In terms of Asians style Inter-Varsity Debates in the country, one of the best run and most prestigious tournaments is the NLS Debate that happens annually either in March or April. Barring random DU ditching (cause they simply are not as good as they were in the past), it is one of the few tournaments that attracts teams from the North Indian and South Indian circuit.
Two years ago, Ambar Bhushan, Rahul Seth and Tanvee Nandan won the NLS Debate and on their way to this win they beat the highly fancied RVCE team in the semi finals on a Definition Challenge of all things. Last year, Raunaq Chandrashekar, Sanjeevi Seshadri and Aishwarya Kane reached the finals only to lose to RVCE. In both of these years, we were not considered favourites and there were more heralded teams in the tournament itself.
This year, we sent a three team contingent. A team comprising Ambar Bhushan, Rahul Seth and Somil Kumar was the first team. Raunaq Chandrashekar, Sanjeevi Seshadri and Akshat Agarwal formed the second team. Aishwarya Kane, Anirudh Bhatia and Shreya Raman were the third team. Aishwarya, Anirudh and Shreya broke to the Round of 16 on a 4-2 win loss margin but eventually lost to finalists MSRIT despite a spirited performance. Raunaq, Sanjeevi and Akshat had a stellar run in the tournament losing only once to Ambar, Rahul and Somil in the preliminary rounds. They broke on a 5-1 win loss margin beating highly fancied NLIU Bhopal in one of the prelims but lost to Ambar, Rahul and Somil in the semi-finals in a match that really deserved to be the Final rather than the semi-final.
Ambar, Rahul and Somil qualified on a win loss margin of 6-0 in the prelims with their closest match against Raunaq’s team (sorry Sanjeevi). Despite Somil pulling his best version of what could best be described as an ode to Rahul Seth’s bugger all speech (in the last round of SRDF) in the quarterfinals against VIT, the team made it to the final beating Raunaq’s team in the semis.
The finals were judged by nine adjudicators. NLU Delhi was Opposition against MSRIT and the motion being debated was – “As the people of Pakistan, This House Regrets the return of democracy to Pakistan.” The finals witnessed what could liberally be described as a mauling. Whereas Ambar’s Leader of Opposition speech was very effective and dealt with the majority of the government’s case in itself and was nowhere near countered by the DPM, it was the Deputy Leader of Opposition’s (Somil’s) speech that absolutely destroyed any semblance of a government case. The speech managed to weave in rebuttal to everything asserted by the DPM whilst simultaneously being funny and incredibly disparaging. Rahul’s Speech as Opp Whip was a mere formalilty and while he did not do as well as he had in other rounds, it was never required.
In a unanimous decision, NLU Delhi beat MSRIT to win the XII NLS Debate. In the process, Rahul and Ambar became only the second and third debaters to win the NLS Debate twice after Prithvi from Ramjas (a bygone era). Ambar was also adjudged the best speaker in the tournament. Rahul was joint third best speaker.