CBSE Heritage India Quiz Revels in the Resilience of Springdale Amritsar

Beginning this century, there is no celebration of India’s culture that is as consistent as it is cherished, as enriching as it is enlightening, and as sought after as it is satisfying as the CBSE Heritage India Quiz. Over the years, with its high standards, the quiz has carved a niche in the hearts and minds of schools across India who spend considerable time and resources preparing their students for it to bring laurels to the school.

Considering the increased response that the quiz welcomed last year and the requests in the build-up to the finalizing of the schedule this year, the regional rounds expanded to 20 from 16 last year. This expansion meant that the number of teams accommodated in each semifinal had to be bumped from 4 to 5 in the national semifinals, adding another (unhelpful :/ ) dimension to the trilemma of maximizing for organizers, participants, and viewers, which I wrote about last year.

But what I didn’t write about last year was the regional rounds. So, this year I’ll do some lip service to the regional rounds by expressing my gratitude to all the quizmasters of the regional rounds who pulled off the events in their respective styles offering participants a diverse Heritage Quiz experience. In alphabetical order – Akshay, Aryapriya, Bhushan, Fahad, Medhavi, Snehaj, Somnath.

The quiz retained the structure from last year on the back of the positive feedback it received. If not, feedback is welcome 🙂 . From the online preliminary round, the top 30 teams from each region qualified for the regional finals. There were 20 regional finals consisting of a written preliminary round to shortlist 6 teams for the regional final. The winner of the regional final then qualified for the national semifinal.

So, it is these multiple hoops that the teams had to go negotiate to get to televised rounds on HistoryTV18.

Here’s a short review for each of the semifinals and then the final.

Semifinal 1

The season opener had a couple of teams with prior experience of being in the semifinal. Unfortunately, though, it started on a rather flat note as neither one of the five teams took initiative. That changed in round 2 thankfully, when Sant Atulanand accumulated as many as 45 points from the 75 points on offer. And that onslaught was more than enough for them to sail through but they still had a bit more gas left in them as right at the end they punched one more answer against their name to leave DPS Patna well behind in 2nd place.

Sidenote – With due respect to all teams, it wasn’t a surprise when Sant Atulanand powered through since they qualified from arguably the toughest region that has produced national champions in 4 out of the last 7 seasons!

Semifinal 2

The fact that the CBSE Heritage India Quiz is consistent in its being means that one tends to see the same schools turning up year after year even as their representative students keep changing. In the second semifinal, out of the 5 teams we had 4 teams from previous editions qualifying again. The quiz began with Springdale Amritsar, who keeps coming back year after year, leading the pack and DAV Gurugram following them closely. In the 2nd round, almost all teams had something to offer with Amritsar and Gurugram continuing to maintain their lead. But the real drama was when DPS Ruby Park Kolkata swung into action early on in the 3rd round eclipsing DAV to put themselves hot on the heels of Springdale. And so, when DPS gave the penultimate answer Springdale had no choice but to crack the last answer to prevail despite the late late resurgence of DPS. And when Springdale did indeed answer that last question under serious pressure from DPS, the outpouring of emotions released with it the baggage of the umpteen unsuccessful attempts at the semifinal hurdle by Springdalians of the past.  

Sidenote – Amongst the 4 repeat qualifiers, 2 were here last year as well. And the other 2 had previously qualified a decade ago!

Sidenote 2 – I had a really tough time maintaining composure when DPS Kolkata hit the buzzer on a question with Kolkata as the answer. 5 points to me on that one 😛

Semifinal 3

In round 1 there was nothing to choose between the teams as all but one team had the same score. It was with the buzzer action in round 2 that some clarity emerged as to which way this quiz is headed. Centre Point from Nagpur and DPS Vasant Kunj Delhi marginally pulled ahead. After the first leg of the 3rd round, Delhi and Nagpur switched places albeit with the same 5-point margin. Unfortunately, in hindsight, it was a fairly difficult set of questions, which translated into a low-scoring encounter that promised much but offered little both at the event in the studio and to write about here *shrug*

Semifinal 4

The quiz began with Jawaharlal Nehru School Bhopal going off early from the blocks but in round 2 they lost their way collecting a couple of negatives as repeat semifinalists from last year DPS Indirapuram went up to second place and repeat semifinalists from a decade ago Pinewood Saharanpur climbed to the top. After the first leg in the third round, the fact that both Saharanpur and Indirapuram gave their answers meant they progressed to the final leg as others couldn’t catch up. In the final leg, Indirapuram gave a fine answer to keep Saharanpur on tenterhooks. But Saharanpur was up to the task as they didn’t buckle under pressure and recalled the good ol’ days of Doordarshan of the 90s to complete the full set qualifiers in the national final.

National Final

Last year, the quiz saw teams from the south doing exceedingly well. And this fact did not go unnoticed by the participants. Before we began filming for the final, Springdale reminded us of a comment on YouTube singing praises of teams from the south. And this year, taking that comment personally, all the teams in the final came from the north – Saharanpur, Delhi, Varanasi and Amritsar. The final started on a very different note than the semis as Springdale Amritsar became the only team across all episodes to get all the answers correct in the first round. Some distance away was Sant Atulanand Varanasi. Amristar, piled on more pressure on others as they doubled on the very first question of the second round. But then Pinewood Saharanpur and Sant Atulanand made their intentions clear – they weren’t there to just collect participation certificates. DPS Vasant Kanj unfortunately couldn’t offer much in the final so they were the first to exit the game. Playing catch-up throughout the quiz, both Varanasi and Saharanpur, could never really claw their way back into the game and finished second and third respectfully and respectively. Springdale Senior School Amritsar powerplayed at the start, held the fort in the middle, and slogged at the end, leaving very little for anybody else. They’ve been exceptional as they’ve qualified every year with unparalleled consistency. However, they were hurting from faltering repeatedly at the semifinal hurdle. But with the 2023 title, one has to salute the indomitable spirit of Springdale. As Gursidak, Raghuvansh and Nitya lifted the coveted Heritage India Quiz trophy, Springdale Senior School became the first school from Punjab to etch their name in the champions list, a list every school in India aspires for and this trio achieved.

Until next time..