The word ‘Quiz’, as a tale goes, originated in Dublin. Created by a theatre manager in order to win a bet that required him to introduce into the English language an entirely new word with no meaning, the word itself became famous within 24 hours.
We might not be able to ascertain the authenticity of this tale, but Quiz is certainly a well-known sport all across the world now.
Considering the importance of quizzing, it is the best way of reciprocating the knowledge one gains in school or college. Everyone receives bookish knowledge but the retention of the same is very difficult as there is a pile of things to learn all the time. Quizzing acts as a practical platform to enhance that knowledge by introducing tricks into it.
With the introduction of automation in the form of internet, the patterns of quizzing got changed. The physical presence is nowadays replaced by virtual outlook. Although TV shows are being held on an almost regular basis, internet quizzes are more popular. The user can search for his or her required domain and the search engine directs the user towards the quizzing options regarding that subject.
Evolution of Quizzing Industry in India
In India, quizzing took its first flight in 1967, when Neil O’Brien (Father of Indian quizzing) conducted a formal quiz in Kolkata. This city was the hotspot of the famous ‘Quiz wars’ during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s owing to its fantastic quiz circuits spread over schools, colleges and for the general people too. However, the circuit fell into disrepair and as of today, very few quizzing competitions and quizzes exist in Kolkata as opposed to Chennai which has now taken the title.
On April 12, 1972, the very first ‘Bournvita Quiz Contest’ went on air (radio) on Vividh Bharti. In no time it became the most popular English show on the channel. Hosted by Hamid Sayani and his brother Ameen, this show saw a countrywide participation of school kids.
This show became an integral part of Sunday afternoons across India and ignited the desire for general knowledge among the listeners. This 70’s radio show was later on revived in June 1992 as a television quiz competition on Zee TV.
Another famous quiz competition that held its own during that era was the ‘North Star Quiz’ competition which was sponsored by Bata and initially held in 1978, Kolkata. This show went national in 1982 and was hosted by Sadhan Bannerjee. This was later hosted by Derek O’Brien in 1988 but was not continued thereafter.
Derek O’Brien has built his own brand image in the quizzing empire and is famous for hosting and popularizing the Bournvita Quiz contests across India. He gives the credit for his interest to his father as seeing him research and conduct quizzes left a deep impact on him.
When we talk about quizzes and quizmasters, one cannot ignore Siddhartha Basu. He became the perennial quiz master who hosted the national level inter-collegiate ‘Quiz Time’ in the late 1980’s, and followed it up with ‘India Quiz’. These shows hooked the Indian audience to their TV sets due to their popularity.
The 1980’s also saw the emergence of the ‘Karnataka Quiz Association’ (KQA).
The KQA was the brainchild of Wg. Cdr. (Retd.) G.R.Mulky along with eight other like-minded enthusiasts. It was formed ‘with the objective of putting the game on an organized basis and regulating and coordinating quizzing activity in Bangalore and other centres in Karnataka’. It has now become one of the largest quizzing associations of the country with their very own website (http://kqaquizzes.org/) detailing all their activities and quiz schedules all over the country.
BBC’s ‘Mastermind India’ raised the Indian quizzing standards in 1998. The quiz was conducted in two parts with the contestants being selected on the basis of a written test. One can gauge how serious a business that quizzing had become in India by the fact that apart from the UK, India was the only country where this show was conducted successfully.
With time the Indian television was graced with the landmark quizzing show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ hosted by the ever charming Amitabh Bachchan. This show held the nation’s attention like none before it. A success from the start, it is one of the only famous quizzes shows still continuing on prime time TV.
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Quizzes have now become an integral part of nation’s curriculum with every school, college and even offices having their own dedicated teams. The scale and the rewards have become much grander than before, but what remains the same is the love for quizzing.