Debating is not something that Sikh and Punjabis are known for. ‘Surely it is all we are known for’, I hear you say? Well perhaps, if you substitute the word argue for debate! But that’s not always been the case nor is it still amongst some.
I was raised by parents who advocated that personal development would stagnate without a healthy dose of daily debate. Whilst on the odd occasion this meant blazing rows that had the neighbours screaming for ear plugs, it was largely encouraged around our dining table to improve vocabulary and our ability to reason. In my formative years I didn’t realise just how important it was to engage in discourse, but as I got older it became abundantly clear that this was a vital tool to becoming a better person.
It’s not just within Sikh and Punjabi communities that civilised debate is a lost art. Across the World there are few communities where informed opinions are brought to cross verbal swords with differing informed opinions. They do exist, but you only need tune into a radio call-in debate to hear that they are the exception and not the rule; far too many of us are either ill-informed or unable to maintain a civil exchange.
In the backdrop of this, I have for some time attempted to promote discourse of certain selected topics within a higher education setting through our SikhSocs.com resource website. Up and down the country, University Sikh societies hold weekly ‘discussions’ for their members – an activity which I deem ill-advised when you look at the topics they choose to talk about. Our alternative discussion plans highlight some appropriate issues to debate and provide pre-reading material to reference.
But this was only aimed at bringing back the art of debate to one small group of people. At Naujawani.com we want to see debating jousts take hold across the World so that we can share our experiences and learn from one another. Realising that 21st century people live in a fast paced World and have little time to be exposed to different opinions, we devised Left v Right. This weekly Naujawani:TV show features two individuals mooting contrasting views about a topical news story making headlines that week from within the UK, globally and in the Sikh/Punjabi world. We are hoping to bring in guests on each weeks show and build on the original by introducing a range of Left v Right formats including a competitive tournament edition.
Watch our promotional Introduction to Left v Right now and subscribe to our Youtube channel to watch the first edition next week.