The ConQuest 2023 National Finals marked the culmination of four regional rounds involving universities from across India and over 800 participants. The top two teams from each region advanced to compete for the ConQuest 2023 Champions title at Ramaiah College of Law, Bengaluru, on 25 November 2023. Notably, the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) partnered with Dr BR Ambedkar Research Institute, Bengaluru and Karnataka Residential Educational Institutions Society (KREIS), Department of Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka. A special edition round for 300 KREIS students was organised for the first time to enhance constitutional awareness among India’s youth. ConQuest is organised by CLPR and is the public outreach arm of CLPR’s Constitutionofindia.net initiative.
The event kicked off with the inaugural KREIS special edition round, where 300 students formed teams of three to tackle a 20-minute written quiz questionnaire. Following the preliminary round, the top six teams moved to the ConQuest KREIS edition finals. In the opening round of the finals, which showcased an image of Indian Constituent Assembly member Kengal Hanumanthaiah, students were challenged to identify the building project he initiated.
This came after a visiting Russian delegation, accompanied by Hanumanthaiah, highlighted the prevalence of European architecture in Karnataka. The correct answer, inspired by indigenous architectural styles, was Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru—the seat of the Karnataka Government.
Students were also asked to identify two terms that economics professor KT Shah – a Constituent Assembly member – wanted to include in the Constitution’s Preamble but was not allowed to. The correct answer was “Socialist and Secular”.
As the rounds progressed, questions delved into themes of constitutional history, particularly those related to Ambedkar’s constitutional and political thought. Ultimately, MDR PU College, Jadigenahalli, emerged as the winner of the KREIS edition, followed by MDR PU College, Doddabadagere, and MDRS PU College, Adakamaranahalli, as first and second runners-up, respectively.
Next was the National Finals of ConQuest 2023, featuring the top eight teams from various parts of India. Teams from institutions such as the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, National Law University Odisha, Goa University, Gujarat National Law University, National Law University Delhi, Faculty of Management Studies Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru competed for the title.
The first question in the finals prompted students to identify a proposal by HV Kamath that generated laughter in the Constituent Assembly—inserting “interplanetary travel” into the Union list. The rounds also explored lesser-known figures like freedom fighter Usha Mehta, who ran an underground radio channel aiding the freedom movement. Jogendranath Mandal, a colleague of Ambedkar, was introduced, revealing his role as the first law minister of Pakistan. The first law ministers of India and Pakistan were members of the Scheduled Caste community.
With five rounds of quizzing, including clockwise and anti-clockwise potpourri rounds, list rounds, and two buzzer rounds, teams showcased their extensive constitutional knowledge. After intense competition, Goa University emerged as the champion with 155 points, followed by National Law University Delhi. Gujarat National Law University secured the second runners-up position after a challenging tie-breaker.
ConQuest 2023 concluded on a high note with the participation of new stakeholders, including the Karnataka government and government school students, underscoring its importance in constitutional education. The success of ConQuest reaffirms that, when provided with a platform and high-quality constitutional materials in an engaging format like a quiz, students eagerly seize the opportunity to connect with India’s constitutional heritage. As ConQuest anticipates future editions, the quiz will persist in engaging with a diverse range of India’s youth.
This article first appeared in ThePrint on 01 December 2023.