“Convince,Confuse,Confute” – Shastrarth 2017 was conducted on September 22, 2017. This year being the 7th year, we had the biggest turnout as participants competed using their skill of words and wit.
Shastrarth is an annual inter-collegiate debate hosted by the Sarla Anil Modi School of Economics (SAMSOE), NMIMS. With over 100 registrations, which included teams from colleges from all across Mumbai, and a few participants from Pune, Shastrarth 2017 left an indelible impact on the minds of all due to its impeccable organization and level of debating.
Hosted in association with Tunga Hotels, the competition had cash prizes worth Rs. 58,000 and was hosted within SAMSOE, JuhuJagruti Hall and Mithibai Seminar Hall in Vile Parle. The other sponsors for the event were VLCC,Powerhouse Gym, Meraki, Melting Pot restaurant, Classic Fast Food and DHFL.
The teams were comprised of two members each, and the competition kicked off with the qualifiers, following which 12 teams moved on to the semi-finals, and finally 2 teams to the finals. The qualifiers had 18 commendable topics discussing issues like CSR, contemporary english literature taught in schools, factors affecting development aid, tiger parenting, the media’s role in high profile trials, whether Batman should reveal his identity to name a few. The teams were divided into 6 rooms with 3 topics in each room. This year the preliminary round was in the Modified Oxford format. Accordingly the two members had to speak for and against on the same topic. Each speaker was given 3 minutes to put forward their arguments followed by a minute of questioning from their fellow competitors. The scores of both the members of a team together formed the combined score for each team. The top 2 teams from each room proceeded to the semi finals. The judges for the qualifiers were highly qualified who adjudicated the debate very fairly and justly.
12 teams proceeded to the semi-finals which was in a Modified Cambridge format. There were 6 debates with each team going head on head with another team with one team speaking FOR the motion and the other team speaking AGAINST the motion. Each team was given 30 minutes to prepare before delivering their speeches in the for of a 3 minute opening speech, a 2 minute supporting speech before a 1 minute rebuttal speech by any one member of the team. Unlike the preliminary round, one team only spoke for one side in this round. The topics discussed included whether dictatorship was the right way forward for struggling countries, the validity of universal basic income, whether the 2022 Qatar world cup should be boycotted, secularism vs corruption among others. The judges for this round were Mr Jinesh Mehta, Director KPMG Mumbai, Mrs Swati Deshpande a senior editor for law at Times of India and Mr Jubin Vora an associate team manager at Deutsche Bank.
The finals comprised of 2 Non Contingent teams. The first team consisted of Shardool Kulkarni and Malcolm Katrak from Pravin Gandhi College of Law and Department of Law, University of Mumbai respectively while the second finalists comprised of Arman Khan from Don Bosco Institute of Technology and Harsh Kedia from Symbiosis School of Economics. The topic debated on was “THBT "I was just following orders” is a legitimate defense in cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity”. The debate was conducted in a Modified British Parliamentary Format. The first speakers from both teams had to put forward their relevant arguments and justify their stance on the motion (FOR or AGAINST), with each speaker getting 5 minutes to speak. This was followed by the second speakers of both teams coming up with relevant examples to further substantiate the arguments laid down by the first speakers. Once again, each speaker was given 5 minutes to make their speech. What makes this format interesting is the usage of Points of Information(POI) which are questions that can be asked during a speaker’s speech. It is upto the discretion of the speaker on when to address this POI. This makes the debate more lively and engaging and it was on full display during the finals. The judges for this round were also Mr Jinesh Mehta, Director KPMG Mumbai, Mrs Swati Deshpande a senior editor for law at Times of India and Mr Jubin Vora an associate team manager at Deutsche Bank. Their combined experience in a cornucopia of spheres made sure that every facet of the topic was analysed with great detail. The team consisting of Shardool Kulkarni and Malcolm Katrak from Pravin Gandhi College of Law and Department of Law, University of Mumbai respectively won the debate and with it Shastrath 2017. Himanshi Arora from NMIMS School of Business Management bagged in the award for the Best Speaker in the competition.
The event was the flagship event of the Debate Society of SAMSOE. Ayan Sarkar, Saru Pruthi and Ishaan Thakkar were the conveners and were instrumental in the planning and structuring of the event. Vineet Choudhari, Vidit Dugar and Gunika Chadha as co-conveners also played crucial roles in the organization of the event. Vedarshi Shastry and Gokul Pishaordy, members of Debate Society moderated the semi-finals and finals. Muskaan Sofet, Praneet Jaswani, Akshat Nagori and Satvik Chandna took part in the event, representing the college.
SAMSOE's E-cell club had organized the event B Quiz.
The programme consisted of an inaugural session at Santokba Hall. Students were addressed by the Pro Vice Chancellor, Dr. Sharad Mhaiskar, Mr. Shalin Divatia, Mentor Sarla Anil Modi School of Economics. Associate Dean Prof. Amita Vaidya, gave the students as well as the parents an insight into the working of the School of Economics. The Second year B. Sc. Economics students also shared their experiences at the School with the F.Y. B. Sc. Economics students. It was followed by an interactive session of the parents and the students with the faculty.
• Scroll of Thoughts came out with its first issue on July 14, 2017 at the Orientation.