“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special” – Nelson Mandela
The first year of existence of BML Munjal University (BMU) was enlivened and enriched through the activities of the ‘Literary, Quizzing and Debating Society’, set up to reinforce BMU’s endeavours to build up an intellectually stimulating environment for students and faculty.
In line with the objectives of the club, viz
- To improve linguistic abilities (reading, oratory and written communication skills, in English as well as vernacular) of students through book readings, debates, quizzes, story and poetry writing.
- To improve general knowledge and awareness about the world among students
- To improve inter-relationships among students by encouraging collective activities outside the boundaries of the classroom
- To demonstrate that enjoyment and education go hand in hand, and encourage students for public appearances
- To strengthen students’ team work, build confidence, boost strategic thinking and ignite the passion for knowledge by the way of quizzes.
Various events and activities have been organised over the first two semesters, as highlighted below.
The club’s intellectual endeavours were kick-started in December 2014 with an event: ‘Celebrating Rajaji’ – featuring a thought-provoking talk by Shri Surajit Dasgupta, the
National Affairs Editor of the recently revived Swarajya Magazine. The talk was organised to commemorate the 136th birth anniversary of Sh. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), the last Governor General of India. Rajaji, along with Khasa Subba Rao was the founder of Swarajya Magazine. While initially planned as an hour-long session, Sri Dasgupta managed to captivate the audience’s attention for nearly two hours, with discussions on a wide range of topics – classical liberalism, capitalism, Rajaji, the Indian Economy, etc.
On 7th February 2015, a day prior to the Delhi elections, a debate was organised on “Who is best suited to govern Delhi?”. The debate had 80 participants from student supporters of the Indian National Congress, Aam Admi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the final conclusion was that the BJP was the best suited to govern Delhi. Ironically of course, the outcome of the actual elections, as we all know, was dramatically different, with the AAP sweeping the polls and forming the government. While the express purpose of the debate was to allow students to make an informed choice of the candidate/party while voting the next day, it proved to be an exciting and stimulating exercise with impassioned arguments and counter-arguments by participants, notwithstanding the actual results!
On 17th March 2015, a debate was organised on “The way we think” around two social issues:
- The ‘India’s Daughter’ documentary on the Nirbhaya incident by Leslie Udwin was correct in its portrayal and interpretation of facts.
- Rapists should be hanged to death as soon as they are caught. (Without going through India’s cumbersome judicial process)
Expectedly enough, given the sensitivity of the topics, it was a heated debate among 70 odd students, conducted using the British Parliamentary System of Debate with 16 participants and the winners being opposers of both the motions.
On 20th April 2015, a debate was organised on the topic “Net Neutrality – Unleashing or Stifling Innovation”? As a follow-up to Sri S P Kothari’s leadership series speech on “What should Modi do to spur the India’s economy?” Two 2-member teams were asked to submit position papers to a designated faculty member prior to the event. The two teams presented their viewpoints, followed by questions from the opposing team and audience. The 2-member team (supporters of the motion) comprising Shreyas Bhardwaj and………. were declared the winners.
On the 7th of May 2015, the club held a ‘Reading Session’ of Sadaat Hassan Manto’s immortal short story “Toba Tek Singh” attended by the members of the club. The reading session was followed by an interesting discussion about the life of the writer, the times during which he wrote the story, analysing the story-line, and much more. This was followed by an extempore quiz among the members.
The next year will see many more such varied and interesting activities that the BMU student community can look forward to.
- Dr. Goldie Gabrani, Dr. Sanghamitra Bhattacharyya, Shreyas Bharadwaj (BCom (Hons) – 1st Year), Andrew Solomon (BTech CSE – 1st Year).