In poll season, young guns from schools across the country came together to discuss issues both political and social at the Eleventh Vasant Valley Debate held at Vasant Valley School in Vasant Kunj on Wednesday. The motion before the house for the final round was 'This house believes that homosexuality is out in the open but Indian minds are shut tight.' Students put forward informed arguments to oppose or defend the motion. Discussions in previous rounds included topics as varied as secularism and Indian politics, and the role of God in the world. A student of Vasant Valley said, 'An interesting topic in the preliminary round was: 'This house will choose Slytherin over Gryffindor.' The student clarified that the topic's was to be interpreted on the lines of the issue of Kashmir, where the desire for power and autonomy were in contrast with the symbol of the Gryffindor house in the Harry Potter novels, seen as the lion in the Indian National Emblem.
'The views put forward here represent the ideas of the country's educated urban elite, and it is encouraging to see that students are open-minded about accepting differing interpretations,' said Shrey Kohli of St Stephen's College, a judge at the debate. Debaters say that the extensive research required for participating in high-caliber debates like these allow them to open up to new ideas. 'Children learn to think, analyse information and arrive at a conclusion for themselves,' said Charurekha, a teacher at Vasant Valley School.