Monthly Archives: November 2014

Th Great Game

The Great Game-I

I planned to do this set of geopolitics quiz more than 2 years ago. But it went on to become a shining example of procrastination that has always plagued my life. Anyways, finally I have got it going.

I will make it a two part quiz. This part I.

Rules are simple. Mail your answers to

Deadline: 20th Nov. 11.30 pm.

I am in no position to give away any real prizes apart from my blessing and goodwill which are of no real use as per past experience.

The Great Games: Set I

1. This a political cartoon from 1904 that depicts a certain important event. Identify the persons or personifications here. ID at least two for full marks. (5+5)


2. In canto 20 of Purgatorio, Dante hears talk of “the wretchedness of avaricious Midas, resulting from his ravenous request, the consequence that always makes men laugh,” clarifying a few lines later: and finally, what we cry here is: “X, tell us, because you know: “How does gold taste?” Now tell me who is X and explain why it is asked. Also name the very well-known cavalry tactic that led to X’s morbid fate. (5+5)

3. These are the ruins of a medieval city. It had a meteoric rise and for a short duration became the centre of Eurasian politics. But the next generations of the royalty abandoned it soon and the city eventually got deserted by the 16th century. Its name is somewhat similar to a mountain range but you must not confuse both. (10)


4. The official name of this city means spring of the Arabs but the local inhabitants are not very fond of it as they belong to a different ethnicity. However the city was founded only in the early 20th century and the popular name seemed to have derived from the German companies working there. ID this brave city much in news nowadays. (10)

5. This painting depicts an important event during a major 19th century war. A major literary figure was also present there, fighting for the losing side. But the experience gave him material for his future masterpieces. ID the event and name the author. (10)


6. This is a caricature drawn at the height of Scramble for Africa. Such was his clout that he used have a country named after him although it is no longer the case. ID. (10)


7. According to some accounts, when he was finally killed in a battle, his enemies dipped his severed head in blood in order to mock his bloodlust. But some other people had a much better opinion about him. For example, the Jews respect him as he rehabilitated them after they were exiled by the Babylonians. Who? (10)

8. For a long time, these islands used to be the only source for two commodities and this attracted the attention of several colonial forces. Both the commodities in question were derived from the same tree. ID the island and name the commodities. (10)


9. An easy google friendly one… The term was first used by Joseph Goebbels, in a manifesto he published in the German newspaper Das Reich in February 1945, but was popularized by Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech of March 5, 1946. What term? (10)

10. Something has been blanked out in this panel that displays excellent attention to detail by Herge. Basically the item in the sack is considered extremely valuable in that particular region and it had led to several wars between regional as well as global powers in an effort to control the supply of that item. ID this item. (10)


Result and answers update:


1. A German cartoon on the Entente Cordiale, with John Bull (symbolizing Eng) walking off with Marianne (Symbolizing France), turning their back on the Kaiser.

2. X – Marcus Crassus. The cavalry tactic being Parthian shot. The line meant the story surrounding his death that the Parthians poured molten gold in his mouth to symbolize his greed for gold.

3. Karakorum, the Mongol bastion not to be confused with Karakoram mountains.

4. Kobani or Kobane which is under siege by ISIS right now but fighting well.

5. Leo Tolstoy and Siege of Sevastopol

6. Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)

7. Cyrus the Great of Persia

8. Banda Islands. Nutmeg and Mace.

9. Iron Curtain

10. Guano, valuable bird droppings referenced in Prisoners of the Sun


It was a box office failure in terms of participation. There were some 0 scores that I will not mention. Here are the ones with positive scores…

Amrit Pritom Chetia 10
Sukanya Lenhardt 9
Kapinjal Sharma 7
Bhaskar Chakraborty 3