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Govt plans to provide one free Chetan Bhagat book to every family to raise literacy rates

Along with mobile phones to every poor family, the government will also distribute free Chetan Bhagat novels

The government will soon distribute one Chetan Bhagat novel free-of-cost to every family, in a desperate bid to increase literacy rates in India. The Rs-1200-crore scheme will help the bestselling author reach all towns and villages of the country. Following the news leak, the Opposition has attacked the government, with a BJP spokesperson saying, “The cause is noble, but the method is not. When the illiterate and the uninnovative couples read Chetan Bhagat books, the nation faces potential danger of population explosion.”

The government believes that this scheme may actually work, mainly because a survey indicates that it is because of Chetan Bhagat’s novels, that most engineering students today think they are well-versed in English [and hence, are able to write “English (US) and English (UK)” in their Facebook languages list]. The announcement is likely to be made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this August 15. Yesterday, we heard that he will announce a scheme of distributing free mobile phones to poor families.

The Chetan Bhagat scheme (“Education 2020 Yojana”) is expected to give basic English education to readers who have been unable to move beyond the English alphabet and some basic words. A PMO insider said that other books like English for Nursery Kids, Learn English in 30 Days, and Rapidex English Tutor were also considered, before they settled down with Chetan Bhagat’s novels. Apparently, the thing that worked in Bhagat’s favour was that his books would look more interesting to the readers. “The reader will have IIT dreams from a very early stage, and this will help us create engineers out of even just-literate people,” or so we got to know.

These books will be distributed for free to every family in India.

Many Gram Panchayats have shown interest in this scheme. We asked the Sarpanch of the Hindi-speaking village of Ka-Kha-Ga, about what he knows about Chetan Bhagat. The Sarpanch gave a very intelligent example of his sense of humour when he identified Bhagat as an “adwitiya angrezi upanyaaskaar” (unparalleled English novelist). He said in Hindi, “I have heard that he has made urban students more English-literate, so he will be able to help us as well.”

There were cynical views as well. An English professor from Delhi University asked, “What after people have mastered all the 370 words used repetitively in the CB novels?—each word being of length up to but not exceeding 5 letters! Is that level of education sufficient to, say, compose a 140-character-pun on Twitter? If not, what is the use of such education?”

Rumours are that this was one of the genius plans of our very own HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal, after his earlier equally out-of-the-box escapades with 2G loss and Aakash tablet. “I decided that illiteracy in India is because of just one reason—lack of a good reading reference book. Chetan Bhagat’s books are ideal. They are simple enough for anyone with the knowledge of 26 letters of English, and are complex enough to enable anyone to start speaking fluent English.”

Obviously the fact that the uneducated can’t read, has not featured anywhere in these grandiose plans to remove illiteracy. With as much forethought to every action/scheme as swatting an irritating fly, the Indian Government looks to be taking the correct route to long-term prosperity and advancement in all fields and every strata of the society. Obviously, their meaning of long-term (read “forever”) is supplied out of the HRD minister’s favourite dictionary.

Meanwhile, the author himself remains silent while close to a billion copies of his books are about to be circulated. It has been heard that as it is for a national cause, his royalties have been halved. A spokesperson for Mr. Bhagat was heard saying, “He (Bhagat) does not respect people who don’t respect literature.”

About the author

Tanay Sukumar

I founded this website in 2009. I served as Editor-in-Chief from November 2009 to May 2013.
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About the author

Bijender Sheoran

I am a 23 years old Mechanical Engineer from IIT Kanpur, currently working in Noida. I like to try my hand at a diverse range of things and my interest keeps changing from time to time. I have been a part of IITK's cultural festival (Antaragni) and technical festival (Techkriti) while in college. A big movie buff and loves watching TV serials, Lost and Hustle are my favorite, reads anything and everything and getting addicted to Facebook and twitter.

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  • Govt can select any other good english book to increase literacy in India, why Chetan Bhagat’s novels only…

  • Hi,
    Times magazine blue eyed boy , and multinational corporate mouthpiece Chetan bhagat has been afforded an unprecedented marketing blitzkrieg, never seen before in india, for his book “ what young Indians want”.
    He is John Galt’s ( of Ayn Rand fame ) and Walmart’s man rolled into one.
    Punch into google search PERCEPTION AND RELATIVITY- VADAKAYIL, to check out a direct question to GURU chetan.
    Capt ajit vadakayil

  • some donkeys have just learned reading and writing skills through a Govt.aided NGO under the compulsary Literacy scheme (ofcourse under free meals) are grateful to the UPA (Ulta Pulta Administration) for providing free free reference books pertaining to Cricket India,Bollywood and How to enter Indian politics

  • I think the critics are being way too harsh on Chetan Bhagat. To start with I don’t recall the man ever proclaimed his works to be work of art or literature. He clearly says, and indeed has capitalized upon the fact that his books are focused on the mass.I mean Happy Potter sold millions of copies and that was no less drama than CB novels. Just that it was in a foreign setting. Let’s face it, not everyone loves Arvind Adiga and his White Tiger. The basic reason that the man’s book’s sold in the first place was that it was fresh and simple to read.

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