Abhaey Singh’s music video on civil debate goes viral

“Talk it out — Debater’s Rhapsody” is a seven-minute rap music video extolling the virtues of civil debate, including its ability to guide public opinion, influence policy makers and create a stable society. Being promoted on YouTube, this Indian media product has gone viral, striking a resonance with thousands of people across the globe. At the time of this issue going to the press, ‘Talk It Out’ had registered 1.52 million hits on YouTube in 13 days.

The mastermind behind the music-video is Abhaey Singh, founder of Indian Debating Union (IDU), which is “an independent global think-tank and a professional debating forum”. Abhaey took on multiple tasks — conceptualizing, lyric-writing, rapping, composing, arranging, acting and directing — to make ‘Talk It Out’, which serves as a global launch-pad for IDU. In addition, the music-video has helped the entertainment section of Abhaey’s organisation see the light. “It has been my dream to set up an entertainment unit,” says the debating sensation. “The music-video offers one-tenth of a feature film and has everything: music, acting, dance and other elements of filmmaking.”

After its launch in 2009, IDU conducted two huge public debates — one on reservation and the other on hartals and bandhs. After the quick start, IDU appeared to have gone into hibernation. But Abhaey knew what he was doing. He recalls how the first debate packed the auditorium at Nehru Centre (Mumbai). From celebrities and media persons to students and common people, every stakeholder of society was in attendance. The two debates had cost a lot of money. It dawned on him that the effort had to be sustainable and global and the next set of moves had to be in these directions. Abhaey, a Punjabi who has lived in many lands, including England, Spain, Singapore and India, believes IDU is ready for a global audience¸ and the next task is creating systems whereby millions of people can witness its debates.

Abhaey has no doubts about achieving his goals. “I work doggedly until something happens,” he says. A close look at his life before he founded IDU bears out this claim. When he went to a school in London, Abhaey used to debate not only in English, but also in French. When he went to the University of London, he was captivated by its Debating Society. After he joined the Society, he realised he was good at oratory but lacked debating skills. Dogged in his pursuit of debating excellence, he became the president of the society at the end of the second year. By the third year, his analysing skills had considerably improved and he trounced debating heavyweights with ease. “Just when I peaked as a debater, University ended.”

He entered a media office in Britain, serving in the sales section. His climb up the ladder of success was phenomenally quick. At 22, he became a junior manager at the British office. At 25, divisional director. At 27, managing director. Subsequently, he took up jobs elsewhere — including Singapore and Dubai — but the desire to return to the lectern was overpowering. In 2009, he decided to chase his dreams and IDU was born.

For details, visit abhaeysongh.com and facebook.com/indiandebatingunion