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Quizzing through ages: Dr Navin Jayakumar's journey

Dr Navin, who has been quizzing for morethan 30 years, talks to DT Next about the quizzing scene in the city and also shares how technology has taken quiz to next level

Quizzing through ages: Dr Navin Jayakumars journey

Navin during a quizzing session

CHENNAI: With over three decades of experience in the quizzing industry, Dr Navin Jayakumar’s journey is a testament to the evolution of quizzing and its enduring appeal. From his early days as a quizmaster at Madras Medical College in 1980 to becoming an accomplished quizzer and mentor, Dr Navin has witnessed the transformation of quizzing in the digital age.

“Oddly, I started out as a quizmaster and then became a quizzer,” Dr Navin recalls, reminiscing about his early foray into quizzing. “A senior organising an Intercollegiate Quiz asked me to set questions, and presumably liking what he received, asked me to be the quizmaster as well.”

Over the years, quizzing has undergone significant changes, largely due to technological advancements and the proliferation of the Internet. “With the advent of technology, questions have moved from handwritten cards to being displayed on screens. Visual clues, once cut from newspapers and magazines, are now high-quality images sourced from Google Images. Audios and videos have evolved from tapes to computer files embedded in presentation slides,” he tells DT Next.

The abundance of information available online has allowed quizzing to incorporate more engaging elements, moving beyond simple one-line questions. Now, questions are supported by interesting text and audio-visual clues, providing participants with the opportunity to work out answers through deduction, making the experience more fulfilling.

“The pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in quizzing, propelling it into the digital realm. Online quiz leagues like the popular Zephyr Quiz League and Fundaesliga (for solo quizzing) and the Asian Quizzing League (for teams) have emerged, attracting a new and younger demographic of quizzers. This format has opened up quizzing to a wider audience, including first-time quizzers, and has turned Indian quizzing into a powerhouse on the international stage,” Dr Navin states.

“As quizzers from Europe, other Asian countries, and the USA participate in these leagues, the exposure and learning opportunities have been invaluable,” he adds.

Dr. Navin, who is also an Ophthalmologist, believes that at its core, quizzing is a social activity, akin to a sport, played with bits of general knowledge and trivia. While there is always intense competition to win, the camaraderie and friendships forged through quizzing are just as significant.

As he gears up for the upcoming August 15 quiz, celebrating its 30th consecutive year in Chennai, Dr Navin reflects on the city’s rich quizzing tradition. Chennai has always been a society that values and supports knowledge-based activities, nurturing quizzing through organisations like the Quiz Foundation of India, which started in 1987.

“Quizzing on Independence Day has become a cherished tradition, and I’m delighted to continue this legacy with the Zifo OPEN QUIZ, in collaboration with Zifo - a Chennai-based scientific informatics company that fosters curiosity as a part of its culture,” he concludes

For those interested in participating in the quiz at The Music Academy on August 15, reach out to for more details.

Merin James
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