Debating is an important facet of a student’s co-curricular life. And it plays a very important role in not only exposing him to all sorts of audiences and hence giving him confidence but also to instill in him a certain sense of tolerance for differences in view-points.
Considering these healthy connotations of debating, Quaid-e-Azam Debating Society at University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila decided to host an All-Pakistan Bilingual Declamation Contest. QDS has been formulated ever since 1998 and has won, ever since, nearly all the prestigious trophies of the national debating circle. However, it was time to play host. And hence, the idea for APDC ’09 broached.
It was a first of its kind event in the history of the university and the QDS members worked round the clock 24/7 to put together the contest. The university admin too, with a generous grant and a helping hand, aided all that it could in turning this dream into a reality.
By the night of Oct 9th, out-station teams were picked from Islamabad and Rawalpindi and transported to the hostel facility where they were shown into their lodgings.
The event started at 11:00 next morning. It kick-started with the house-opening humorous speech by Muhammad Waqas who had all the audience into fits of laughter. After the house-opening, the arena started leaping with the roaring passions of heated debates. Teams from all across the nation spoke in both Urdu and English, putting at marvel the audience with their brilliant eloquence and sentimental arousals.
The speakers were under the compulsion to speak in a team-combination of English humorous and Urdu serious or Urdu humorous and English serious. The serious topics were tackled through a fiery oratory by the speakers, the topics being quite rhetoric, such as ‘it’s not slumber, I am dead’ and ‘when beggars die, there are no comets seen.’
The humorous topics were no less intriguing. With the “poor” President of the house seated right at the stage as per the tradition, being the victim of all hilarious gags, the speakers had the entire house grabbing at their stomachs with incessant laughter through their witty humor. The topics were the likes of ‘come to UET or go to hell’ and ‘Love aaj kal.’
The session took place in two slots with the first slot ending by 2:00 p.m. It resumed after a lunch-break and another 14 teams spoke during the second session. The judges for the session were the acclaimed debaters of yesterday and renowned personalities of today. The panel included Syed Ali Abbas, the founder of QDS, Awais Iqbal, currently an anchor of Ghamidi show at Geo TV channel, Ishtiaq Ahmed, former president of FC college’s debating society and currently a Registrar at Ali Institute, Yasit Latif Hammdani, a fiery debater in his university days and a political activist and Ali Wajahat, a former executive member of QDS.
The Chief Guest for the event was Mr. Sahir, the Dean of Mechanical Department at UET, Taxila. About 16 teams tapped the dice in the first session and another 14 in the post-lunch slot. It was a spectacle indeed to witness seasoned speakers from institutions such as Punjab University, FC College, GCU, Lahore, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad International Islamic University, Lahore School of Economics, Military College of Signals, Army Medical College and Allama Iqbal Medical College and many other institutes.
The first day ended with five teams, namely IIU, AIMC, AMC, NWFP UET and MCS and two individual speakers in both English and Urdu categories qualifying to the finals.
The final session on Oct 10th started at about 11:00 a.m. The Chief Guest of the final session was Mr. Iftikhar Arif, the renowned literary icon and presently, the Chairman of National Language Authority.
As per expectations, the debates were of the finest fashion during the session as the final contestants engaged into a war of words and battled for the team trophy. Some of the most captivating performances were by AIMC’s humorous debater who totally rocked the show with his witty 6 minutes, Raffay from MCS who presented a very unique interpretation to a topic and Tauseef from Punjab University whose sentimental oratory generated an immense lauding.
The session came to an end by 1:00 p.m. and all the final contestants waited with held breathes for the announcement of the winners. Two additions to the panel of judges were Sana Taskeen Gulzar, a producer at Dawn News and Gohar Iqbal, an anchor at PTV.
Finally, the results were announced and Army Medical College bagged the gorgeous team trophy. The first positions in individual categories were both taken by PU debaters, Tauseef in Urdu and Sham’aoon in English. Raffay of MCS had the second position in English and AMC’s speaker grabbed the third place.
In Urdu category, again AMC’s Faran had the second place and IIU’s Nafeesa stood third.
Considering the fact that it was the first all-Pakistan at UET, Taxila, the event was a huge success, coming with its very first occurrence in the list of Pakistan’s largest Declamation Contests. The official media partner of the event was City FM89 and media personnel from Samaa TV, Aaj TV and ATV covered the event. City FM89 also interviewed the participants and took their sound bites.