The Pragati Quiz

Go and go and go!

This is the fourth installment of The Pragati Quiz, our weekly dose of stimulation to readers who are curious about the world.


(Answers at the bottom.)

  1. Developed by an intern Wes Cherry (who received no royalties for it), it was initially included to make users familiar with the GUI, the use of the mouse, and basic techniques such as the drag-and-drop. It did its job too well and there have been concerns about lost business productivity. In 2006, a New York City worker was fired after Mayor Michael Bloomberg saw him using it on his office computer. What was it?
  2. The Treetops Lodge in Nyeri, Kenya uses this quote by Jim Corbett about the events of 5 February 1952 to advertise itself — “For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a princess and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience she climbed down from the tree next day a queen.” Who is this quote about?
  3. As per a bill passed in December 2015, fashion models working in France have to carry a certificate that shows a certain number is greater than 18. Only then are they allowed to walk the ramp. What number is this?
  4. Babur wrote his diaries (the Waqeat-e-baburi, later translated into Persian as the Baburnama) in the original native tongue of the Mughal rulers, which later also contributed to the development of Hindustani. The name of the language may remind us of a celebrated Urdu author of the last century. Which language or author?
  5. This is a controversial ad (which is slightly edited) that is banned in many countries. Which organization produced it, and what is it about?
  6. The RMS Olympic and the HMHS Britannic were two of the three “Olympic-class” ships that were built by the White Star Line. Which was the third?
  7. The smallest as well as the oldest regiment of the Indian Army was raised in 1773 at Benares by the then Governor Warren Hastings. Originally christened the Guard of Moguls, today it has less than 200 jawans, all of whom are at least six feet tall.
    Which elite regiment is this?
  8. In 1794, inhabitants of an island rescued the crews of ten merchant ships (including a member of the British royal family) which had struck a reef and run aground during rough seas. In return, according to a popular legend, King George III rewarded the island with a promise never to introduce taxes. As a result, which island today has more registered businesses (from over 100 countries) than it has people?
  9. The participating schools are asked to make the initial nominations of students who are in year 10, and have no exams during a specified two-week period. During training, the students must be able to run at a sustained pace for 12 minutes, be able to stand still for 4 minutes, show good speed in shuttle runs. What are they training for?
  10. Also known for its international Film Festival that awards the Golden Shell, which European city boasts of the highest number of Michelin stars per capita of population in Europe? (It is second highest in the world after Kyoto, Japan.)
  11. In 1834, the British government paid out the modern equivalent of £17 billion in compensation, representing 40% of the total government expenditure that year. What was that compensation for? The ancestral families of ex-Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ben Affleck, George Orwell etc. were among those benefited.
  12. When this legendary athlete won his sixth consecutive (Ancient) Olympic title, his home city of Croton decided to knock down the city walls as proof that such a state needed no other protection. Name the hero after whom a modern children’s brand is named – especially ubiquitous across South-East Asia.
  13. Meaning “newcomer” in Russian, and first developed in secret by the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1980s, what is the name of the nerve agent recently  used in the attempted murder of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripalin the UK?
  14. If you travelled by train in China to Tibet on the Qingzang Railway, you would find this odd object under you seat. What is it there for? 
  15. As Supreme Allied Commander of the South East Asia theatre, he accepted the surrender of the last set of Japanese troops in Singapore, which technically ended World War II. To commemorate his role in the Japanese defeat, he, in a different capacity, later chose the date of Japan’s official surrender for another important event. Who, and what event did he choose the same date for?
  16. Which is India’s largest NGO with a voluntary membership count of more than 2.5 million? The Economist conjectures that it may even be the largest in the world. It also had a prominent role to play in the overthrow of Portuguese rule in Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
  17. In order to extend the association of one of their brands with a certain animal, this company has supported the efforts of the Dian Fossey Fund to help ensure the survival of this highly endangered species. Name the company and the brand – which might be resting in your pocket right now! 
  18. Swami Satchidananda, the founder of the Integral Yoga Institute in USA first came to public attention when he had to give a speech in front of a crowd of around 500,000 during an important event that started on Indian independence day in 1969. Where was the event held? 
  19. Which 15 minutes is this quotation about? “How much are those 15 minutes worth? For most of _____ it is part of an inbuilt elasticity when it comes to punctuality — the foundation of the old ‘______ Stretched Time’ joke. It is our grace period, a quarter of an hour that we tack onto to every appointment and still consider ourselves to be ‘on time.’ Even if we are, technically, 15 minutes late.”
  20. Who designed the plaque for the Sahitya Akademi Award to replace a heavy marble one? He also designed the cover for Nehru’s book ‘The Discovery of India’.


  1. Solitaire (on Windows)
  2. Queen Elizabeth II, who was visiting Kenya and staying at the Treetops Lodge (a resort built on the top of a fig tree) when she was informed of the death of King George VI.
  3. Their BMI (Body Mass Index)
  4. Chaghatai/ Jagatai, the language of the Chagatai Khanate. Ismat Chughtai gets her last name from it. 
  5. Greenpeace ad on how Palm Oil cultivation is destroying rainforests and orangutans.
  6. The RMS Titanic
  7. President’s Bodyguard 
  8. Cayman Islands with a population of 60,765 is the fifth largest banking centre in the world. 
  9. To be ball boys/girls at Wimbledon. 
  10. San Sebastian, Spain 
  11. Compensationto the 46,000 Britons who had to give up their slaves when slavery was abolished in 1833.
  12. Milo
  13. Novichok
  14. For oxygen. You might need it at high altitudes. 
  15. Lord Mountbatten. He chose 15th August (the date of Japan’s surrender in 1945) as the date for India’s independence.
  16. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)
  17. Corning for Gorilla Glass, commonly used in smartphone screens. Fossey worked with mountain gorillas in Rwanda for 19 years before being murdered due to her work. 
  18. Near Woodstock in the Catskills, northwest of New York. 
  19. About the Nepal Time Zone being 15 minutes ahead of India. 
  20. Satyajit Ray 

About the author

Anustup Datta

Anustup Datta lurks in Bangalore, consults for brands for a living, and quizzes to stay sane. Will happily travel to the ends of the world if there’s good food and/or single malt. Has a borderline pathological attachment to his Kindle.