Well, I am going through a translation of the the principles of debate written by a scholar by name Maitreya who lived in the sixth century AD in his book Saptadasabhumisastrayogacharya. Whatever he wrote then will shake you wide awake – every single point is valid even today, that too, when we are following the Western standards. Are they that logical or is it that his work is carried over to the West, either through Arabia or through China

1. The Subject of Debate

In beginning a debate on a subject, we must first see that the subject is a useful one. A useless subject should be abandoned.

2. The place of Debate

Debate should not be entered upon in any and every place. It should be carried on in the presence of scholars, in the palace of a king or the office of a minister or in a council.

3. The means of Debate

The thesis is of two kinds – That concerning one’s self(alma sambandha) and that concerning others(para sambandha). The proof may be of eight types –

1. A proposition, tenet or conclusion(siddhanta)
2. reason(hetu)
3. example(udaharana)
4. the affirmative example(sadharmya)
5. the negative example(vaidharmya)
6. perception(pratyaksa)
7. inference(anumana)
8. scripture(agama)

4. The qualifications of a debater

1. The debaters must be versed in each other’s scriptures
2. They must not, under any circumstances, use sordid or disrespectful language. In addressing each other they should employ the words of dignity
3. They must remain fearless
4. They must speak continuously without any break, and must be intelligible to the entire audience
5. They must speak in harmony to please the audience

5. Points of defeat

1. If a debater at first opposes an assertion and afterwards speaks in agreement with it, he is defeated
2. If a debater being unable to defend the subject which he has been discussing and introduces another subject, he is defeated
3. If a debater talks irrelevantly, he is defeated

6. Attending a place of debate

1. A person, in proceeding to a place of debate, should consider whether the debate will be of any benefit to him
2. He should, before proceeding there, consider whether the debate will exercise any good influence on the debater, the opponent, the umpire and the audience
3. He should consider whether the debater and his opponent are persons worthy of carrying on debate through the process of proposition, a reason, an example etc

7. Confidence of a Debater

The debater should appear to the audience in such a way that he is, as it were, sure to gain victory. He should be understood by them to be one who knows the scripture of both parties, who is self-possessed and full of enthusiasm, and who can speak without a break