(This article first appeared in ThePrint on 8 November 2022)
The Centre for Law & Policy Research (CLPR) is back with the latest edition of its annual flagship quiz ConQuest — India’s premier national quiz on the Constitution, history and politics.
Symbiosis Law School, Pune trounced stiff competition from five other institutes on 5 November to emerge winner in the regional round (west) of the popular national quiz.
Winners of West Regionsl Round of ConQuest 2022 from Symbiosis Law School, Pune
ConQuest is part of CLPR’s larger constitutional culture initiative, which aims to facilitate public engagement with the Constitution and its values. The quiz is an extension of constitutionofindia.net, a digital open-access resource on India’s constitutional and political history, which includes a digitised, tagged and easily searchable version of the Constituent Assembly Debates.
While Symbiosis got 115 points, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune finished second with 80. Six teams from the initial 30 qualified for the West Regional Finals held at Kale Hall, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics in Pune.
These included Symbiosis Law School Pune, Armed Forces Medical College Pune, V.M. Salgaocar College of Law Goa, Government Law College Mumbai and 2 teams from Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.
The final is in Bengaluru on 3 December.
The theme for this year’s ConQuest is celebrating 75 years of Indian Independence, and most questions found a contemporary relevance for events that shaped India’s Independence movement.
Digging up trivia — from Princestan to Manto
The preliminary round set the tone for successive rounds of brain teasers that tested the participants’ knowledge. For instance, what is the name of a 2022 book that also shares its name with an unsuccessful plan of creating a country with 565 states, spearheaded by Mohammad Hamidullah Khan?*
Or a more direct question that featured in this round was: What is the seal of the Constituent Assembly of India?**
Things took an intense turn as the ‘List It’ round shook up the scoreboard. Languages that appear on the Indian currency notes were quite the battle with one team failing to score at all, garnering much sympathy from the audience.
The ‘PotPourri’ round – a mixed bag of questions that allowed the finalists to get a solid chunk of points early in the final – promised interesting connections and trivia bits on the main theme.
Book cover of Naya Qanoon by Saadat Hasan Manto
For instance, ‘Naya Qanoon’ – Saadat Hasan Manto’s 1930s short story – uses the spat between a tonga driver and an Englishman who refused to pay a steeper fare to reveal an Indian Independence easter egg. Ustaad Mangu, the tonga driver was prompted to attack the Englishman after becoming aware of the buzz on the street – the passage of a then recent piece of legislation that was meant to grant a large measure of autonomy to the provinces of British India. The piece of legislation that ended the system of diarchy introduced by its predecessor that’s at the heart of this short story is The Government of India Act, 1935.
The last round of the West Regional finals was the ‘Buzzer’ round which saw Symbiosis cruise to the top. V.M. Salgaocar College of Law also got most of the answers right, but stumbled on identifying the Independence activist, Kanaklata Barua, who featured on the cover of Amar Chitra Katha’s series ‘Valiant Women of India’. Salgaocar College came third place with 70 points.
The CLPR team with faculty and volunteers from Shankarrao Chavan Law College, Pune
ConQuest 2022 now moves to Kolkata for the East Regional Round which will be held on 12 November. The North finals are in Delhi on 19 November, followed by the South zone on 26 November in Bengaluru.
Since its first edition in 2016, ConQuest has become the largest quiz and educational activity that celebrates India’s constitutional history and politics. The 2022 edition returns in-person after a 3-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answers: *”Princestan” by Sandeep Bamzai; **elephant.
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