Given the state of affairs right now -- writers, artists, historians, scientists and filmmakers rising in protest against intolerance and curbs on free speech -- it was probably not entirely wise of writer Chetan Bhagat to tweet what he did on Friday.
But given Bhagat's outspokenness on Twitter and his love-hate relationship with its users, it's not surprising that trolls pounced at the chance of mocking the bestselling author often credited with bringing texting tweens back to books with simple narratives.
This is what Bhagat tweeted. He later clarified it was a joke (we can safely assume that Bhagat knows what historians do.)
What do historians do? I am genuinely curious. This happened. Then this happened. Then this. Ok work done for the day.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 30, 2015
But affronted Twitter users rushed to call out Bhagat for his own works and past tweets. Bhagat, the author of seven best-selling books, is one of the most-trolled celebrities on Twitter and often responds to abusers with good humour. The author who regularly plugs his columns on the platform is no stranger to controversies either.
He followed it up with a series of tweets defending actor Anupam Kher who had termed the luminaries returning their awards to the government as the "award wapsi gang" (award return gang), a spin on the phrase 'ghar wapsi', used to describe religious conversions by right wing groups.
Why are people going after @AnupamPkher ? He doesn't have a right to feel things and express them like you do?— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 30, 2015
Taking sides in a communal debate is wrong. It doesn't matter which side you pick, if you picked a side, you played into communal hands.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 30, 2015
He then decided to address the issue of moment.
Return your award. Go for it. But be clear what you are returning it for. Are Indians intolerant? Or is the govt intolerant?— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 30, 2015
And hit back at those ridiculing him.
In case it was not blatantly obvious that historian tweet was a joke. Made a million of them on writers and engineers before. Duh!— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 30, 2015
Tch tch. A few tweets of mine and the tolerants get so intolerant on me. Cute.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 30, 2015
But by then Twitter users were having too much fun to stop.
.@chetan_bhagat what do IIT-IIM grads. do? I'm curious. Write tharki love stories. Then, judge Nach Baliye. Ok work done for the day.— Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) October 30, 2015
No no. That's what novelists do. https://t.co/J2zCSYbMkA— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) October 30, 2015
@chetan_bhagat What do authors do? I am genuinely curious. Judge one talent show, then judge one dance show. Ok work done for the day.— Akshar (@AksharPathak) October 30, 2015
@chetan_bhagat What do writers do? I am genuinely curious. Adha-Paav girlfriend, then full girlfriend. Ok work done for the day.— Zeeshan Mhaskar (@MhaskarChief) October 30, 2015
.@chetan_bhagat like you..
Same story, change char names, improvise seductive and sex scene, change title and publish !— Babu Bhaiya (@Shahrcasm) October 30, 2015
Then a history major weighed in.
@chetan_bhagat I'm a history major from Columbia currently doing an MBA. History is beautiful, it teaches lessons and reveals mistakes (1/2)— Jay Kotak (@jay_kotakone) October 30, 2015
@chetan_bhagat once upon a time, there was a foot. It met the mouth. And went right inside it.— harish iyer (@hiyer) October 30, 2015
Chetan Bhagat, trying to climb back to the bhakt/sanghi/RW side. pic.twitter.com/yoqGkk7GvX— OutrageRatty (@YearOfRat) October 30, 2015
And for @chetan_bhagat, engineers and mechanics, nut here, bolt there... Hmmm. That ought to do it for my day.— ranjona banerji (@ranjona) October 30, 2015
I know that what history will do is forget Chetan Bhagat.— Rohan (@mojorojo) October 30, 2015
What does Chetan bhagat do? I am genuinely curious. Talk stupid. Then talk stupid again. Then again. Ok work done for the day.— Priyashmita Guha (@priyashmita) October 30, 2015
One tweet by Chetan Bhagat turns hundreds into comedians or joke developers. Give him an award for being a teacher.— AD (@anaggh) October 30, 2015
Also for @chetan_bhagat, what do artists do, brush here, brush there, done for the day. Scientists, microscope here, telescope there, done..— ranjona banerji (@ranjona) October 30, 2015
Resigned perhaps to the non-stop trolling, screenshotting and quoting of his first tweet, Bhagat summed it up with this tweet.
In India, you can't kill cows. And you cannot even make a joke on holy cows. Like historians. Sorry if any animals or sentiments were hurt.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 30, 2015
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