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Updated on April 8, 2017

Revolution 2020 : Love, Corruption, Ambition

Chetan Bhagat is the J K Rowling of Indian English fiction if popularity and sales record of his novels are considered. Bhagat was included in Time magazine's list of World's 100 Most Influential People 2010. The New York Times called him "the biggest selling English language novelist in India's history" The simple, and unadorned language which even secondary grade students can enjoy and the lack of burden of unfamiliar philosophical and metaphysical thoughts are the main factors which make them best sellers even among the masses. The fame he got in a very short span of time is really surprising to the writing fraternity. Chetan Bhagat's latest novel Revolution 2020 : Love, Corruption, Ambition is, no wonder, a writer's magic !


Like that of his earlier novels, the story of this novel is also centred on the Indian middle class : their aspirations, anxieties, and battle for love and wealth. Chetan Bhagat, who belong to the same strata of the society, can reveal the predicament of their lives as an insider's view. The story of the novel is summarised in the blurb itself.

Welcome to Revolution 2020. A story about childhood friends Gopal, Raghav and Aarti who struggle to find success, love and happiness in Varanasi. However, it is not easy to attain these in an unfair society that rewards the corrupt. As Gopal gives in to the system, and Raghav fights it, who will win?



The plot of the novel is based on the three childhood friends and their search for success in life. Both Ragav and Gopal love Arati. The failure in the entrance exam for engineering courses and subsequent death of his father makes the life of Gopal miserable. Even though he fails to get admission to engineering college, he himself becomes a director of engineering college by the help a corrupt politician named Sukla. He selects the path of corruption along with Sukla , the MLA and manages the ill gotten money of the MLA. He wins the love of Arati also. But his notions of victory change when the novel ends.

Ragav, who gets admission to IIT, turns to be a sort of idealist. Even though he gets a job, he turns to journalism as the way to clean up the society. He gets a partial success, but has financially drained. He can only circulate his publication Revolution 2020 less than 500 copies. Yet he can bring out the secret deals of Sukla and succeeds in sending him to jail. That affects the future of Gopal as his business deals are also closely connected with the politician. But Gopal recognise Ragav path is right and turns Arati away from him. She finally selects Ragav.

The anti corruption movement of Anna Hazare also reverberates in the novel by the crusade of Ragav against the Sukla MLA ,who stands for the corruption incarnated of Indian politics. When he is jailed for the scam, he tells to Ragav “Six months maximum. Plus they get me everything. You want to eat from Taj Ganga ?” There is no dearth of such examples in Indian polity. Chetan Bhagat, as an individual has done much in that direction, and the novel also, no doubt, share the writer's views and attitudes which is very much palpable in this novel.


The dream of the Indian middle class families are to get their children admitted to professional courses especially in IITs and IIMs. Ragav's father becomes devastated when he comes to know his son's name has not figured in the merit list. He describes the rat race for IIT seats and the secrets of coaching centre business of Kota with a tinge of humour.

I had spent the last three days doing the rounds of every coaching school. I took in their tall claims about zapping any primate into an IITian. I went through their super-flexible (not to mention super-expensive) fee structures… Each of them had their own, rather difficult, entrance exams. In fact, Kota now had small coaching shops to coach you to get into the top coaching classes.”


The most striking feature about this novel is that it is written so appealing that it compel the readers to complete it in one sitting. He can satisfy the readers with his style of writing and the his popularity indicates they are enjoying it. He shows a conversational intimacy towards his readers throughout the narration. He is not an outsider in the story, but in all of his novels we can identify the presence of a man who went through all of the similar situations what he narrates. The lack of distance between the reader and author is one of the reason for the greater fascination for his novels among a wider audience.AN

It is the time that has to evaluate whether Chetan Bhagat's novels are classic or not , but one thing is sure - there are not many writers whose novels are sold as the novels of Chetan Bhagat. He is one of most popular living Indian authors who can bring the readers back to books. That is a great task.

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    Purbasa Banerjee 

    4 years ago



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