Chetan Bhagat is one guy people like to pull around for fun. And there is a reason for it; He does say things and gives opinions on things in a way to enable the same. The latest is his tweet on the Award return activity and the replies to it.
This was his tweet
Ok so am I also supposed to return my Sahitya Academy award? Oh wait. Haven’t got it yet.
There are two pieces to discuss here one is Chetan Bhagat the writer whom people like to both read and ridicule;
One of the responses to Chetan was Rajesh joshi’s comment that “Bhagat is an ordinary English writer. He is not Vikram Seth, and he is also not Salman Rushdie.”
In my opinion irrespective of he being a good or bad writer, Chetan has a right to joke and have his opinion on an issue. The argument against him that he is not a great writer like Vikram Seth or Salman Rushdie is ill placed at least in this case. It might be true… but his books are well read by a lot of people and extremely popular and I guess he makes many people feel that they too can write and be famous.
I read Chetan much later and after that on one of my visits to India I found so many books by many unknown writers that retell stories of friendship and college and young love etc…. I picked up a handful on my way back. I tried flipping through some of them and I should say many of them were utter boring to me… So Chetan’s writing is way above many in that genre
I have just read two of Chetan’s books ‘Five Point Someone’ and ‘Three Mistakes of my Life’. In fact I read three mistakes first. And I liked it… and then I read ‘Five Point Someone’ much later, even after I saw the three idiots movie.
On 3 idiots saying that the movie was just an inspired stuff and no need to give Chetan his credit is to me bullshit whatever be the contract he had with Aamir and the producers….. Yes it is not a screen adaptation of the book. But if the book was not there Aamir or anyone would not have created that from thin air or from Aamir’s perfectionist creative mind. I think he should have been given more due for the story. But then Chetan is a marketing guy, I read the book because of the controversy 🙂
Now for me Three mistakes and Five point looked very similar and may be that is why I did not read his next books. But saying Chetan is a bad writer by many (especially by some book lovers) I have felt is often to show people that your reading profile is way high and Chetan’s books are not intellectually, philosophically, creatively or linguistically challenging enough for you.
I am not a big reader of fiction as I would want to. But for me Chetan Bhagat has his space in the Indian English Literature and it is not at the bottom. Even if you compared him with Seth, Rushdie, Amitav, Tharoor, Roy and say he is not that good, think of it, he has inspired so many people to write, maybe not the best work of fiction but he has created an audience that has pushed him up in the list of Indian English Authors by people way happy to be rated under him or on par with him. There are many writers and readers who look upto him.
Now to the second point on what Chetan tweeted. I hate to say but why do I get a feeling that he is on the way to be the Abhijit Bhattacharya of the Literary world. While I say Chetan has a right to his opinion it is also true that he did that tweet as a writer, fully using his fame as a writer. It is also true that he started the tweet as a joke but his following tweets were filled with sarcasm and ridicule stating the people who returned the award was political and silly. He started it and so he should eat it up when he gets it.
He is part of that group who wishes to keep the image that he is not BJP but is a patriotic Indian and as a very balanced individual he looks at the world. The sad part is he does not clearly understand why the writers are doing what they are doing. he does not think even that there need be a protest at all.
He is probably just another guy saying “Oh this whole violence is just another issue, very bad, very sad, but the people who say this has anything to do with rising hindu fanaticism are being political, while what they should do is fight SP like the unbiased BJP folks do. They should not use this as a stick to fight against the Modi Government because that will be being unpatriotic”
Mr. Chetan Bhagat, I have liked your two books, I appreciate your skills for many things, your writing, your marketing, your ability to follow your dream. But here what matters is not these skills but the skills to see what the issue is and you do not need to do anything but if you decide to joke and ridicule when people do something then be ready to take what you get back. Saying it is personal attack etc… is childish.
Your first tweet was ok and a joke in my opinion, but you went on to defend in some tweets above which show you have a problem with the people returning of awards. Now by saying they have a political agenda are you saying you do not have one ? 🙂 Well good luck with that