If Mood Changes, I Change My View: Chetan Bhagat on Politics

Chetan Bhagat denies a change in his political viewpoint since 2014, saying he’s objective about analysing politics.

5 min read

On the occasion of his brand new association with Amazon Publishing Worldwide and Westland, Chetan Bhagat speaks about his new deal, moving on from Rupa Publishing, his evolution as a writer, the change in his political views and his opinion on the Kathua rape and murder case.


Chetan Bhagat’s Amazon Connection

Q: So, why are we here, Chetan?

I am here to announce my new deal with Westlandand Amazon. They are going to be my publishers from now on for 3 new fiction titles and 3 books which are going to be books of columns. It’s a new partnership. It’s a global deal, so my books will be at the Amazon Publishing platform worldwide and in India they are going to come out through Westland. The first book comes out in Diwali 2018, so that’s why I am here.

Chetan Moves On From Rupa

Q: Chetan, you were with the Rupa Publishing for the longest time, what made you make the move?

CB: Rupa is still going to publish my previous books. It’s not like the relationship with Rupa is over. They have all my previous 7 novels and 2 non-fictions. They also published some of my Hindi books. I have a lot of readership, but I want to grow in two directions: one is globally, so all over the world, which Amazon publishing is a global platform, I get that. And Amazon is a big retailer in India, which goes to tier two, tier three, tier four cities. So, you know, things like that.


Big Bucks for Bhagat?

Q: According to Industry sources, it seems that you’ve received the highest signing amount that any Indian fiction writer has ever received. Would you like to comment on that?

CB: Well, if that’s what they are saying, that’s great ya! I mean it’s good, I am very lucky. There is no doubt, that in a profession which is not known for being well paid, I have been very lucky with my compensation. And ya, they have been generous.

Q: Have they been generous?

CB: Ya, I think so. I should be grateful for whatever I’ve got. I was working in a bank and I remember when I quit my banking job for writing, I never thought I’ll make a significant amount of money again… because I just decided to live my passion. But, I have been very lucky, like I said, that that’s taken care of.


Chetan Bhagat’s Evolution

Q: You’ve been writing for 15 years now. How do you see yourself evolving as a writer every day?

CB: The writing is more effortless, when you read my books now vs my first book. It’s better edited. I get a lot of criticism too, so one thing I do is I work on that criticism. So, with every book we try to improve. I have a set of 7 to 8 editors who work on every book. Each of them reads the book 2-3 times. So, we’ve had a lot of scrutiny that goes in. When you pick up a Chetan Bhagat book, you can be assured that it’s a good book.


A Changing Chetan?

Q: When one follows your tweets since 2014, it seems like there is a mark change in your political views, maybe your political favourites, if I put it that way. It seems like there is some amount of disillusionment...

CB: That’s only your article. That’s The Quint’s own theory. That’s not exactly true. I don’t... I analyse politics. I am not in a relationship with politicians. I am not having favourites or that I love someone or I don’t love someone. I analyse, and I correctly predicted, well before Prime Minister came to power.

I am very flattered that The Quint went through all my columns and analysed, that journalist went through it. But to selectively pick lines and forward your theories is also not right. In 2014, there was a different mood in the country, now there is a different mood in the country. I am analysing that mood. That mood changes, I’ll change my view. It’s not like I play favourites. I wouldn’t be doing my job properly or I won’t have the kind of credibility and reach if I was not objective.

In 2011-12, I predicted that it’s going to be PM Modi who is our next Prime Minister. And now I’m saying that, they have to be careful to get re-elected. It’s still possible, but it is going to be a challenge. But doesn’t mean I’ve shifted sides or I was playing favourites then. It just means, I am assessing the political situation in the country.
Chetan Bhagat, Author

The Problem With #BetiBachao

Q: Speaking of the mood in the country, currently and speaking of the Kathua Rape case, you have very well pointed out the#BetiBachao slogan and how women should be seen as citizens and not just daughters or say mothers and sisters. So, would you like to better articulate that same thought and maybe tell our viewers about it?

CB: I mean, just respect women, as simple as that. Auraton ki izzat karo... doesn’t need a very super creative slogan. Women’s rights are at the forefront or amongst the top discussed issues in the country and there is tons of work to be done. A lot of people are working towards it, but ultimately it comes down to women getting together and saying this is the list of things we want. And we will have to give it to them, because they have the right to feel safe.

I think #BetiBachao came from female foeticide, where you are literally aborting daughters, so it may be applicable there. But what has happened is, #BetiBachao has been appropriated and seen as ‘the’ slogan to the empower women in the country. But I find there is inherently a certain thing there which is not correct. That girls are someone’s betis only, because girls are citizens. So, I think it’s become very big now.
Chetan Bhagat, Author 

What Can We Expect Next From Chetan Bhagat?

Q: Last thing Chetan, tell us something that we should look forward to in your next book? A little sneak peek?

CB: All I can say is, it’s a different genre. It’s different from what I have done before. I like to surprise. Surprise is part of the package when you pick up a Chetan Bhagat book. So, I will talk about it in August. All I can say is, 1st October, the book comes out but may be the pre-orders open sometime in August, so that’s when I will reveal all.

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Topics:  Chetan Bhagat   kathua rape 

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