Imitation may be the best form of flattery, but it is certainly not earning us any accolades on the international scene. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has revealed that India comes in third after China and the US with regard to the number of bio-medical and life sciences articles retracted due to plagiarism. Well, we have been caught out fair and square. But let us tell you that plagiarism in many forms exists and thrives in our midst.
But we feel that some credit is due for the innovative manner in which Indians have copied others giving it a desi twist. We refer, of course, to the manner in which our Bollywood films are often ‘inspired’ by foreign films. The latest is a blockbuster which seems to have liberally refitted scenes from many foreign films to put together a fetching whole. Have you ever listened to the music channels or gone to watch a Hindi movie and thought ‘where have I heard that song before?’ Chances are that your memory is not playing tricks on you but you have indeed heard it being sung by a foreign band or singer. The famous Macarena song comes to mind. Of course, many of the golden oldies have been smartly lifted and rejigged by our desi lads and we look upon this with admiration. Why reinvent the wheel when you can add or subtract a spoke or two and voila come up with your very own ‘original’ version of a soundtrack. Of course, we have displayed our admiration for many things foreign by taking to them like a duck to water, including food, clothing, even our accents. Have we not savoured our homegrown burger, that wondrous potato patty dripping in reused oil nestling inside a bun of indeterminate origin?
When it comes to building on the efforts of others, we have little competition. Do you get the feeling you have read this edit somewhere before? No, you haven’t, it is just your imagination playing tricks on you after reading this.