Rotary Yadalam Nanjaiah Shetty Debate Competition

War of Words at RCB

The vibrant energy and thrilling anticipation at RHF on Monday evening, 25th February 2019 was palpable.  The hall reverberated with the sound of sharp verbal assaults and counter attacks. The finals of the 30th year of the Annual Rotary Yadalam Nanjaiah Setty Inter Collegiate Debate was on.

Rtn. Raghunathan R. Raghu, Director, Vocational Services Committee welcomed the gathering and gave a brief introduction of the program.

President Rtn. Vivek Prabhu invited members of the distinguished Yadalam family to the dais and gave an introductory note. The Annual Rotary Yadalam Shield was instituted by  Rtn. Yadalam G Ramkumar of RCB in memory of his grandfather  Late Sri. Yadalam Nanjaiah Setty who was one of the pioneers of Textile Manufacturing Industry in South India. He set up the first Textile mill way back in 1932. A man of extraordinary courage, great business acumen, dynamism and strong business ethics, he was a brave trendsetter of his times.

After lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries, Rtn. Sanjay Jain from Vocational Services Committee made a comprehensive powerpoint presentation about the Prelims of the Debate that was held on Saturday, 23rd February 2019. The committee had worked hard indeed, over the last couple of months to put together a format that would be innovative and interesting. Rtns. Raghunathan, Sanjay Jain, Nitin Wagh,  Devesh Agarwal, Vish Iyer and Dileep Pillai had indulged in their own heated discussions and debates to give shape the final format.

The prelims of the Debate was  held on Saturday, 23rd February at  RHF. Thanks to the smart work put in by Rtrs. Kunal, Joseph, Apoorva and Srinidhi in giving the event publicity on the social media, a total of 34 registrations from around 22 colleges were received.  Out of these, 27 teams of dynamic boys and girls turned out for the prelims. To accommodate this large number in the given time frame, the debates were conducted simultaneously in the main hall downstairs as well as the Board room upstairs.

So what was different about the format this year? Participants debated against their counterparts from different colleges and not from their own college. The topics for the debates were handed over to the speakers just 30 minutes before their turn, thus bringing out their hidden potential for effective arguments and searing rebuttals.

The logistical challenges in getting the debaters paired up against a person from a different college and then to keep track of their individual scores were successfully met by the organizers. Rtns. Elizabeth Cherian, Shivaprasad Krishnan and Sandhya Mendonca were on the panel of judges in the main hall. Rtns. SVL Narayan (Babu), Kashinath Pai and Ann Shalini Prabhu were the judges in the Boardroom. Rtn. V.S. Uday Kumar and Rtn. Amit Bahirat helped with the timekeeping. Rtns. Vish Iyer and Kalpana Udaykumar did a great job as the Emcees in the main hall and board room respectively. Rtns.Nitin Wagh and Sanjay Jain were on their toes coordinating the candidates and the judges/moderators. Rtns. Lal Bhatia, Gowri Oza, Dilip Kumar, Satish Bhat, Anand Jain, Dilip Shah, and a couple of Rotaractors helped out with registrations and other matters.  At the Prelims, 3 teams were shortlisted for the finals along with a stand-by team and the Best Debater was selected from among the participants. All the youngsters who took part in the prelims were given Participation certificates by RCB.

The action on 25th evening began with the vivacious Emcee, Rtn. Devesh Agarwal explaining the rules of the game. He then introduced the three teams taking part in the contest and their respective topics:

  1. St. Joseph’s College – Minimalism is better than Consumerism
  2. PES University – Social Media makes people less sociable
  3. IIIT, Bangalore – “The Argumentative Indian” exists because there is an overwhelming need to be right when we disagree

RV College of Engineering was declared as the stand-by team.

Rtn. Sanjay Jain introduced the distinguished external judges for the evening:

  • Mr. Ravi Vishwanath –the Chief Financial Officer of Teamlease Services Limited, which is one of India’s largest HR Services companies.
  • Rtn. Dr. Susheela Venkataraman - Development professional, on the Board of three NGOs, SGBS Unnati Foundation, Arogya World India Trust and the IIT Alumni Centre Bangalore. Dr. Susheela is also an active Rotarian, and was President of her club and is Chair of the Integrity and Ethics committee of Rotary District 3190.  
  • Mr. Suryaprakash K  - An Industry veteran with 27+ years of experience in the IT industry.  Mr. Surya is currently the co-founder of a venture capital firm that is involved in mentoring young companies and their founders.

A very receptive and informed audience sat glued to their seats as the debate raged on. New ideas, strong views, and refreshing rebuttals flowed copiously and continuously. Listening to them was education and entertainment par excellence indeed!

Another innovative feature in the format was that Rtns. Kalpana Udaykumar, SVL Narayan, Satish Bhat, Vish Iyer and Rtrs. Kunal and Apoorva were designated to throw a question each at the speakers after the rebuttal round – to test their ability to respond instantly and intelligently.

The war of words waged on relentlessly. The moment finally arrived for the judges to give their verdict. The audience listened with attention and anxiety  as the winners were declared:

Skanda Holla and Priyam Bhutra of St. Joseph’s  College Of Commerce were the 2nd Runners up and received their certificates and a cash amount Rs.10,000/-.

Deepila Karanji and Hrishikesh V  from PES University were declared the 1st Runners up and awarded certificates and a prize amount of Rs.15,000/-

IIIT Bangalore was the Winner of the Annual Rotary Yadalam Shield for 2019. Amidst thundering applause from the audience, Deep Inder Mohan and Ram S   walked away with the Yadalam Shield and prize money of Rs.25,000/-.

RVCE, the 4th team also received a certificate and a consolation prize of Rs. 2,000/-. All the above cash prizes were sponsored by the Yadalam Family.

Rtn. Devesh Agarwal presented Rs.10,000/- to Priyam Bhutra for being the Best Debater among all the 27 teams that had participated in the Preliminaries.

A beaming crowd, fully charged in their minds and hearts, moved towards the fellowship and dinner counters to fuel their stomachs.

Three cheers to the Vocational Services Committee and RCB for yet another brilliant show!!!

Rtn.Kalpana Udaykumar

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