The Yale Hindi Debate


Born as a student’s idea in a Yale classroom, the Yale Hindi Debate has grown exponentially, from an ambitious venture to an intellectual, cultural, and social institution. 
The debate was established as a Yale-only event in 2008, and now sees participation from faculty and students from USA’s preeminent schools, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Cornell, UCLA, Wesleyan, Rutgers, the University of Texas at Austin, and Wellesley College.

Each speaker will present his/her speech in Hindi and then answer, in Hindi, one question from the audience. The speaker will be judged on the following criteria, and will be awarded marks out of 30.

Interpretation of the Motion (2 marks): The speaker should interpret the motion in a holistic fashion, taking into consideration all key facets while crafting his/her arguments.

Logical Presentation of Argument (5 marks): The speaker should be able to convince the House with regard to the validity of his/her stand using logical, structured ideas.

Evidence (2 marks): The speaker should support his/her argument with examples / facts wherever suitable.

Rebuttal of Opponents' Ideas (3 marks): The speaker should anticipate and refute the ideas of his/her opponents, thereby crafting a well rounded and watertight argument.

Stance and Gestures (3 marks): The speaker should adhere to the formal/ethnic dress code for the debate, appear alert and confident, and refrain from leaning on the lectern or using overly distracting gestures.

Address and Format (2 marks): The speaker should engage in the correct use of the conventions and forms of address, should be penalized for rude, personal remarks, and must not address either an opponent or the interjector by name.

Elocution / Diction / Fluency (4 marks): Clear diction, correct pronunciation, minimal hesitation, minimal reading, and a well modulated, expressive voice are the criteria. The speaker should be judged relative only to the other speakers in his/her category. 

Time limit (1 mark): The speaker will speak for 3 minutes. A warning bell will be rung after 2½ minutes, and a final bell will be rung after the third minute.

  • Under or exceeding the prescribed time by less than 1 minute: 1/1 in ‘Time Limit’.
  • Under or exceeding the prescribed time by more than 1 minute but less than 2 minutes: 0/1 in ‘Time Limit’.
  • Under or exceeding the prescribed time by more than 2 minutes: 0/1 in ‘Time Limit’ & 0/4 in ‘Miscellaneous’

Rebuttal of Interjection (4 marks):  The speaker should be able to answer the interjector’s question confidently, effectively, and without compromising the validity of his/her argument. In the absence of any questions from the audience, the speaker should be allotted full marks for having ‘floored’ the House.

Miscellaneous (4 marks): An overall impression of the speaker’s performance as a debater should be judged. If the speaker reads the entire debate, he/she will receive 0/4 in ‘Miscellaneous’.

Regarding the Best Interjector Prize: This will be based on the single best question of the day. The judges will note the name of the interjector (who is required to announce it before he/she asks the question), and mark the question out of 5. Note: cross questioning is not allowed.


Berkeley College at Yale - Source: Akhil Sud, SM '16