Who’s book is it anyway?
A day before the release of “his” book Special Category Status: A Case for Bihar — which has been widely reported by the media — a researcher accused him of plagiarizing a paper he had submitted at the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) in Patna. Vikas Pathak reports.india Updated: May 14, 2009 23:10 IST
Bihar's turnaround has made Nitish Kumar a powerful figure this election. So, this is probably the worst time for him to be caught in a controversy, which is what seems to be happening.
A day before the release of “his” book Special Category Status: A Case for Bihar — which has been widely reported by the media — a researcher accused him of plagiarizing a paper he had submitted at the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) in Patna.
Atul Kumar Singh — a doctoral fellow at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Economics Centre in the Capital — also warned the chief minister of legal action. That’s not all. Singh planned to pip the CM by releasing his paper in JNU on Thursday night itself. “I am releasing it so I can confirm my claim on my original research,” he told HT.
Nitish’s office had a different take: “The chief minister is just endorsing the book, not authoring it. The book is being brought out by ADRI, which alone can give details.”
However, earlier in the day, Press Trust of India had reported Nitish as saying: “I have written a book on conditions prevailing in the state and to convince the nation about the need for granting special status to Bihar... you will come to know about the details once it is published.”
Singh sent a letter — a copy of which is with HT — to ADRI and Nitish on Thursday. “I have come to know that my research work in its entirety has been put into book form with Shri Nitish Kumar as author,” he wrote. “You are hereby requested not to use the contents of my research work in the proposed book without acknowledging that I am the sole and exclusive author.”
“I am sure you will be advised to avoid any embarrassment by going ahead with the release of the book. This claim of Shri Nitish Kumar is a clear violation of my individual rights as a scholar and an author,” the letter read.
When contacted, ADRI director Saibal Gupta said: “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” On Singh’s complaint, he said: “I’m not aware of it. I am not in town.”
Praveen Jha, professor at JNU and Singh’s PhD guide, confirmed the researcher had submitted a paper on the same theme — which is also part of his PhD thesis — to ADRI. “Though I am not aware of what exactly will come out in print as Nitish Kumar’s book, I am familiar with Atul’s work. He had worked with ADRI on the same theme. If it is the same work, they have been highly unethical.”
Jha said he would be present at Singh’s release.