A primer on premiers

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on October 01, 2021

Former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

India’s second prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904. This week’s quiz commemorating his birth anniversary is on prime ministers.

1. Which Indian region had its own Prime Minister till 1965, when the post was abolished and the title was amended to Chief Minister?

2. Which Indian PM led a campaign to skip one meal a week when the nation was being threatened by food shortages and also personally tilled the land in his official residence?

3. Who is the only Prime Minister of India who did not face a single session of Parliament?

4. In 1977, which Indian, later to become the Prime Minister, delivered the first ever speech in Hindi in the UN General Assembly in his capacity as the External Affairs Minister?

5. For 13 days, Gulzarilal Nanda was the acting Prime Minister of India after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964. Who took over as acting PM after the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent in January 1966?

6. While Morarji Desai resigned from the post of Prime Minister, three other PMs had to leave office after losing a vote of confidence. One of them was Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Who were the other two?

7. If H D Deve Gowda usually contested Lok Sabha elections from Hasan, and Jawaharlal Nehru is associated with Phulpur, which former Indian Prime Minister won eight parliamentary elections from Balia in Uttar Pradesh?

8. Which Indian PM and polyglot studied at Ferguson College in Pune and translated Hari Narayan Apte's Marathi novel Pan LakshatKonGheto (But Who Pays Attention?) into his native language?

9. Sri Lankan Vijita Rohana contested the 2000 General Elections in his country representing the Sihala Urumaya party. He later became an astrologer and in 2017 predicted the death of the then Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, an announcement for which he was arrested under suspicion. For which incident in the 1980s was he first jailed?

10. The oldest person to hold the office of Indian Prime Minister is also ironically the one who celebrated the least birthdays before becoming Prime Minister. Just name him.


1. Jammu & Kashmir, Ghulam Mohammed Sadiq was the last PM and the first CM of J & K

2. Lal Bahadur Shastri, ‘Shastri Vrat’ was usually observed on Monday evenings

3. Chaudhary Charan Singh, who held office between July 1979 and January 1980

4. Atal Bihari Vajpayee

5. Again, Gulzarilal Nanda. He is the only person to have held the office of Acting PM

6. HD Deve Gowda & I K Gujral who succeeded him to the position

7. Chandrashekhar

8. PV Narasimha Rao, he is believed to have spoken and understood 17 languages

9. Rohana was the Sri Lankan naval sailor who tried to assault Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi with a rifle butt when he was inspecting a parade in Sri Lanka

10. Morarji Desai, 81 when in office. He was born on 29th February 1896, and therefore celebrated just 20 birthdays before entering office in 1977


Joy Bhattacharjya

Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster; Twitter: @joybhattacharj

Published on October 01, 2021

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