Best-Selling Indian Author Tweeted A Really Bad Rape Joke Five Days After India’s Horrific Gang Rape

He deleted it after the tweet sparked outrage across Indian media, but refused to apologize.

1. This is Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s best-selling authors who was featured on TIME’s 2010 list of 100 people who most affect the world. His books have been made into Bollywood films, including one of the highest grossing in history, 3 Idiots.

2. On Aug. 28, five days after a 22-year-old photojournalist was gang raped in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, Bhagat, who has nearly two million Twitter followers, tweeted this:

“The Rupee is asking, is there no punishment for my rapists?”

3. The tweet was in reference to India’s flailing economy with the rupee hitting record lows of 66 to the dollar. It was also obviously referencing Mumbai’s recent gang rape incident.

Rafiq Maqbool / AP

4. His tweet sparked outrage in a nation still reeling from increased incidences of rape. Bhagat soon deleted the tweet.

5. But he didn’t apologize for it.

6. Indians continued to berate him on Twitter.

Just so you know, if you buy @chetan_bhagat books, you buy the book of a guy who makes rape jokes and calls you an idiot for being offended.

— mihirfadnavis (@Mihir Fadnavis)

Why that mindset change concerning rape ain't coming anytime soon.. RT @chetan_bhagat Rupee is asking,is there no punishment for my rapists?

— RupaSubramanya (@rupa subramanya)

Let's get this straight: CURRENCIES DO NOT GET RAPED. RT @chetan_bhagat: The Rupee is asking, is there no punishment for my rapists?

— jonathanshainin (@Jonathan Shainin)

Looks like @chetan_bhagat has deleted his tweet. We hope he does the same with his next manuscript.

— _fakeiplplayer (@Fake IPL Player)

Dear @chetan_bhagat,can u b prosecuted for 'intellectual rape' if an unsuspecting reader reads ur book?Anyway thanks for deleting that tweet

— brownbrumby (@The Brown Brumby)

11. But Bhagat continued to defend himself.

Idiots here care less about the meltdown about the economy but more about making personal attacks. No wonder such a fab economy we have.

— chetan_bhagat (@Chetan Bhagat)

12. In a column, journalist Sandip Roy wrote about why rape jokes aren’t funny:

Chetan Bhagat (or Jay Panda, for that matter) would never make a joke like that about terrorists after 26/11, or about the Line of Control after Indian soldiers get killed there, or the flood victims of Uttarakhand or the children killed after a school meal in Bihar.

That he thought it fit to make a joke about rape shows that somewhere inside, rape, and the outcry over rape, is still considered trivial compared to those other tragedies.

That he deleted it without apology makes it more shameful than less. Chetan Bhagat once wrote a best-seller called The 3 Mistakes of my Life.

Maybe he could add a fourth one to that list now.

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Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at
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