Terry Pratchett for the Teenage Soul

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Terry Pratchett for the Teenage Soul

Illustration: Sushant Ahire

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ast year, Chetan Bhagat’s shamelessly pandering editorial on the need to build a Ram Mandir at the spot where Babri Masjid once stood was rewarded. The author secured a spot in Delhi University’s English literature syllabus. His novel, Five Point Someone: What not to do at IIT!, was included in the “popular fiction” category, while actual writers like Amitav Ghosh and Rabindranath Tagore were dropped to accommodate him. This seemed to be the government’s way of saying that even if you aren’t a complete square and have endured parental and societal pressure to study the arts, you should know more about the IITs.

Of course, all of this was couched in talk of updating the university syllabus to reflect current authors. But really, if the contention was that arts students were reading outmoded literature, then may I put forth a humble suggestion? Today, on what would have been the author’s 70th birthday, I argue – with the authority of a former literature student and all-round fan boy – that Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series, should be included in that syllabus.

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