Prufrock's Page

Monday, May 08, 2006

Remembering Indrani

A friend emails to say that the recent plagiarism controversy puts him in mind of the unfortunate Indrani Aikath-Gyaltsen, and sends a link to an earlier Washington Post article on her case:

"What led 41-year-old Indrani Aikath-Gyaltsen, a promising but wildly insecure writer, to plagiarize from Elizabeth Goudge, a romance author almost as popular in her day as Danielle Steel is now? The deception was sure to be uncovered and, over the last two months, it was.

Aikath-Gyaltsen isn't around to answer any questions. On Oct. 3, she wrote a short letter to Khushwant Singh, one of India's best-known contemporary authors and her mentor. "I am still in a very bad frame of mind," she wrote. "Afraid to live, afraid to die. But you are right. Only I can help myself."

Later that day a niece reportedly found her sprawled on the floor of her Bihar house with "something white dripping from her mouth, leading to the belief that it was poison," said Uttam Sengupta, editor of the Bihar edition of the Times of India. She died the next day."


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