Author accuses Chetan Bhagat of plagiarism

Author accuses Chetan Bhagat of plagiarism

City-based author Anvita Bajpai has accused author Chetan Bhagat of plagiarising parts of her book ‘Life, Odds and Ends,’ in his bestselling book ‘One Indian Girl’. Bhagat, however, has denied the charges.

Anvita, an IIT and IIM graduate, had published a collection of short stories in a book titled ‘Life, Odds and Ends’ in 2014. In February 2017, Anvita filed a lawsuit in a city court, claiming ‘One Indian Girl’ is an intelligent copy of the story ‘Drawing Parallels’ from her book. The court recently granted temporary injunction, restraining the sales of Bhagat’s book.

Anvita took to social media claiming “characters, places and emotional flow” of Bhagat’s book have been lifted from ‘Life, Odds and Ends,’ a copy of which she had gifted to the author during Bengaluru Literature Festival, 2014.

Her book chronicles the life of a woman who is a feminist, non-conventional and adventurously deviant in the matters of relationships. She finds solace in her third relationship by finding a balance for her family and aspirations.

“I had filed an original suit seeking permanent injunction, restraining Bhagat and the publisher from selling ‘One Indian Girl’ and also sought damages of Rs 1 lakh. The court has granted temporary injunction,” Anvita said in her Facebook post.

“I don’t read fiction, it was only when one of my friends shared a review of Bhagat’s book did I realise that a lot of scenes in the book are an exact replica of my story. I then immediately bought a copy of his book to read. The story flow was an exact replica of my book. The sheer theme of the story is copied from mine. The parts related to the profile of the protagonist, extra-marital relationships, her struggles and self-contemplation are an exact copy of my book,” Bajpai said.

“While in my story, the protagonist is a married woman from Kolkata, in his book, it is a single woman from Punjab. The places and people have been changed to make it look original. In fact, in some parts of the story, even names are similar,” said Anvita. “My book was published in January 2014, while his book came out in October 2016. This itself shows he plagiarised a great deal of my book,” said Anvita.

But Bhagat even denies meeting her. On Sunday, he said his book ‘One Indian Girl’ is a completely different story and is no way connects to Anvita’s book.

“This is deeply unfortunate. This is for one an absolute surprise for me as I have never read any of this author’s works. My stories are always original — including ‘One Indian Girl’ — and it is unthinkable for me to do anything like what is suggested,” he said.

“Surely, alleging anything like this in the current digital age is strange. I write universal stories about everyday issues. This could be a misunderstanding and I’m sure, will be clarified as what is being suggested is baseless. My publisher’s legal team will take appropriate steps,” he added.

Rupa Publications, which had published the book six months ago, refused to comment on the issue. ‘One Indian Girl’ is Bhagat’s seventh novel and is about an investment banker, Radhika Mehta, who is stuck with making a choice between the three men in her life, while trying to keep a distinctly different image for the sake of her family.

His novel ‘Five Point Someone’ has been included in the English literature curriculum for undergraduate students in Delhi University.

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