rewarding year for our society. We have increased our tournament wins from 4 to 9, beating our own record many times over. However, this journey hasn’t been an easy one. Being a business college, We didn’t have exposure to social studies in our college curriculum. Some would consider this a disadvantage but we were able to overcome this with the constant dedication, hard work and commitment of all the members.

Our society is new to the circuit and we have actively debated only in the last few years. Initially our members found it difficult to even find an opportunity to participate as our society enjoyed no recognition. It fills us with immense joy to see our society  reach such heights. We are confident all our current and future members will continue to work and inspire.”

Active Members

      1. Jatin Gupta (President)

  1. Meher Jauhar
  2. Bhavya Bhatia
  3. Nimratt Singh
  4. Ragini Jetly
  5. Ayush Gupta
  6. Anany Jain
  7. Udit Miglani
  8. Bhavya Mehta
  9. Avantika Mathur
  10. Archit Dikshit
  11. Kshitij Bansal
  12. Tanish Mittal (Vice President)
  13. Suraj Chawla
  14. Naman Wadhwa
  15. Devesh Mittal
  16. Ajatshatru Singh Rawat
  17. Rakshit Sinha
  18. Abhi Bansal
  19. Adittya Dhingra
  20. Aashish Kumar
  21. Ayushman Jain
  22. Dev Goel
  23. Medha Bhasin
  24. Muskaan Sharma
  25. Raghavv Garg
  26. Samridhh Sharma
  27. Shreyan Puri
  28. Satwik Rajput
  29. Srishti Bhandari
  30. Samyak Jain
  31. Rohan Kumar
  32. Vasu Aggarwal
  33. Yuganshu Bhagat
  34. Yash Jain

Winners Tally

From among the colleges we considered, the CBS Debating Society secured positions at the following competitions:

Winners: Hindu College (Thadani), Zakir Hussain College (Morning), Kamala Nehru College

Finalist: Deen Dyal Upadhyay College, Gargi College, Hindu College (Premchand), Indraprastha College, Janki Devi Memorial College, LSR College, SRCC Freshers

Best Adjudicator: Dyal Singh College, Hansraj College, Indraprastha College, Jesus and Mary College, Moti Lal Nehru College (Morning), Ramjas College

2nd Best Adjudicator: Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Deen Dyal Upadhyay, Hindu College (Premchand)

Data Analysis and Compilation by:

Shivani Dadhwal

[email protected]

Anushree Joshi

[email protected]

Feature Image Designed by:

Palak Mittal for DU Beat

[email protected]

When debating is fun and an enriching activity, how do debating tournaments turn out to be strenuous and tardy?

One of the first things you learn after joining the debating circuit in the University of Delhi is how every tournament might be different, but they all have that one thing in common, they all run late. The schedules will always ask you to come at 8:30 or 9 am, and as a novice debater, you will go to the respective college on time. You will reach on time like me, 30 minutes before schedule, only to find the college empty or with other naïve fresher debaters as yourself. Despite Whatsapp messages from the Organizing Committee a night before the tournament, requesting you to be on time, the affair will, certainly, not start before 11 am.

Apart from the delays, what comprises a debating tournament are the jitters you get as you come with your entire college contingent, waiting for the roll call to end, seeing other teams, recognizing people- mostly the ones you lost against at the previous tournament and for the motions to come out.

As the round begins, you see people immediately fall into their teams, the serious whispers, arguments being constructed, people rushing towards their rooms. The tension in the room is self-evident. What is stressful about Parliamentary Debating is how you do not get to prepare a speech and do not know what the other side will bring to the table.

It is just you using the 20 minutes of preparation using all the training you have received in mocks, the news you were grilled to read up on by your seniors, the techniques you learned while missing classes; all these things culminate to determine whether you win or not. And this goes on till the five rounds come to an end.

Debates get more intense in senior tournaments, against people who are third years or, sometimes, Law students who are much older than you. Their age and experience are unfair assets they hold against you, which can often lead to them not taking you seriously. Post breaks. the pressure is quadrupled, because a single unrebutted argument or poor analysis does not mean you can go on to next round but you are out of the tournament itself.

Five rounds, usually spread over two days might sound like a comfortable schedule. However, the small delays gradually add up to massive interludes not allowing participants to leave before 8 pm. With some tournaments even ending around midnight, security is a major concern, given that there are no provisions for transportation.

Furthermore, it is rare that colleges provide accommodation only with higher registration fees. As it gets late, the college is closed and so you can find the last round being wrapped up in the college grounds or near the gates.
Being from a girls’ college, safety is an even bigger issue. It being a new experience, in the beginning, parents worry incessantly with frequent calls, texts, scolding and requests to reconsider this activity. Some even come to pick their children up on late nights. Gradually they become well acquainted with this pattern and you begin to hear about how you do not go to ‘college’ but to ‘debating society’.
You will come home to see stories of your friends out on weekends while you went to debate. And despite the stress, anxiety, mental and physical exhaustion and feelings of self-doubt you will be willing to compromise on your social life next weekend as well, and the reason is very simple. The feeling of learning, knowing, being smarter than the smartest and the thrill you experience is indomitable.

Featured Image credits- Hindustan Times

Shivani Dadhwal
[email protected]

A #MeToo movement in Delhi University’s debating circuit has left predators within its midst scurrying for cover as victims narrate their agonising ordeal and anxiety-inducing tales of woe.

A tumultuous stir has been ignited within the confines of University of Delhi’s debating circuit microcosm, with a multitude of female debaters coming to the fore with the unparalleled gumption to narrate tales of egregious sexual assault or harassment, inflicted on them by those who for far too long thrived on the social capital and hegemony extended to them by a circuit that fawned at their debating finesse. It is a stir that was long overdue, and was brewing for far too long before it shoved the entirety of the circuit into a cataclysmic tailspin.

The debating circuit’s #MeToo movement, reminiscent to the one spurred in Hollywood that ultimately led to the toppling of disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein, posits itself as a watershed moment for an activity that debaters have cherished since antiquity, but what soon devolved into a regressive and toxic cesspool teeming with predators, who reigned with tacit acceptance. The circuit’s #MeToo movement ousted several predators within its midst, while waging a protracted battle against misogyny, sexism, and crass libertine tendencies, using the medium of PD Confessions, a Facebook page which allows users to post anonymously.

At this juncture, it is evident that debating tournaments nonchalantly remain impervious to the concerns expressed by female debaters. The grouse of conducting tournaments on time is yet to be taken cognisance of, as was evident by the fiasco that transpired at KMC’s abruptly-scrapped tournament. Female debaters are left to fend off for themselves at odd hours as tournaments come to a delayed close. Perverts aren’t the only impediments female debaters have to deal with, for concerned parents often view debating with a specter of doubt, given how delayed tournaments proceed.

Another bone of contention that arises at this juncture is the paucity of female representation in the core committees of coeducational institutions’ societies, a jarring dearth that manifests hideously when one observes the preponderance of men in core committees. On account of this, various concerns emanating from the female bastions are either smothered or shirked nonchalantly, a myopic decision which resulted in a significant abatement in female participation.

This has led to the vicarious festering of a sanctimonious temperament within the debating rooms, with men being
accused of mellifluously defending motions on feminism while exuding an abominable insensitivity to the plight
of female debaters, especially in terms of not obviating despicable verbal and non-verbal cues. It’s quite intriguing to
note that the scathing denunciation of the hunky-dory nature of debating has further been vindicated by the
disingenuous and snarky manner in which certain accused individuals chose to respond to the allegations, with calumny and gaslighting being the tropes that were resorted to.

Specific measures that require incorporation into the mainstream include stripping the accused of their achievements, actively initiating a dialogue with debaters on consent, apprising debaters on what constitutes as misconduct and harassment, and enacting measures to prop up a
grievance cell within debating societies and during tournaments to provide recourse to the aggrieved. With the
passage of time, more retributive measures such as seeking legal counsel and lodging formal complaints with
the proper authorities can be looked into.
While the gradual incorporation of these deterrent norms has certainly been bolstered by the #MeToo movement within the circuit, whether these revelations would have any profound impact on the abominable psyche prevalent within the confines of debating rooms is yet to be gauged.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Adeel Shams
[email protected]

Vaktavya ’17, the annual inter-college debating event of Shri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, organised on 21st September 2017 was a successful endeavour full of fervour and elation. The remarkable event brought together the students of various colleges offering professional courses like BMS, BBE, BFIA, and BBA and provided them a platform to debate on the topic “Cashless, Paperless, and Digital India: A distant dream than a reality.”

The opening of the event was marked by a soulful performance by the Divinity Society of the college, followed by welcoming the Chief Guest Prof. V.K. Kaul, the esteemed judges Mr. Bidyut Dutta, Mr. Mohit Rai Goyal, Mr. Siddhant Jain, and Ms. Rekha Dhillon and the Principal Dr. J.B. Singh. After a strenuous debate session amongst all the competent teams, SGTB Khalsa College emerged as the winner of the event.

A talk show on the topic ‘Moral education is the need of hour’ was organised in which views for and against were discussed by the panelists. The panel included Indian political cartoonist and activist Aseem Trivedi, Indian historian & former JNU Professor Mridula Mukherjee and Dr Punita Sharma, professor, Sri Venkateswara College. Panelists differed on major issues and highlighted their views by chanting slokas, giving examples, citing facts etc. Students too put forward their views in the question answer round. Manoj Tiwari Manthan 16 by Vimarsh Sri Venkateswara College Famous Bhojpuri Actor, singer & M.P. Manoj Tiwari’s visit was the highlight of the event. He was welcomed by Administrative Officer, Mr Virendra Kumar. The actor shared motivational words with students and also sang some Bhojpuri songs. Principal Mrs P. Hemlata  Reddy  presented Manoj Tiwari with a memento and expressed her good wishes for Vimarsh. President Anchal Bawa thanked every one for the success of this  enriching event which finally brought the curtains down. By Aakash Pawar, Media Head, Vimarsh Pictures by Aishwariya & Aakash Pawar]]>

Vimarsh, the Hindi Debating Society of Sri Venkateswara College held its Annual Debating Fest, Manthan, on 14 March 2016 . The event began with lighting of lamps by Professors Dr  Ram Kishor Yadav & Dr Mukul Sharma followed by a conventional debate on the topic, ‘English is the only ladder for success ‘ which saw participation from various colleges of Delhi -NCR. Raghav from ARSD College was adjudged as the best speaker as well as the best interjector by the judges Shubhanshu Kumar and Jyoti Kumar. Gopal & Anurag Singh  from Delhi University won the best team award.

Manoj Tiwari Manthan 16 by Vimarsh Sri Venkateswara College
A talk show on the topic ‘Moral education is the need of hour’ was organised in which views for and against were discussed by the panelists. The panel included Indian political cartoonist and activist Aseem Trivedi, Indian historian & former JNU Professor Mridula Mukherjee and Dr Punita Sharma, professor, Sri Venkateswara College. Panelists differed on major issues and highlighted their views by chanting slokas, giving examples, citing facts etc. Students too put forward their views in the question answer round.

Manoj Tiwari Manthan 16 by Vimarsh Sri Venkateswara College

Famous Bhojpuri Actor, singer & M.P. Manoj Tiwari’s visit was the highlight of the event. He was welcomed by Administrative Officer, Mr Virendra Kumar. The actor shared motivational words with students and also sang some Bhojpuri songs. Principal Mrs P. Hemlata  Reddy  presented Manoj Tiwari with a memento and expressed her good wishes for Vimarsh. President Anchal Bawa thanked every one for the success of this  enriching event which finally brought the curtains down.

By Aakash Pawar, Media Head, Vimarsh
Pictures by Aishwariya & Aakash Pawar

The 9th Shri Ram Debating Festival (SRDF) came to a close on the 24th of March after four days of non-stop debating action. The festival organized by the SRCC Debating Society comprised of four events. The tournament was a semi-closed event and hence allowed for participation from both undergraduate and postgraduate institutions, however no institutional crosses were allowed. The highlight of course was the Parliamentary Debate called Crossfire that had a total of 28 participating teams.

The Shri Ram Memorial Conventional debate was closely contested over two rounds of debating that saw each team speak both for and against the motion. Eventually, NLIU Bhopal emerged as victors and Jindal Global Law School was the runner up team. The best speaker was Parnil from NLIU Bhopal and Rahul Seth from NLU Delhi won the prize for best interjector.

Renegade, that was the turncoat debate, saw many debaters come and contradict themselves as they spoke both for and against the motion in a span of four minutes. Yash and Aparna from NLIU Bhopal took the 1st and 2nd prize respectively followed by Rahul Seth from NLU Delhi who came third.

Synergy, the group discussion, had a preliminary round followed by semi finals and finals. The finals saw a tie between Sanchith from NUJS and Rahul Seth from NLU Delhi. Third place went to Phalguni from KMC.

Crossfire followed 3 vs 3 Asian’s parliamentary Debating format. The tournament followed the system of quarters break that saw 8 teams progress past the prelims. The adjudication core at SRDF comprised of Aashay Sahay, Eashan Ghosh, Siddhartha Thyagarajan, Aditya Verma and Noopur Sen as internal adj core.

The finals were contested between Law Faculty (Saad, Shobhit, Vibhor) and St. Stephen’s College (Jagat, Avani, Nidhaanjit). On a 4-3 split in the finals, St. Stephen’s College emerged as victors. The prize for best adjudicator went to Rahul Seth from NLU Delhi.

The 34th Frank Thakur Das Parliamentary Debate saw teams from all over the country fight it out through the intense competition and challenging rounds to claim the title. The four day event between 7th and 10th February was organized by the Kirori Mal College Debating Society. The tournament was open and hence allowed institutional crosses.

The tournament featured some of the strongest institutional and cross teams in the circuit. FTD followed the 3 on 3 Asians’ parliamentary debate format. A total of thirty six teams participated in the debate and eight teams broke to participate in quarters.

The final saw last year’s runners up Backstreet’s back (Rohan Kochar, Rounaq Chandrashekhar and Akshay Raghupati) go up against LSR A (Sasha Bhatnagar, Urmi Tat and Shaily Saluja). The motion for the final round was based on the context that gods were in fact aliens who subjugated mankind and that one individual had discovered this evidence. The motion was that “The house believes that this individual should reveal this information to the world”. The cross team Backstreet’s back emerged victorious. The best adjudicator for the tournament was Eashan Ghosh (popularly known as Ego).

Vimarsh the Hindi debating society at Sri Venkateswara College held its annual debating tournament Manthan ’14 on Monday 10, February. The chief guest for the event was Mr. Rishipal Rana, ACP, Delhi Traffic Police.

As part of the tournament, two events were organised- a conventional debate competition and a tourncoat debate. Participants came from over 20 different DU colleges.

The topics chosen for debate were centered around the following issues- the institution of marriage and how people value it, the relationship between capitalism and naxalism in India and the effects of social media on electoral politics.

Out of all the participating teams, Prabhanshu Ojha of Hansraj College stood first while Mohd. Imran Khan and Vaibhav from B. R. Ambedkar College were placed second and third respectively.