A debating society is formed in many institutions in order to augment the power of argument on a particular topic. There are debating societies in many schools. Here students gather and discuss a specific subject from different angles. A notice is served by the teacher-in-charge or the student secretary of the debating society, announcing the topic of the debate, date, time and venue. Students of a particular level are asked to participate in it and enrol their names individually or Group Wise beforehand. Sometimes an inter-school debate is also arranged. An individual or a group of students speaks in favour of the scheduled topic, and the other against it. For example, the topic may be ‘Early, marriage’ or ‘Corporal punishment in school’ or ‘Midday meal in school’ for debate. One side will try to prove it good; the other side will try to prove it bad. The judges will count the scores and hand it over to the chairperson for announcing the result. Finally, the chairperson will sum-up each view, and then speak out his own views and announce the winner and close the debate.
A debating society is useful in many ways to us. It sharpens our power of thinking and reasoning. If we want to discuss a subject, we shall have to know a great deal about it. Moreover, we must learn to argue logically. We must learn how to prove that we are right and the opponent is wrong. If we join a debating society, we learn the art of speaking freely before the public. Many famous orators of the world learnt the art of speaking in the debating society of the school. It also increases our knowledge of a special topic. If we want to win our point, we must read some books on the subject and discuss it with some persons proficient in it. We can also learn much from the arguments of the opposite side and get many new ideas. Many of our wrong ideas may be corrected in this way. We can here remember the glorious role of Derozio for organizing the debating society named ‘Academic Association’ in Hindu College for creating the “Young Bengal Age’.
Sometimes a debating society can produce some bad effects as a hot-bed of politics or ill-feelings. Sometimes we cannot discuss a subject in a friendly spirit. We think that our only goal is to defeat our opposite group. It we cannot win by reasoning, we lose temper and play foul. This gives rise to bitter feelings. And it so happens that, while we start as friends, we part as enemies. This is very bad and unwanted. We should have an open mind to receive a subject from all aspects.
We must remember that if we are defeated, we lose nothing by it. We have no reason to be ashamed of it, as there is win or defeat in every game. The simple fact should be accepted that sometimes we may win and sometimes we may be defeated. We should remember the motto participation, not winning.
And in view of the uses and abuses of a delate, we must admit that it is a useful platform. Every school should introduce it to encourage the students to take part in the debates to make them reasonable and sensible ones.