Home Dehradun 1st Gaura Devi National Debate Competition organised at Doon Varsity 

1st Gaura Devi National Debate Competition organised at Doon Varsity 

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By Our Staff Reporter

Dehradun, 30 May: In a fitting tribute to environmental icon Gaura Devi, Doon University organised the First Gaura Devi Memorial National Debate Competition at which students from 28 universities across India fiercely debated on the theme, ‘Only ethical relationship with nature in the present world can help mitigate climate challenge’.

Organised by ‘Vatsalya: The Literary and Debating Club’ of Doon University, the event had the students speaking for and against the motion.

“This is a befitting tribute to Gaura Devi, who is the first global eco-feminist and thus the icon of bravery of heroic women who defied the government and its powerful bureaucrats to conserve trees,” said Vice Chancellor Surekha Dangwal, the main inspiration behind organising this national debate.

“Doon University attempts to integrate Gaura Devi’s persona, Chipko women’s images and their message as part of the university’s several activities on relevant themes of women, environment, social movement, gender justice and social change,” she added.

Professor Dangwal disclosed that the university is organising a series of activities as part of the G20 Presidency of India.

A total of 28 universities from all over the nation participated in the competition. These included Jamia Millia Islamia, Banaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, Indraprastha University, Graphic Era University and many others.

Under the Hindi category, the First Prize was bagged by Mehek of DAV PG College (Dehradun), the second by Nishanth of Aligarh Muslim University, while the third prize went to Shivani of DAV PG College (Dehradun).

Similarly, among those making their presentations in English, the First Prize was bagged by Sudeep Krishna of Jamial Millia Islamia, the second by Divyajyoti Tripathi of Jamia Millia Islamia, and the third went to Jaya Sharma of Doon University. Jamia Millia Islamia was declared as Overall Champion by the jury.

The jury consisted of Dr Anjali Verma, an accomplished academician and social worker, Dr Anju Bhatt, Associate Professor at Government Degree College, Barkot, and journalist Rahul Kotiyal, founder and editor of baramasa.in, a media house based in Uttarakhand.

Professor Durgesh Pant, Director General of UCOST, was the Chief Guest. He said that climate Change is no more an academic debate. “It is now a worrisome fact and severe reality in which extreme climate conditions are now being accepted as the new normal. The debates and churning today over this issue are a miniscule but important positive step towards mitigation,” Professor Pant said.

Professor HC Purohit, Dean of Students Welfare, said that Doon University is committed to organising events on themes that are critical and relevant. Environmental ethics have to be taken into consideration in the context of a variety of activities such as manufacturing, housing, agriculture and energy production and consumption.

Dr Chetana Pokhriyal, Coordinator of the Cultural Committee, and Dr Arun Kumar, Head of Department of Chemistry, guided the Vatsalya team in their endeavour. Tanisha Rawat, Convener of the literary society organised the event and was assisted by her team members Maneesha, Sneha Kothiyal, Nidhi, Sanjana, Komal, Sanyam, Prakhar, Aman, Sneha Maithani, Aryan, Om and the NCC cadets.

Doon University Registrar Dr MS Mandrawal, Professor RP Mangain, Professor Harsh Dobhal, Dr Rajesh Bhatt, Dr Sudhanshu Joshi, Dr Savita Karnatak and others were present on the occasion.

Belonging to a tribal family from Reni Village in the Alaknanda River Valley of Chamoli district in Garhwal, Gaura Devi is better known for fearlessly leading a group of women folk in physically hugging trees (later internationally known as Chipko Movement) to stop these from felling by the axes of timber contractors in the 1970s. She symbolises the relevance of ethical environmental conservation, women’s leadership, community participation, women’s self-confidence and women’s determination to protect the ecology.

In order to pay true homage to Gaura Devi, Doon University will organise this national debate every year on themes relevant to the issues Gaura Devi symbolises. 

This debate is part of a series of activities Doon University is organising as part of 76 universities identified by Ministry of External Affairs to spread awareness among youth and academic community in the country about the G20 Presidency of India.