Originally posted on “E for Entrepreneurship“.
Being an entrepreneur who runs a self-publishing platform I love Chetan Bhagat. Because when traditionalists come to us ranitng about “quality” that the traditional publishing brings to the table, I can raise my eyebrows and point them to the best-selling author of the day!!
Anyway! That is just to shut them up. Publishing Chetan Bhagats of the world is not the point of Pothi.com. In fact, it isn’t even suitable for those aspiring to be the next Chetan Bhagat. But Pothi.com is not the point of discussion here. So, I will skip dwelling further into that.
Nor is bashing Chetan Bhagat the point here. Yes, as a reader, I keep away from his books. Still apart from the reason mentioned in the first paragraph, there is another reason I adore him. The reason is that he has been able to create a product which is bought by 750,000 people in less than two months. Whatever be the quality of his writing from my point of view or from the literary purists’ point of view, if those many people were entertained by his book and wanted to buy it, they have all the rights to buy it, Chetan Bhagat has all the rights to publish it, nobody should scoff at them for that and he must be credited for his achievement. I give him that credit and I look up to his achievement as an entrepreneur. Because I would also like to be able to create a product like that.
The only thing I can not digest in Chetan Bhagat’s praise is that he has done the society some good by making all these non-reader teenagers read. I don’t think that counts. Why is the habit of reading considered good? Because it opens up a world of stored knowledge, wisdom and experiences for you. And even though the words knowledge and wisdom sound pedagogic, it does not mean the advantage of reading comes only from the academic books. It very well comes from reading good fiction and other kinds of books too. If the first book you read gets you started on reading a lot of other books, then only can it be credited for the mere fact that it got you to read. If you read that book and others like that, which probably are no more beneficial than the mass market movies you see, then getting you to read is not much of a service to the society really. You were entertained; that’s good. But that’s where its value ends. From anecdotal evidence and personal experience, it does not look like Chetan Bhagat’s readers graduate to other kinds of books with more substantial content. So, spare me the Saint and Social changer Chetan Bhagat. I am all praises for the entertainer Chetan Bhagat.