David Davidar insists he never even knew her work existed:
Is it true that Sivasundari Bose submitted the manuscript of I Hunt for the Golden Stag to Penguin in 2000?
I’d never heard of Ms Bose or her novel till I received her legal notice a little over a year ago. According to her, she’d submitted many versions of her unsolicited manuscript to Penguin India. After her letter, I found out they were rejected every time by junior editors. As CEO-publisher at Penguin, I never looked at unsolicited works.
Sivasundari says your book, The House of Blue Mangoes, is based on her manuscript, that there are many similarities.
Her book—which I haven’t seen in manuscript or print—was published four years after The House of Blue Mangoes. She sent me her demands a decade later. The allegation is absurd. As for similarities, I’m sure you’ll read both books and see how laughable her claim is. If there is any copyright claim, as she alleges, she is probably likely to be also offended by the works of I. Allen Sealy, Vikram Seth and Christian Jacq.
She says you have plagiarised from her original work.
It is impossible to plagiarise from something that I was unaware even existed.
Did Penguin reject her manuscripts? Was the rejection brought to your notice?
Penguin rejected her manuscript many times, and as I understand from her own admission, so did every major Indian publisher. As I’ve said, as publisher (at Penguin India), I never looked at unsolicited manuscripts or rejection letters.