July 17, 2010

Flotsam and jetsam

Just sent this letter to Crest, the weekend Times of India newsmagazine. It's self-explanatory.


Dear Crest,

Believe me, like every writer out there, I am delighted when I find that other writers have found my work good enough to use in their own writing.

Only, it would be nice if they acknowledge what they use.

I refer to Kartikeya Tripathi's To match a THIEF in your current issue of CREST. I actually was heartened by the article.

But Tripathi starts with a reference to George MacMunn and his book The Underworld of India, and includes quotes from him. Tripathi calls the book a "treatise", he mentions MacMunn's trysts with "ladies of flimsy virtue", he says the book "dismissed Pardhis, Ramoshis, Vanjaris and Chantichors ('bundle stealers') as 'absolutely the scum, the flotsam and jetsam of Indian life, of no more regard than the beasts of the field'". Later, Tripathi mentions that the British concluded that "just as there were hereditary carpenters and weavers, there must also be hereditary criminals."

All of this -- the use of "treatise", the "bundle stealers" in parentheses, the "flotsam and jetsam" quote, the mention of carpenters and weavers and "hereditary criminals, the mention of MacMunn and his book, all -- looked familiar indeed. That's because it is taken from chapter 1 of my 2001 Penguin book, Branded by Law.

The same material was also in an article I did ("Declared Criminal at Birth") in Manushi, issue 123 of March-April 2001 (see Manushi's archives here. See the article itself, with the bits that Tripathi used, here.)

As I said, I am delighted that Tripathi found my material worth using in his work. It would have been nice of him to acknowledge that he found it in my work, exactly as I acknowledge MacMunn himself.

I would be grateful if you would print a note to this effect in the next issue of Crest.

All good wishes.


Anonymous said...

Yes -- next thing you know Kartikeya Tripathi will double his stakes and write about Opal Mehta. Kaavya Vishwanathan will not be able to protest like d^3 can. DDD don't you think with Mr. Tripathi you are attracting the wrong kind of attention?

Girish Shahane said...

Speaking of thieves...