Sunday, 5th April, 2020


Letter from Chetan Bhagat

05, Jul 2013 By Pagal Patrakar

Dear caretakers of Indian literature (includes snooty publishers, journalist turned authors, thesaurus enthusiasts, critics, British Library members and generally anybody these days),

You are probably wondering who I am. After all, I don’t have a name like Chetan Bhagat, anything that will clearly establish me as the best-selling Indian author. You forget, this writer also writes fiction. So perhaps I, or what I say here, is nothing but a fabrication (like most of my fake news reports on Faking News). However, maybe there’s something useful in there for all you well-wishers.

Chetan Bhagat
Chetan Bhagat speaks for himself, NOT.

Everyone seems to care for literature, but no one actually wants to read literature, particularly the youth. Have you seen Rahul Gandhi reading Salman Rushdie even though they share the same birthday?

I keep hearing writers promising to provide quality literature. I don’t know how they plan to do it, without inspiring the youth to buy the crap they write. But then, I am a nobody, what do I know?

I see them wear designer kurtas and tweet in Queen’s English, perhaps to show us that they really are classy. However, an impeccable grammar can’t change anybody’s life. Selling books might. At least it can change the life of the writer. Look at me. And you can look at my bank balance too.

It is not like India has a shortage of English writers. These writers have sold books without knowing what postmodernism is or whether James Joyce was a sidekick of James Bond. They had a story to tell, and they had an audience who wanted to hear such stories.

What makes you think a writer must use obscure idioms, foreign phrases, metaphors that only his aunt can understand and expect to be heard? Who am I? A brand ambassador of Wren & Martin? No, I’m the brand ambassador of

You know what hurts? I can’t tell you directly and loudly that you all are losers.

I cannot tell you the frustration I feel. It is bad enough that I write pedestrian opinion pieces, but what is truly sick is this: you guys claim to answer those pedestrian pieces with even more pedestrian ones.

Because of you, people feel that I’m a total nutcase. You, the vanguards of literature and discourse, have led people to think that writing is all about conforming to some accepted norms. You call yourself liberal, but do you realize how conservative that is? Don’t hide your sins behind your fake caring for the narrative.

Maybe I am being too harsh, and some of you are indeed well intentioned. But realize the consequences every time you slot me as stupid. There is more to me than that.

If you truly want to help, there is one area where you could: stop caring about me.

Chetan Bhagat has stopped caring. It is time you do too.

(Last week, Chetan Bhagat wrote a letter assuming himself to be an Indian Muslim youth, and he received a lot of flak from certain quarters. This is Pagal Patrkar assuming himself as Chetan Bhagat.)