WISSENDURST WAR OF WISDOM, Don’t hate, debate!



Wissendurst’s War of Wisdom is a first of its kind inter-college debating competition by ESIC Medical College and PGIMSR, KK Nagar, Chennai. From the times of Hippocrates and Charakasamhita’s sambhasa to modern medicine, debates have always played a role in enhancing the critical thinking of physicians. Here’s a great opportunity for aspiring debaters to showcase their skills and to have a brainstorming session of intense debating.


The event is open to both UGs and PGs

The debate will have a preliminary round and a final round. The prelims will be an off-stage event. Finals will be conducted on stage later the same day.

The language is restricted to English / Tamil (common tongue). Debaters may chose to use a mixture of both languages. 

The participants are expected to strictly adhere to the time limits for each round.

Vulgarity of any form is strictly prohibited.

Judges' decision will be final.

Registration fee details: 

Both the participants for the debate should pay the registration fee of ₹300 separately.


  • Participants are required to register as teams of two (no restrictions on number of teams per college).
  • Each team will be given a total duration of 5 minutes. (one speaker speaks for the motion and the other speaker goes against it)
  • A choice of topics is put up on this website and the teams can choose their topic for the prelims.
  • 4 best teams will qualify for the finals.
  • The best teams will be judged by a panel of judges based on the debating ability of the team as a whole

Prelims Topics


The finalists will be put into 2 teams (of 4 members each) by shuffling. This means that the original teams from the college may no longer be on the same team.  

The final event will proceed as follows :

1. Opening statements: 3 minutes/ speaker. Each team member will have to introduce themselves and give their stand on the topic allotted. 

2.Rebuttal: Both the teams will be given 3 minutes each for rebuttal. The rebuttal will be as a team and one representative may speak on behalf of the team. 

3.Judges' questioning: The panel of judges will throw two questions per team. The team will be given 30 seconds buffer time, following which, a team member of their choice will have to respond to the questions of the judges. 

4.Audience questioning: The house is open for questioning from the audience (including students, CRRIs, PGs and doctors).

5.Counter- rebuttal: This will be the final round. Finalists can individually take on the other team's members for their points (one team at a time). Any form of vulgarity is strictly prohibited. 

The best speaker will be chosen purely based on the opening statements and the winning team will be announced based on the overall performance. Judges' decision will be final. The prize will be awarded to the best speaker and certificates of merit to the winning team. All participants will receive certificate of participation. However, in order to earn the CME Credit points, the participants have to attend the full day program of WISSENDURST.  

Finals topic

Prelims Topics

Motion 1:


This house believes that the doctor speaking lies is detrimental to ethical practice of medicine. 


Patients have implicit trust in their doctors and believe in them to make the right choices. The issue of physicians “lying” to patients comes down to the definition of the term. This can be subjective from patient to patient, although most will agree that it refers to an intentionally false statement. While people arguing for the motion believe that an open and honest dialogue on both sides of the clinical table is integral in delivering optimum patient care, the other side refutes by saying that sometimes, a doctor may have to lie in order to give hope to the patient and his/her family. For example, there are patients whose cultural beliefs differ greatly on the topic of medical disclosure. The patient is entitled to truth, but how much of information is a doctor obligated to reveal is something that we intend to bring out during the debate.  

Motion 2


 This house believes that a woman is not completely free as per the law of the land to abort her fetus in India.


The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in India gives a woman the limited right to abort her baby under various clauses. MTP Act was aimed at reducing the incidence of maternal death due to unsafe abortions.  However, this act has been under scrutiny for so many years now in the fact it does not give the woman a complete free will to take a call on her pregnancy. The MTP Act contains general provisions but also restricts abortions in so many ways. While the MTP Act permits abortion of a foetus with serious abnormalities that would lead to disabilities in the child, the PCPNDT Act does not permit the identification of the sex of the foetus for the purpose of eliminating sex-linked disorders due to the increased incidence of female foeticides, another pressing issue in India. Similarly while the MTP act allows for termination of a fetus with severe congenital anomalies, the disability activists argue that the child with disability also has a right to live. These legal acts and moral positions conflict with one another. Ultimately is it a free choice for the woman? Let’s debate!


Debate Finals Topic


This house believes that artificial intelligence will replace the human element in medicine.

 Abstract :

Artificial intelligence by definition is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence. With the day to day advances in technology and its increasing application in various fields of medicine, a surgery performed by robots does seem plausible. With devices like medical tricoder coming out in the near future, the role of doctors in helping a patient seems to diminish. Precise testing modalities with accurate visualisation of the human body has largely decreased the need for a good clinical acumen in doctors. Therefore, from nano-technology emerging as a possible cure for cancer to robots operating on humans, it is safe to say that the future of medicine lies in artificial intelligence. However, does this take away the human element in medicine? The human body is never text-book. With varied diversity from person to person, quick thinking and decision making are critical to saving the life of the patient, both of which are absent in a machine that is driven by a pre-set program. The impeccable trust that a patient has on a doctor and the reassuring talk from a doctor before a major surgery are very important moral aspects that drives the patient to a successful recovery. Even with the advent of so many state of the art instruments and investigations, the patient always relies on the doctor to deliver the diagnosis. This raises the question, can the human aspect be replaced by artificial intelligence ? Let’s debate!

Workshop on evidence based medicine


1. Evidence based medicine - an introduction

  • Speaker - Dr. P. Ganesh Kumar, Scientist C, NIE, ICMR
  • Timing - 10.00 A.M.  to 10.30 A.M.

2. How to search for Evidence to clinical questions?

  • Speaker - Dr. Sudharshini. S, Assistant Professor, Community Medicine, Madras medical college
  • Timing - 10.30 A.M to 11.00 A.M

3. Which evidence to believe and which one not to?

  • Speaker - Dr. Bharath. T.V, Consultant, Critical care, Apollo Hospitals
  • Timing - 11.00 A.M. to 11.30 A.M.

4. Role of patient preferences - Patient centered care

  • Speaker - Dr. Sebin George Abraham, Paediatrician, CMC Vellore
  • Timing - 11.30 A.M. to 12.00 A.M.

Oral Paper Presentation


  • The Scientific Review Committee will choose abstracts for one of two formats of presentation – Oral Paper presentation or Poster presentation. 
  • The format under which the submitted abstract is selected will be communicated to the student. 
  • The student must give acceptance to present in the recommended format within 2 days of communication of the decision through a reply email. 
  • If selected for Oral Paper Presentation, the following guidelines must be followed:

Guidelines for oral paper presentation


Poster Presentation

  •  The Scientific Review Committee will choose abstracts for one of two formats of presentation – Oral Paper presentation or Poster presentation. 
  • The format under which the submitted abstract is selected will be communicated to the student. 
  • The student must give acceptance to present in the recommended format within 2 days of communication of the decision through a reply email. 
  • If selected for Poster Presentation, the following guidelines must be followed:

Guidelines for poster presentation



Here is the final list of all the oral paper and poster presentation that will be presented on the event date.

Marking scheme for oral paper & poster presentation

ESIC-FMES-Wissendurst Oration

A thirst for knowledge has always been key to continuous development and progress. And it is this passion that has driven great minds of this world to excel in their respective fields. With exemplary knowledge and years of experience, each of these great people have a story to tell. These are stories of inquisitiveness, unquenched thirst for knowledge, hard work, perseverance and determination. Exemplary scholars such as them, motivate the young minds to challenge themselves everyday and come out as the best versions of themselves. ESIC-FMES-Wissendurst oration is a platform to bring exceptional people in medicine from different parts of India to talk to medical students, inspire them, share their experiences, and impart the much needed intellectual and emotional stimulation to motivate students to think, seek and work like them. These exceptional ladies and gentlemen of medicine will be contributors ranging from the grassroots workers of public health in remote corners of India to cutting edge research scientists working on complex medical technology. ESIC-Wissendurst Oration will provide an opportunity to highlight to medical students, their inspirational stories and share their wisdom.


Orator of Wissendust '19


Dr. George Thomas D. Ortho, PhD (Ortho)

The ESIC-FMES-WISSENDURST Orator of 2019 is Dr. George Thomas, Senior Orthopaedic Surgeon, St. Isabel's Hospital, Chennai. 

Dr. George Thomas completed his MBBS from Kilpauk Medical College in 1983 and Diploma in Orthopaedics from Trivandrum Medical College in 1986. He worked for the Indian Railways for 20 years. Currently he is working at St. Isabel’s Hospital, Mylapore, Chennai

He has been interested in medical ethics since his undergraduate days. Together with a group of friends from various medical colleges in Chennai, he helped found The Medical Action Forum in 1980. The forum was active in ethical issues, notably in campaigning against the sale of organs and the practice of collecting capitation fees in medical colleges. 

He was the editor of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics from October 2005 to August 2011. He has been Chairperson of the Institutional Review Board, Christian Medical College, Vellore for the past ten years. 

It is an honour and privilege to hear Dr. George Thomas talk on the topic "Integrity in Medicine" on the occasion of the first ESIC-WISSENDURST Oration. 


Networking Partner

The Forum for Medical Ethics Society, Mumbai is a registered society of doctors and others interested in the ethical practice of health care in India. The FMES runs the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. 

Visit IJME at https://ijme.in/

The FMES Institute of Health Ethics and Law (HEAL) is the institute for training research and advocacy on health care ethics and law founded and run by the FMES. 

Visit the institute here https://fmesinstitute.org/about-us/