BORASAMBAR DEBATE

This award was installed in the year 1934 with an amount of Rs.600/-. The award goes to the best debater of the University.

This prize was instituted by the Raja of Borasambar province. The money was raised on the occasion of the farewell of Sri Nilamani Senapati, I.C.S. the then Deputy Commissioner of Sambalpur Division, who in turn handed over the money to Ravenshaw College to create an endowment.

Now this prize has been equated with the Chancellor’s Debate. The prizes have been enhanced to Rs.5,000/-, Rs.3,000/- and Rs.2,000/- respectively for First, Second and Third position holders in English Debate. The origin of this prestigious debate can be traced back to the year 1934, two years before Orissa became a separate province, when Mr. Nilamani Senapati, one of the few Oriya officers of the Indian Civil Service (ICS) was the Deputy Commissioner of Sambalpur district. Borasambar was then a small principality of about 1,000 square miles, situated within Sambalpur, and it housed within itself more than 3,000 feet high Gandhamardan hills, and the sacred temple of Lord Nrusinghanath. Presently it is a part of the Padampur Sub-division of Baragarh district.

Consequent upon Mr. Senapati`s transfer to Cuttack, a farewell was organized by the Raja of Borasambar estate, Sri Rajendra Singh Bariah (1899-1935) in his honour. During the farewell Mr. Senapati was presented with six hundred rupees as a parting gift from the people of Borasambar. The magnanimous Deputy Commissioner donated this amount to Ravenshaw College to create an endowment for awarding a prize to the best debater in English, effective since 1937. Since the credit for the endowment goes conjointly to the Borasambar estate and Mr. Nilamani Senapati, the event bears the nomenclature of Borasambar-Senapati debate.

After creation of the Ravenshaw University in 2006, it was found that there is no record of this debate being held since 1970, and hence no winners were listed. The debate was then revived presumably after a lapse of 36 years with an increased prize money of Rs. 5,000 for the best debater. It was decided that the winner of the Borasambar Debate will also be awarded the Chancellor`s Cup and no separate debate will be held for the Chancellor`s prizes, said Vice Chancellor of the University, Devdas Chhotray, who had himself won the Borasambar-Senapati debate competition way back in 1963 when he was a student.