“Debate is healthy and no one in this chamber has a monopoly on being right.”
The Xaverian Debating Society is one of the oldest student societies on St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Over the years, XDS has produced some of the most skillful debaters in the state circuit and made its presence felt elsewhere in the debating circle of India.
In our bid to continue the long standing tradition of public speaking at St. Xavier’s College, the DebSoc, as it is fondly called, participates in Asian and British Parliamentary, Oxford and Cambridge, Mace and Turncoat style debates. The year under observation has seen members achieve success unprecedented with excellent performances in each event they had the pleasure of participating in.
Our team comprising Dhruvi Mundra, Kewal Doshi and Shyam Agarwal were finalists at the prestigious Red Brick Debate organized by IIMA. Closer to home, Vani Dugar and Deep Mehta were the runners up at the Vidyasagar Debate organized by IIMC. Similar accolades were won by Arshia Grace and Kanishka Agarwal at the Tribe Tomorrow National Debate and by Ruchir Jajoo and Priya Chatterjee Ray at the Damayanti Shield Memorial Debate. Ruchir was also a part of the Second Best team, along with Yash Goyal in the debate organized by the Political Science Department of Loreto College. Ruchir was also the Best Speaker. Arshia and Attreyee Chakroborty were the Second Best Team at the Srijan Fest organized by Shri Shikshayatan College where Arshia also brought home the Best Speaker Award. Yogesh Chowdhury was adjudged Best Speaker at the debate organized by JDBI College while Priya won the Best Speaker award at the Managedia Debate organized by iLead College and Amisha Sahini won the Best Speaker award at YESM, organized in Jadavpur University. Ruchir Jajoo was awarded Best Speaker at the Victoria Memorial Hall Debate.
Our Debsoc put up a fantastic show at Confero, the annual Cambridge Parliamentary Debate organised by the Xavier’s Management Society. The team comprising Kanishka Agarwal, Kewal Doshi and Suranjana Roy were knocked out in the Semi Finals by another Debating Society team comprising Vani Dugar, Deep Mehta and Somok Sur who went on to win the tournament. The team they beat in the finals also comprised of Debsoc members Pranav Dhupia, Priya Chatterjee Ray and Hamed Aziz Safwi.
The academic year 2019-20 was one of the best yet for the Debating Society. Our entire contingent performed exceedingly well at the first debate of the year, the Derozio Memorial Debate organized by the Presidency University. Teams comprising Dishari Chatterjee, Priyam Marik, Priya Chatterjee Ray, Ruchir Jajoo, Suranjana Roy and Yash Goyal broke pre quarters and Soumi Chatterjee and Hamed Aziz Safwi’s teams made it to the Quarter Finals. Soumi went on to win fourth Best Speaker at the tournament. The Novice Team consisting, Deepanjali Prasad, Yashwant Singh and Somok Sur competed till the Novice Semi Finals. All adjudicators Vani Dugar, Sameer Ghugre and Sherin Johnson broke in their categories.
Next, the team comprising Priya, Dishari and Ved Mehta were OctaFinalists at Trivium, the National Parliamentary Debate organized by the Punjab Engineering College. Sameer kept up his winning streak by finishing as the fourth best adjudicator in the tournament. In terms of adjudication, the Debsoc continued to shine as Dhruvi Mundra won the Best Adjudicator award at the Jadavpur University Parliamentary Debate.
Carrying this streak to Patna, Dhruvi was recognized as the 5th Best Competitive Adjudicator at the Chanakya National Law University Parliamentary Debate. Another great performance by the contingent was seen here with the team comprising Dyuti Chatterjee, Deepanjali Prasad and Subhapriya Chakraborty receiving a special mention for their performance as freshers. Soumyadeep Saha, Somok Sur and Swati Pradip were Quarter Finalists and Priya Chatterjee Ray, Soumi Chatterjee and Pranav Dhupia were Finalists as well as the Top Ranking Team in the tournament. Pranav and Priya were also adjudged joint Best Speakers. The Best Adjudicator for the tournament was Arshia Grace.
At the National Parliamentary Debate organized by IIT Guwahati, Somok Sur won the Third Best Adjudicator Award while Sameer Ghugre was adjudged the Second Best Adjudicator.
Next, the Xavier’s contingent participated in the Prologue Debate organised by Presidency University, Kolkata. Vani Dugar, Arshia Grace, Shyam Agarwal and Kewali Doshi were all Semi Finalists at the tournament. Deepanjali Prasad and Amisha Sahini broke as Adjudicators at the tournament with Deepanjali going on to judge the finals. Priya Chatterjee Ray and Sameer Ghugre were subsidized adjudicators at the tournament.
The debating year came to an abrupt and bittersweet end at the National Parliamentary Debate organized by the Heritage Institute of Technology with the Xavier’s contingent putting up another great show. The team comprising Dyuti Chatterjee, Shivi Chandra and Simran Juneja were the Novice Finalists, while Vani Dugar, Deep Mehta and Somok Sur were the Open Category Runners Up. Amisha Sahini won the award for 3rd Best Adjudicator and Arshia was adjudged Best Adjudicator yet again. Priya Chatterjee Ray, Suranjana Roy and Soumi Chatterjee were invited as external adjudicators for the tournament.
Beyond Debate Participation
This year, the members of the Xaverian Debating Society went beyond participation in debates only. Deep Mehta and Priya Chatterjee Ray were the Winner and Runners Up at the Youth Parliamentary Debate Extempore organized by the Government of West Bengal. They also revived the JAM and HAM tradition of St. Xavier’s College with Deep winning the JAM Competition organized by the Department of Political Science, St. Xavier’s College and Priya winning JAM and HAM contests at iLead, JDBI and other colleges.
Vaidehi Meharia had a wonderful run in the MUN Circuit winning innumerable Best and Outstanding Delegate Awards at the Kolkata, ALAGS E, etc. Model UNs.
Ruchir Jajoo participated in the Speak For India competition, reaching State Finals where he was awarded the State Speaker Rank of 3.
The COVID Pandemic prevented the Xaverian Debating Society from organizing the annual Xaverian Debating Festival but we were able to start the year by hosting the 4th Edition of the International Inter-University Challenge Debate in association with the Calcutta Debating Circle. With the best debaters from Harvard University, Oxford University, Cambridge University, IIT Kharagpur, IIM Calcutta, Presidency University, Jadavpur University and St. Xavier’s College engaging in a war of words on the topic “This House believes that Climate Change is a problem of wealthy nation”, this debate was one of the best of its kind seen in all of Eastern India.
Thus, the end of this short but extremely fulfilling calendar leaves the Debating Society with profound fondness for the year that has past. With a crop of promising new speakers joining the society, we look forward to an even more successful year ahead. While we do miss the style and substance of the podium, it remains a matter of utmost pride to keep striving toward keeping discord alive, albeit over virtual platforms.