It is said to “change minds”. It confronts controversy head-on. And it's headed for India.
Doha Debates, true to tradition, will pick a fairly explosive issue for its Delhi debut next Monday — This House believes Muslims are not getting a fair deal in India.
Moderated by former BBC Hardtalk interviewer Tim Sebastian, the debates are modelled on a centuries-old format of prestigious British debating club Oxford Union.
Four speakers — two on each side — argue for and against the motion, after which they are questioned by Sebastian and the audience, followed by voting. To be held at St. Stephens College, the India debate will surprisingly see a Muslim columnist, M.J. Akbar, speak against the motion, along with Sachin Pilot, the Union communications minister. Human rights activist Teesta Setalvaad, along with journalist Seema Mustafa, will speak for the motion. “For the outside world, it would be illuminating to see how India manages its diversity,” Sebastian told HT.
Televised eight times a year by BBC World News, Doha Debates is known for cutting through pretenses and touching the rawest of nerves, but paving the way for understanding.