On December 18, 2023, Knps Phagwara Kamla Nehru Public School – India played host to the Jalandhar District Sahodaya Inter School English Debate Competition on the theme “No To Hate Speech,” with participants exploring the topic: “Is hate speech a manifestation of free expression and a barrier to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16 for promoting peace, justice, and strong institutions?”
Even though half of the speakers were speaking for and another half against the topic, there was a clear visible call for #Peace #Love #Kindness . All the speakers took multiple examples to put forth their arguments. Some of the examples shared were #PhogatGirls #RawandanGenocide #ViratKohli #Yugoslavia #Dalits #Rohingyas #Shakespeare #Gandhi #MLK #Women #HumanRights #Riots #PoliticalParties #Movies #MalalaYousafzai #SocialMedia #CyberBullying #FakeNews and so many more. I was especially proud of the fact that many students highlighted the recent suicide of an Indian teen who identified as non-binary due to #trolling online. As I have said multiple times in the past couple of years, the next wave of ideas and development shall come from rural India! And this event showcased just that.
I was invited by the dynamic Paramjeet Kaur Dhillon, the school’s leader and one of the principals I had studied under as a student, to be a judge for the event along with Mr. Kapil C Aggarwal, and Ms. Poonam, teachers at Lovely Professional University
A total of 60 students from 30 #jalandharsahodayaschools actively engaged in the debate (Welcome to one of the smaller districts of India!). It was a marathon of speeches for 4.5 hours to be adjudged. Even though I was under the weather and had to pop a crocin in the middle of it all, it was all worth it!
The prestigious overall trophy was claimed by Woodland Overseas School in Hoshiarpur. Miss Hridya Sharma from Swami Sant Dass Public School,phagwara, secured the 1st Prize, while Miss Niharika from Woodland Overseas School earned the second position. The third position was secured by Miss Navdeep Kaur from Sanskriti KMV School, Jalandhar.
Ms. Dhillon shared that the school has initiated the International Collaborative Project “RiseUp4Peace,” and this debate was an integral part of the initiative. The event not only showcased the students’ debating skills but also contributed to the broader goal of fostering a culture of peace, justice, and strong institutions through constructive dialogue.
Click on link below to watch videos:
#debatecompetition #riseup4peace #sahodaya #InterschoolCompetition #QualityEducation

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