History & Culture

Quiz: on Parliament and its procedures

This dancer was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1993. Who is she?

This dancer was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1993. Who is she?  

It’s here that the President can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social service

1. On May 13, 1952, the upper house of the Parliament of India — the Rajya Sabha — had its first session. The chairperson is ex-officio (by right of office), someone who holds a particular post in the Government of India. Who was the first chairperson in 1952 and what was the post he was otherwise holding?

2. This particular phenomenon has taken place only thrice in Indian history. In 1961 (for the Dowry Prohibition Act), in 1978 (Banking Services Commission [Repeal] Act) and in 2002 (Prevention of Terrorism Act). These special occasions are provided under Article 108 and are convened by the President of India. What is special about these sessions?

3. Seats are allotted in the Rajya Sabha on the basis of one member for each million for the first five million of a state’s population and thereafter only one seat for every additional two million. This ensures that smaller states have a slight advantage over more populous states. Of the total 245 seats, the three highest are 31, 19 and 18. Which are these three states?

4. Most of the members of the House are indirectly elected by state and territorial legislatures, while the President appoints 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social service. Currently, there are nine nominated members. One of them was appointed in 2016, went on to win gold at the 2017 Asian Women’s Championships and at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, giving her the unique distinction of being a gold medallist-sitting MP. Who is the intrepid sportsperson?

5. This person was a noted poet of the Nayi Kavita literary movement (romantic upsurge) of the early 20th century Hindi literature. His work, Madhushala, is celebrated for its Sufi incantations and philosophical undertones. He also translated Macbeth and Othello into Hindi. He obtained his doctorate in English Literature for his studies about Irish poet W.B. Yeats. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1966 and was awarded the Sahitya Akademi in 1969. His poems have been turned into songs in many movies, notably those starring his son. Who is this poet MP?

6. This lawyer and diplomat wrote about his experience during the 1947 Partition of India in a best-selling book Train to Pakistan. While working at Unesco in Paris he wrote articles with a sense of humour and sarcasm, comparing social and behaviour characteristics of Westerners and Indians. Supposedly responsible for the popularity of the Santa Singh and Banta Singh jokes and nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1980, who is this highly productive author MP?

7. This lady made her acting debut in a Tamil film in 1949. Her prowess in Bharatanatyam changed the standard and style of dancing in Indian cinema. She went on to become a Bollywood star and became the first person to refuse a Filmfare award, saying that she did not think of her role in Devdas as a ‘supporting role’ but was as important as the other female lead. In 1985 she won a seat in the Lok Sabha. In 1993 she was then nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Who is this MP?

8. This lawyer was also a comedian and a political satirist who was persuaded to enter the film world by Sivaji Ganesan. He was instrumental in Jayalalithaa entering politics. He founded a Tamil Magazine Thuglak, which criticised all political parties without bias. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1999 and was eventually awarded the Padma Bhushan. Who was this MP who was renowned for his comedic timing and wit?

9. This wrestler was the first sportsman to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2003. He won the 1954 Rustam-e-Hind (Champion of India) tournament and the World Championship in 1968. In April 2018, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame along with Goldberg, The Dudley Boyz and Jeff Jarrett amongst others. Who was this sportsperson who was loved for his role of Hanuman in the TV adaptation of Ramayana in the late 1980s?

10. There is a particular vote which states that ‘a person(s) in a position of responsibility is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel are detrimental’. Unlike the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha cannot bring this motion nor can it vote on it. What motion is this?


1. S. Radhakrishnan, the Vice-President of India

2. Combined sitting of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha

3. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu

4. Mary Kom

5. Harivansh Rai Bachchan

6. Khushwant Singh

7. Vyjayanthimala

8. Cho Ramaswamy

9. Dara Singh

10. No-confidence Motion

A molecular biologist from Madurai, our quizmaster enjoys trivia and music, and is working on a rock ballad called ‘Coffee is a Drink, Kaapi is an Emotion’. @bertyashley

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 4:34:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/easy-like-sunday-morning/article23879645.ece

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