The Independent Student Newspaper of Ashoka University

The Mauryan Debates

Apply here to participate in the debate!

When the current Editorial Board took over The Edict at the turn of the year, we had outlined our commitment to our readers and this University: “The Edict’s presence is a response to the unfortunate invasion of Ashokan discourse by social media, which has precipitated a move from reading and writing to scrolling and ranting.”

In keeping with our pledge, we bring to you the Mauryan Debates. This shall be a set of 5 One versus One Debates on contemporary campus issues that are polarizing and have been the subject of Facebook debates, dinner table discussions and often heated conversations. The role of a newspaper is to not just report on these matters but also to facilitate discourse, dialogue and dissent. These Debates shall be an opportunity for us to come together as a community and vociferously, yet prudently, partake in public discussion.

The ancient emperor in whose name our University flourishes was a champion of reason, public deliberation and argumentative discourse. The most important of the 4 historic ‘Buddhist Councils’ was organized in the 3rd Century BC, by Emperor Ashoka. These councils didn’t just concern themselves with religious principles but also offered an opportunity for open public discourse. In following with this tradition, and what we consider the responsibilities of a newspaper, we present to you this event.

There shall be no time limit for the speakers. However, they will have to abide by the word limit for pieces submitted to the Opinions Sections: 1000+200 words. All those who are interested will have to register their interest with us ahead of time, and the pieces need to be submitted to us before midnight on Sunday (23rd September).

The motions for the 1st Mauryan Debates are as follows:

  1. “Perfectly abled individuals should not have the right to take the lift to the 1st floor.”
  2. “The proceedings and subsequent results of cases being tried by the Committee Against Sexual Harassment (CASH) should not be confidential.”
  3. “A Student Government is futile at Ashoka University.”
  4. “Are Ashoka’s students worthy of Emperor Ashoka’s ideals?”
  5. “Ashoka University as an idea has failed.”

On the 24th of September, Monday, the Multi Purpose Hall in the Academic Bloc shall transfigure into our very own Agora. We expect one and all to join us embodying the greek spirit of ἀγορεύω (‘Speaking in Public’), while staying true to the spirit of tolerance, parley and hearkening that Ashoka stood for.

“Concord therefore is meritorious, to wit, hearkening and hearkening willingly to the law of piety as accepted by other people. For it is the desire of his Sacred Majesty that adherents of all sects should hear much teaching and hold sound doctrine.”

– Emperor Ashoka, Major Rock Edict XII.

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