This life membership nomination is long overdue. Many of you were not at university with Amit, and did not debate with Amit. Some of you never have seen him debate. If that is the case, I am truly sorry. Witnessing Amit debate was a privilege. He was, in my view, the best debater of his generation. Indeed, he may have been the best debater among many generations. For those of you who do not know Amit as intimately as I do, let me explain some of his successes and experiences.
Amit is gifted, and it was MAD’s good fortune that he chose to come to Monash. Unlike most of us who take years to perform well, Amit never ranked below about 27th at any tournament. From the beginning of his debating career he was winning tournaments and he was always the best or second best Monash speaker at any major tournament. He also won almost every minor tournament, winning at least one each year.
Apart from his first Australs and Worlds, where he was dragged down by the likes of Ravi Dutta and Kiran Iyer respectively, Amit broke at every major tournament he attended. He was best speaker at Easters in his second year and he came close to winning Australs in his third year – breaking first and being awarded third best speaker.
But, as you know, even this exceptional and consistent achievement is not enough for life membership – so here are the big ones. Amit eventually won Australs, was awarded best speaker, was awarded best speaker in the grand final, won Worlds and was the third best speaker at Worlds.
As a judge, Amit was deputy chief adjudicator of Easters and Australs, judged the grand final of Easters and Australs, and the semis of Worlds. With a debating CV like his, Amit could easily have coasted to similar adjudicating success without much effort, but Amit put a great deal of effort into his judging. Anyone who received his feedback was immediately grateful and awed by his exceptional insight.
Amit was an incredibly creative speaker. Amit never ran the cookie-cutter arguments that others would. He continued to come up with exciting and innovative ideas, presenting them with a uniquely Amit combination of gravitas and crude humour.
On any view, these successes, and the benefit they brought to our club, are beyond sufficient to entitle Amit to life membership. But, although he didn’t make a fuss about it, Amit’s contribution to others’ success, and the success of the club as a whole, confirm his candidacy.
Amit constantly stepped up to help out the club. He was twice a very successful internals officer – initially in his second year and later in 2009 when he came back after a year’s hiatus largely because he knew that the club would be stretched hosting Australs that year.
Amit contributed countless hours of training sessions, adjudications and coaching to younger debaters. Even after he concluded his rather long stint at Monash, he remained one of the more reliable alumni, judging trials and coaching.
On the rare occasions he wasn’t in the last Monash team to be knocked out at a tournament, he would wholeheartedly support the remaining team, cheering the loudest.
Amit did all this because he also understood better than most that MAD is a family – a weird, crazy and often embarrassing family, but a family nonetheless. Although he would never openly admit it, Amit cares deeply about this club and how it performs. And, despite outward appearances, Amit is humble. He always worried he had lost big debates, and when it comes to life membership, he never expected to be nominated. In fact, he was more concerned to see that Victor and Kiran secured life membership than himself.
Finally, Amit’s presence at debating every Monday night was something that brought many of us, particular myself, great joy. We would never have laughed as much without him there.
It is my privilege to nominate Amit for life membership.
Nominated by Collette Mintz