Flattering plagiarism?

When I was studying in college some 20 yrs ago, we used to go out for surveys. Sometimes to count the vehicles on roads, sometimes to collect household data by going to houses and talking to complete strangers, sometimes to organisations that collect statistical data like census etc. Obviously, not everyone liked it. You can imagine looking like fools, sitting on a roadside counting the vehicles, or asking strangers about their travel patterns. In todays time, you would be called a stalker!

So, some of us started to cheat on the surveys.

Teachers obviously knew… they were also students one day, right? (kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi). Once, a teacher found out that the survey data was not real. He said, ‘I don’t mind if you cheat. But at least cheat intelligently! If you show me peak hour traffic on a Sunday morning that’s plain stupid!”.

Cut to now, I found out that one of my journal papers had been copied by some researchers in Indonesia. Not only was it a blatant plagiarism, it was a bad attempt at it too! My list of criteria, the whole table, the icons I used, the diagram I used, and such were simply copied and pasted! Nobody has to even read the paper to see that it’s a copy. First look is enough.

Plagiarism, they say, is the best form of flattery.

And I have to admit – I was flattered. Flattered that someone liked my work so much. So much that they thought it was so perfect(!) to be modified and used in their version (or may be they were just lazy). Another gentleman from India had also copied my work and I marvel at the audacity of that person because he contacted me and asked me to mention his work in my book!

People who cheat forget that the very internet that allows them access to work from far away, also allows others to find their copied work and track them down.

So, is plagiarism flattering? For me, it was.

And anyway, the Taylor Swift’s song reminds me that haters gonna hate, fakers gonna fake… and I should just shake it off!

Image taken from flickr.com


  1. Hey…As always, short and sharp, novel and fresh, all in all A lovely read! And the part about data fudging…hilarious, and so relatable! I remember someone from our batch, who would even copy fudged up data…Laziness!
    But yes, as much as plagiarism is irritating, it does give one that high, feeling of superiority! It was good, wasn’t it!


    1. Thank you, Ritu! indeed, it was much fun. I am sure you would agree, but plagiarism is not all that bad. Its an art. One needs to completely understand a thing to fudge data for the same. So actually only smart people can really do it. Cheers! 🙂


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