An embarrassing silence has recently enveloped the Indian media regarding an act of plagiarism, probably because it’s not been committed by another journalist but by one of our most powerful media moguls, Aroon Purie. In his letter that opens the magazine India Today (but only for the Southern editions), he wrote about Rajnikanth a fortnight ago. One of the memorable lines went: “If a tiger had sex with a tornado and then their tiger-nado baby got married to an earthquake, their offspring would be Rajinikanth (sic)”. Unfortunately, this line had already been written by Grady Hendrix and published on the American website Slate. Going by the blogs, what has irritated readers more was his “apology” in the subsequent issue which seemed more like a slap in the face, and in which he blamed the plagiarism on jet-lag. Friends who have worked for Purie say he is one of the sharpest media proprietors in India; if he forsakes humility in his attempt to put the matter behind him, then that’s his business. The real issue is that of rampant plagiarism in India and how it continues to erode the already low credibility of Indian journalism in the public eye.
I think Sinha is wrong to exonerate Purie somewhat, on the grounds that someone else committed the actual plagiarism. If Purie signed under the 'letter', he is responsible.
At any rate, other bloggers, including Niranjana - whose work has also been plagiarised by IT - have blogged about this, and in this case they've been noticed by India Today's Corporate Communications, whose generic comment has been reproduced on every website that noticed the plagiarism.
Grady Hendrix, whose article was plagiarised, has been pretty gracious about Purie's 'apology'. Some people's comments, on the other hand, have mostly taken exception to his understanding of Indian English. As if that was the point. Bah.
But it's good to see a mainstream newspaper take on the issue and contextualise it. Aditya Sinha FTW!