PRO.VERB 2016 inaugurated at the School of CommunicationBy Raj Udupi
Udupi Today Media Network
Manipal, 17 September 2016: The second edition of ‘M. V. Kamath Memorial National Parliamentary Debate Tournament: PRO.VERB 2016’ was inaugurated at 10 AM at the School of Communication, Manipal University today. The Chief Guest for the inauguration ceremony was Varadesh Hiregange, Director, Centre for Gandhian and Peace Studies, who was accompanied by Dr. Klaus Schulz, Vice Chancellor of HMKW University, Berlin, Dr. Nandini Lakshmikantha, Director, School of Communication, and Dr. Padma Rani, Associate Director, School of Communication.
The ceremony started with the lighting of the lamp, and homage being paid to Dr. M. V. Kamath by the dignitaries, which was followed by a speech by Varadesh Hiregange on the importance of respecting the spirit of democracy. “We say that democracy is the best form of governance, because it allows plurality of thoughts. There might be people who say that dictatorship is better, but it is only democracy that gives us the chance to debate and put our respective opinions across”, he said.
He went on to talk about how essential it is to encourage a culture of debate and discussion in a democracy like India. Elucidating on the skill that debating is, he said, “Debating is not just arguing and putting one’s opinion across, but it also includes having the broad-mindedness to accept others’ opinion. The truth can be multi-faceted, and debating is an exploration of the truth.” Going back to history, he gave an example of how Tagore and Gandhi disagreed on certain political ideologies but had a healthy relationship nevertheless. “In fact, Tagore was the first person to call Gandhi ‘Mahatma Gandhi’, and Gandhi gave him the name ‘Gurudev’”, he said. He also mentioned Jawaharlal Nehru writing columns against his own political agenda using ‘Chanakya’ as a pen-name, to invite different perspectives and discussions.
“I fight for your right to differ from me”, he quoted, talking about India’s 200-year long freedom struggle, and how even after independence, there was a barrier to people’s freedom of expression for two years, during the Emergency in 1975. He concluded with a line that was featured in The Indian Express at that time, which read – “You can stop Express, but you cannot stop Expression.”
The ceremony ended with a concluding address by Dr. Nandini Lakshmikantha, Director, SOC and a vote of thanks by Shreeraj Gudi, assistant professor and faculty in-charge of PRO.VERB 2016.
About PRO.VERB: A debating tournament initiated in 2015 that aims at providing a platform for an intellectual and opinionated discourse. The tournament being in the British Parliamentary format allows for a tournament solely conducted and presided over by students themselves. In its first edition, Pro.Verb’15 saw great participation from students all over the country forming 16 teams including representations from prestigious institutions like NALSAR and BITS Goa. This year PRO.VERB has taken an extra leap and will be hosting 24 teams including teams from Christ University, MSRIT, Karunya University, Coimbatore and BVB, Hubli, providing wider participation.
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