The winners pose with the trophy at Surendranath Centenary School in Ranchi on Monday. (Hardeep Singh)
Why did Amitav Ghosh withdraw his novel, The Glass Palace, from the contest for the Commonwealth writers’ prize? What is common to Nigeria, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Fiji? Who won gold in the 77-kg category weight lifting in the recent Commonwealth Games?
A team from Loyala School, Jamshedpur, was able to tackle most of these posers, and more, lobbed by quizmaster Charanpreet Singh, to win the inter-school Commonwealth Quiz organised by British Council, Calcutta, at Surendranath Centenary School, Ranchi, on Monday.
The quiz is a part of Commonwealth Class, a joint initiative of BBC, British Council and the Commonwealth secretariat, that aims to help students of member nations have a better understanding of the Commonwealth.
A set of 43 questions were asked during the final round that covered various aspects concerning Commonwealth countries, like their culture, language and of course sports.
In the preliminary round, 48 three-member teams from 24 schools from Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and Bokaro had to answer 25 questions.
Based on their performances, six teams qualified for the final round.
Apart from Loyola, the others who qualified for the finals were two teams from Delhi Public School (DPS), Ranchi, and one team each from three Ranchi schools Surendranath, Jawahar Vidya Mandir and Sapphire International.
The Loyala team, comprising Tanuj Guha, Siddharth Shrama and Kaushik Agarwal, maintained a lead from the very beginning. They finished with 85.
The two teams from DPS, Ranchi, finished second and third scoring 65 and 60 points each. The team from the host school, Surendranath finished fourth, scoring 55 points.
Brigadier N.S. Sarna, commander of the local artillery brigade, handed over prizes to the three top teams. The questions were tough, he noted. “But the students displayed their wonderful knowledge,” he said.
Each member of the winning team from Loyala School also got a certificate, a set of books, an MP3 player and a gift-hamper. “We expected a buzzer round. That provides an opportunity to a well-informed team to score over the rivals,” quipped Siddharth Mishra of Loyola.
“The questions were tough. It was a highly competitive quiz, but I enjoyed it,” remarked Samita Sinha, the principal of the host school.
British Council was pleased with the response. “We are glad to have organised the quiz here for the first time,” said Mrigank Mukherjee, senior project manager.
Quizmaster Singh was all–praise too. “The standard of quizzing here is really high,” he said.
Now for the answers. Writer Ghosh’s move was to register his objection to the use of the term, Commonwealth, and limiting the contest to writers writing in English only. The four countries were once suspended from the Commonwealth. Satish Shivalingam won the gold in weight-lifting.