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Now Watch Me Whip: MIT-DT’17

When NLH is buzzing with more noise on a Sunday than the usual working days, one can easily gauge the magnitude of the event taking place. The Literary, Debate, and Quiz Club of Manipal organised one of the largest events of this semester—the second edition of the MIT Debate Tournament or commonly (and quite coincidentally) known as MIT-DT’17. Taking place over a period of three days, the tournament commenced on 12th August and boasted of a wide pool of participants.

Being a British Parliamentary debate, the tournament comprised of two sets of participants—Debaters and Adjudicators. The debaters were given a motion to speak on for a duration of seven minutes, while the adjudicators analysed and judged the debate. The adjudicators were then judged by the debaters on basis of their verdict and its justification. Since participation in a debate tournament by the host college is frowned upon, MIT played host to over a hundred participants from different parts of India. Thirty-three teams of two members each and thirty seven adjudicators brought out their whips to win the war of words.

Picture credits: The Photography Club, Manipal

Every debate tournament has core adjudicators at its helm. Being established and well-reputed debaters in the national and international circuits, it is their job to decide the motions to be debated upon, draft the draws for the debates, and ensure that the tournament functions without any major hiccups. LDQ and MIT were privileged to have a distinguished panel of core adjudicators in the form of Trishal Kumar, Anish Ravishankar and Dibyojyoti Mainak. Trishal and Anish had clinched the inaugural MIT-DT’16 trophy, and seemed to relish the challenge of pulling off a tournament which was still in its nascent stages. “I had a really good time at the tournament. Not only was it well organised, but it was one of the very few tournaments that ran on time so far this year. The organisers were all smiles and assisted me in every way possible. And Manipal, of course, is always a good place to visit—sans the weather”, a satisfied and exhausted Anish said.

The motions decided by the core adjudicators encompassed quite a few spheres of daily life—finance, politics, social media, and religion. ‘This House welcomes the Sarahah App‘ catered to the socially active, while serious motions regarding the Ram Mandir dispute, mass surveillance schemes by the government in developing countries, political tension between India and China tested even the most seasoned debaters.

Picture credits: The Photography Club, Manipal

MIT-DT’17 comprised of five preliminary rounds, with four participating teams in each debate. With nine debates taking place simultaneously in each round, approximately four to five adjudicators were assigned to each debate. At the end of five rounds, the cumulative scores of each team were compiled and the top eight teams and top 10 adjudicators qualified or ‘broke’ into the knockout rounds. Multiple teams from NLS Bangalore, NALSAR Hyderabad, RVCE Bangalore, and VIT Vellore progressed onto the knockout rounds of MIT-DT’17. The eight breaking teams were pitted against each other, and the top four made it to the final round—held in the M.V. Seminar Hall. With knives running rampant in the debate, the novice debaters were provided with a shield—the novice finals. Participants who had participated in two or lesser domestic debates were eligible for the novice round. After battling it through seven rounds of debate in the main category, Unnati Ghia and Amandeep Borthakur, from NLS Bangalore, emerged victorious and claimed the winners’ trophy and a rather extravagant cash prize. “I think the Org-Com was incredibly supportive and helpful. It’s rare to see people so invested in ensuring the success of a tournament, and so eager to make it a good experience for every participant. Kudos to you guys!” said Unnati, fresh from winning MIT-DT’17.

Picture Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal.

MIT-DT’17 may have been an upgrade to its previous edition, but there were a few hiccups. A few participants seemed to have minor complaints against the accommodation, while there seemed to be a slight confusion regarding the venues of the knockout rounds. Nevertheless, MIT-DT’17 witnessed a drastic improvement, and despite this being only the tournament’s second edition, MIT-DT’17 attracted established debaters from all over the country and is being considered as one of heavyweights in the debating circuit.