One of the great joys of living in India today is to see the effervescent flowering of cultural and intellectual life in India’s cities. The burgeoning cultural and intellectual scene is not just no longer confined to the swanky parts of Delhi and Mumbai; in fact, the most exciting things are no longer happening in these mega cities. Instead, in India’s Tier 2, 3 and 4 cities a million flowers are blooming as a prosperous middle class plugged into the internet organises a multitude of festivals. Shaheen Ahmed’s piece captures the outstanding level of quizzing taking place in the bustling city of Guwhati, the capital of Assam:
“For Assam’s tight-knit circle of long-time quizzers, this year’s edition of the Guwahati Quiz Fest or GQF was no ordinary competition. It was the resurrection of a dying tradition— one that they had breathed new life into, almost by chance.
On a sweltering April weekend, hundreds of enthusiasts from Assam and across India, from schoolchildren to quizzing circuit veterans, converged at the auditorium of the historic Gauhati Town Club to compete in various events at the fest, held after a hiatus of seven years.
The air crackled with excitement and a touch of anxiety too, especially for expert-level contests such as ‘Gyan Ashwamedh — The India Quiz’…The questions were tricky, requiring not just quick recall of trivia, but concentration and in-depth knowledge.” [We would recommend that you test your knowledge of trivia by trying to answer the stimulating questions in Ms Ahmed’s piece.]
How the quizzing scene took off in Assam tells you more about India’s future than 20 different macroeconomic forecasts would: “…Assam Quiz Adda was born with just four to five people in February 2021.”
It wasn’t long before this group started holding online quiz contests across a wide range of subjects, from business and pop culture to sports and the Mahabharata.
The first such quiz was via Google Meets in April 2021. There were less than 10 participants.
However, when Anurag Talukdar, a veteran of the Guwahati quiz circuit and an early member of the group, shared an image of the quiz on his personal Facebook page, word spread quickly.
Many more quizzers who had lost touch with both the sport and with their peers, joined the Assam Quiz Adda WhatsApp group.
Over time, the quiz meets evolved into a serious activity, with specific time slots allocated to accommodate the varying time differences across continents.
The quizmasters dedicated themselves to meticulous preparation, while participants took the quizzes as seriously as they would any physical prize-money competition…
…it was the Assam Quiz Adda group that played a crucial role in bringing together quizzers of different generations from the region onto a dedicated platform.
As a result, the biggest quizzing event in Northeast India, the Guwahati Quiz Festival (GQF), experienced a revival in early April….
“The Assam Quiz Adda WhatsApp group helped us connect with all quizzers of Assam who were and are active in the Guwahati quizzing circuit. This helped us re-group and restart the Guwahati Quiz Festival successfully after the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Bhrigu Talukdar, co-founder of the GQF….
Many more quiz festivals are now being conducted in various parts of the state, including interior locations. And updates about such festivals and competitions are usually shared first in the Assam Quiz Adda group. Members also chat with each other to form teams and find quiz partners for such competitions…
“We got in touch with people whose contacts we had lost…” said Dr. Vinay Upadhyay, a clinical biochemist and quizmaster. “This Adda group has enabled many people to make a return to quizzing and that in itself is wonderful.””
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