This is not just a quiz book. In a small way, it is a celebration of the joy of being an Indian, of the strength of India, and its rise from the slumber of the past. It is an invitation to explore and know India better. There are a lot many things to discover about this fascinating land, a lot of surprising golden nuggets waiting to be mined.
(An expedition to know more about India) will be a daring ascent, dear reader, but one that will certainly rejuvenate you. For you will be drinking from the fount of a civilization that will never age. Along with the knowledge and spirituality that this land contains, one's vision becomes ageless with the ascent
"As you discover the secret tales of sacrifice behind each piece of art and architecture, you will be immeasurably ennobled
(You) would have begun a voyage into India.
"Whether you are an Indian or not, you are likely to find that this voyage leads you home to your self."
India that cradled ancient human civilizations has been a land of immense beauty and vitality. Nowhere else in the world can we find such a breathtaking diversity of art and culture, land and people, language and faith. The Indian subcontinent has been a theatre of innumerable invasions and battles, witnessing the rise and fall of mighty empires and yet its indomitable spirit has always prevailed to provide for the continuity of the civilizing process. The people of this great country are the inheritors of a rich heritage in myriad fields like philosophy, ayurveda, astronomy, literature, handicrafts, cuisine and architecture. Amidst such a wonderful range and variety there thrives a common unified consciousness - the Indianness.
Ours is also the land that was the birthplace of four of the world's greatest religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism that enriched the Indian thought and culture. Other world religions like Islam and Christianity that flourish on this land have brought about a global synthesis of culture that defines the pluralistic society of the country.
As proud inheritors of this vast heritage, it is our sacred duty to preserve, develop and bequeath it to the coming generations. The sense of pride that our cultural heritage bestows on us should be instilled in the minds of the youngsters of today. It can be best achieved by involving them in activities that educate, enlighten and entertain, making the process of appreciating our history, geography, constitution, freedom struggle and life styles a joyful experience.
I am greatly impressed with the Indian Heritage Quiz Book put together by Mr Simanta Mohanty. The rich variety of questions on a plethora of topics that are related to the heritage of India truly reflect the intricate tapestry of our culture and civilization. In his true Quiz Master's style Mr Mohanty has researched hitherto unexplored areas of the treasure that is India to come up with a book that is different from the routine quiz books in the market. I am sure that besides helping the children to prepare for quiz contests, this book will awaken in young minds curiosity ad inquisitiveness to learn more about our country. The attractive titles and interesting formats that demand strategic skill from the quizzers add novelty to the book. I am sure that students will find it a treasure of unending joy.
Quiz Master's Note
The idea for this book came when I started doing an all India quiz with schools on the culture of India. Seasoned as I was as a Quiz Master, I was little prepared for the enthusiasm that the quiz generated. It was the equivalent of a Quiz rock 'n roll and India was the theme song. It reminded me of words spoken in January 1897 by one of India's greatest sons, Swami Vivekananda, in the holy Tamil city of Rameswaram: "The longest night seems to be passing away; the sorest trouble seems to be coming to an end at last
she is awakening, this motherland of ours. From her deep, long sleep. None can resist her anymore; never is she going to sleep anymore; no outside powers can hold her back any more; for the infinite giant is rising to her feet".
34 years after Swamiji said his lines, a boy was born, in 1931, into a poor family in the same town of Rameswaram, who has rode through life on wings of fire. He has given India its missile and space technology breakthroughs, has been decorated with the Bharat Ratna and exhorts Indians to dream big and bold, for it is our dreams that lead us to achievements. He is also the current President of India, Janaab A P J Abdul Kalam. Need I say anymore about how prophetic Swamiji's words were? If more proof were needed one had to look into the eyes of the hundreds of students who participated in the quiz. India was shining through them, strong and awake.
This, then, is not just a quiz book. In a small way it is a celebration of the joy of being Indian, of the strength of India and its rise from the slumber of the past. It is an invitation to explore and know India better. There are a lot many things to discover about this fascinating land, a lot of surprising, golden nuggest waiting to be mined. This also is a book that many teachers, parents and students demanded I write, capturing the contents of my live quiz. I hope you like it.
India is inexhaustible, but not exhausting. It refuses to be captured in its entirety in any form. No book can claim to do justice to the idea of India and with this boo, to, we have only just begun. As I worked on this book I realized that I couldn't have nay ambition other than instigating the reader to use this book as an incentive to proceed on an expedition of her or his own. It will be a daring ascent, dear reader, but one that will rejuvenate you. For you will be drinking from the fount of a civilization that we will not even try to age. Like the knowledge and spirituality this land contains, one's vision becomes ageless with the ascent even now, as you read this, archaeologists, historians and philosophers are trying to determine how old the civilization in our country actually is. And, the task doesn't seem to get easier.
As you discover the secret of and the sacrifice for each beautiful object of art and architecture, you will be immeasurably ennobled. I have yet to come across a human being who has not been moved by a story as oft-repeated as that of an emperor who built a wonder of the world in the memory of his beloved wife. The emperor little knew that one day, old and helpless, he would be imprisoned in a fort across the monument and die staring away at the monument. The land is strewn with monuments, each with its own story, each with its own soul.
Every time I spun a question around a fact, I discovered more related facts that could enrich some of the explanatory notes that I have inserted in the answers, and inveigled into some of the questions. Not all such facts could be put into the book due to constraints of space and time. I will hope, however, that you, after reading this book, would have begun a voyage into India, if you haven't already. Whether you are an Indian or not, you are likely to find that this voyage leads you home to your self.
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