Wednesday, July 05, 2006
In defence of Mahmud Farooqui
After reading this post by Prufrock 2, which I'd linked to here, Nilanjana Roy writes in:
Meant to tell you that I was a little perturbed over the Mahmood Farooqi plagiarism allegations. He definitely ripped off one para from The Independent review, but the rest of his roughly 1,500 word piece actually had an original argument, very different from most of the British reviews. I know Prufrock did this in good faith, but the other examples he culled are fairly problematic: what appears to be plagiarism is actually Mahmood quoting directly from the book. He's not alone in appearing to have copycatted: for some reason, most of the book's reviewers have cited the same passages in their reviews.That's fair enough, and in the comments of his post, Prufrock 2 reproduces Farooqui's response to the matter.
I don't put Mahmood in the same category as Bhaskaran and Kazmi at all, actually. I think he was sloppy, and stupid to use that paragraph or repeat that para without attribution. But I don't think he is a classic plagiarist, and I don't think he did this with malicious intent. His other writings, in Tehelka on theatre, have been very solid, and very original. His book reviews show a tendency to quote extensively (from other books and scholars, rarely other reviewers), but never to steal someone else's arguments. Don't really know the man well enough to ask him what happened, but I wouldn't discard his entire review on the basis of one stolen paragraph.