Known for its 'adda culture', Kolkata marked the launch of Daring Debates-a platform to encourage discussions around the notions of what a civilized society should encompass, and its implications on democracy in contemporary India.
Daring Debates aims to bring students from different strata in the discourse of civil society, and pave way for powerful and meaningful conversations. Curated by Television for the Environment (tve), this initiative is positioned as the lead-up to the first edition of Difficult Dialogues an independent forum for discussing critical issues in South Asia. Held at Oxford Book Store, Park Street, Kolkata this initiative triggered spirited debates and discussions, and exchange of ideas reflecting on whether civil society can advance social change. The conversations touched upon the sensitivity of various aspects of responsibilities of people in a society that is looking inward as much as outward. Renowned colleges from across Kolkata participated in the debate and Mayuri Mukherjee and Sourya Sengupta from Presidency college Kolkata emerged as the city winner. The intense and thought provoking discussions were judged by veteran journalist Kishore Bhimani, author Avik Chanda and LSE Alumnus leader, LSE alumni Association and President of Indo-British Scholars Association, Nayantara Palchoudhuri. Kishore Bhimani, commented, It was delightful to see the youth of the city expressing their views with great passion and vigour. It was an enlightening and thought provoking session for me. Author Avik Chanda commented, It was great to be a part of the jury for this unique initiative that is involving youth in meaningful discussions that are much needed to bring about the desired change within the society. We should encourage such initiatives and look forward to creating more such platforms. Nayantara Palchoudhuri commented, I deeply appreciate the enthusiasm and passion possessed by the participants. Discussions highlighted some critical facts, and triggered conversations that were truly heartening. Kolkata is famous for its adda culture, and it is true that Bengalis enjoy debates and discussions. I am hoping that these discussions result into meaningful actions. After receiving an overwhelming response from the students of Kolkata, the next leg of Daring Debates will take place in Goa on December 9, 2015, followed by Guwahati, Delhi and Mumbai. This initiative witnesses various teams from renowned colleges of each city competing against each other in expressing their views on the topic - Can Civil Society Advance Social Change?.