Whenever we talk about degrading English Literature or Author’s reputation in society, one topic suddenly becomes the hottest of all the others and that topic is, Chetan Bhagat. Every now and then, wherever, Indian Literature in English language will be discussed, someone will surely abuse Chetan Bhagat. Why? What’s his fault? Let’s discuss.
Let’s move to the period when Chetan Bhagat was doing his engineering. Remember some of the names of the Indian Authors (We’ll be only talking about Authors writing in English language). R.K. Narayan, Rabindranath Tagore, Vikram Seth and some more from the league. Some of the brilliant authors ruled The Indian Writing, at that time. Who were the readers? High class people, literature students or some ‘library bugs’. And then suddenly, Chetan Bhagat appears with his ‘not so good’, ‘not-a-literature kind of a book’, ‘should-be-thrown-out-of-the-window-immediately kind of a book’ that had a weird name as well, ‘5 point someone not to do in IIT’. Kind of a book that targets youth, youth that was busy in watching Cricket, or movies or anything but reading. Reading was not one of the ‘macho’ thing that a youth was supposed to do. Reading and that too out of the syllabus – not at all. But this ‘Chetan Bhagat’ forced them to read and eventually, people started to look for more. Those publishers who had already rejected Chetan Bhagat were now looking for some more Chetan’s around.
Indian writing, suddenly shifted from a ‘hardship stories of society’ to ‘funny witty love stories’. Chetan Bhagat started the trend, or can say that opened the gates widely and others started to follow. Many (Literally many, in comparison to the world before Chetan) became the voice of Youth. Readership increased to many folds. Now English reading was reaching to that places where no one can have ever imagined. Publishers increased, readers started to write and writers started to write more and soon everything flourished and when anything increases, the quality does get affected.
Every other book is about college romance. There was no Chetan Bhagat formula but people still followed blindly. Some does succeed but many failed. The failures follow a simple game; the blame game. Everyone needs someone to blame upon and here, Chetan became the soft target. He did bring the trend of college romance but people loved it and we should thank him for creating such a huge market for all of us but what we did was the complete opposite. We blamed him for the things, that he did for us. And here ‘us’ is referred to all the writers around. We would have never thought of becoming ‘writers’ if there was no Chetan Bhagat out there or we were of the clan of some elite authors of British era.
Whenever I hear someone saying that Chetan writes shit, a strong urge of arguing with the person ignites within me but then I have stopped arguing with fools. I am referring them fools because whenever Chetan’s new book will get announced, they will pre-order it and once they finish reading it, they’ll again say the same thing, ‘Chetan writes shit’ and I have just one thing to say to them, why don’t you try other Indian authors? And I can bet they can’t even recall 5 Indian authors of present time.