Redy to Accept Bhagat's Friendship If He Apologises: Dumraon Royals

Redy to Accept Bhagat's Friendship If He Apologises: Dumraon Royals

The erstwhile royal family of Dumraon today said it is ready to accept "the offer of friendship" extended by eminent author Chetan Bhagat provided he tenders "unconditional public apology" and recalls all yet to be circulated copies of his bestseller, Half Girlfriend, which purportedly contains derogatory references to them.

Talking to PTI, Yuvraj Chandra Vijay Singh, the 67-year-old heir of the erstwhile royal family said, "We will accept the friendship offer of Bhagat provided he tenders unconditional public apology and recalls all copies of Half Girlfriend, which are yet to be circulated. If he offers to be a friend, he should behave like one."

Singh expressed dissatisfaction over the e-mail of Bhagat sent to his lawyer Gaurav Ghosh based in Delhi as a response to the legal notice sent to him and Rupa Publications in November.

"We have again sent the author a legal notice and given him seven days time to fulfil the conditions detailed in the previous notice, failing which we will move court for redressal. We cannot allow anybody to malign Dumraon and us," the Yuvraj added.

The erstwhile Dumraon Royals have been peeved with Bhagat for making "derogatory" references to them in his novel Half Girlfriend. Legal notices were sent last month on behalf of Maharaja Bahadur Kamal Singh, the erstwhile ruler of the princely state of Dumraon in Buxar district of Bihar.

"Bhagat in his reply to our legal notice said that he has not referred to us in the book. But that is not true. There is only one royal family in Dumraon and people know us. The book has portrayed us as gamblers and alcoholics. It has several references that are so disparaging about us and the place that the public took to streets in protest," the Yuvraj said.

The Yuvraj claimed that a day before sending his response to the legal notice and offering friendship, Bhagat had tweeted, "Meanwhile, have to write letter to the family in Dumraon explaining the meaning of fiction and imaginary stories. Will do so privately."

"This is a Janus-faced approach of Bhagat in this matter.

"What will he explain to us in the name of fiction and imaginary stories, when we have suffered ridicule due to his book? We find his offer of friendship to be unscrupulous and are unable to accept it without compliance to our demands made in the previous notice," the Yuvraj added.

Half Girlfriend is a love story between a rural boy, introduced as the Yuvraj or heir of the Dumraon royal family, and an urban girl, penned by the author of such bestsellers as Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center and The 3 Mistakes of My Life.

The erstwhile royal family initiated legal action after protests rocked Dumraon two weeks ago and the residents of the place burnt effigies of Bhagat as well as copies of the book, and demanded action against him for giving the place a bad name.

The erstwhile Dumraon state was founded by a branch of Parmar rulers of Jagdishpur (Bhojpur) and Raja Narayan Mal (1604 - 1622) was the first king. The present Maharaj Bahadur Kamal Singh was anointed the king on November 13, 1949. He was also elected to the first two Lok Sabhas after Independence.

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