By Pooja Negi:
Anyone in India who likes reading and visits libraries frequently would have noticed that the shelves labelled “Indian Writing” are getting filled with new books with each day. This is because the number of Indian writers getting published is gradually increasing along with the new-age readers.
Take our very own Chetan Bhagat, the bestselling author of Five Point Someone, One Night at the Call Centre, Three Mistakes of My Life, 2 States, and the more-recent Revolution 2020. He has 27,000 followers on Twitter, the micro-blogging site and lakhs of readers from all around the world. In 2008, The New York Times called Chetan Bhagat “the best selling English novelist in India’s history”. Then what about our very own Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, etc.? He is seen more as a youth icon than as an author. Every year, he spends lakhs on his marketing strategy to keep his books alive in the Indian market, and earns more by attending seminars and workshops in various Universities. And till the time you are finished with reading ‘The Bhagat books’, you have your very own IITians trying their hands at writing. A funny phenomenon, indeed, and the strange thing is that many of them even got published by many publishing houses.
It is a very well accepted fact that a layman will prefer a Chetan Bhagat over an Amitav Ghosh. But one thing which has also changed is the audience. The youth today wants books with which they can relate their own boring life and most of Bhagat’s books are based on life in college or life as working professional and they become a hit with the audience, as most of them are able to identify themselves with the writer’s ideas. The main target people are the ones who are not very well conversed with English as a language, (so, who cares about editing?) and are more likely to grab a book just to show their intellect (you can see almost everyone in the Delhi Metro with The Bhagat book in their hand, can’t you?).
Motivated and inspired by our very own Chetan Bhagat, many Indians are on their way of becoming full fledges writers. It wouldn’t have been possible if this man had not showed them that Story, and not Language sells in this country. In the end, I would conclude by saying that no matter how much we criticize him, we can’t ignore this man who has converted lakhs of non-readers into readers and inspired a lot more to turn into writers.