The movie credits for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” included irrelevant lines in pidgin-Swedish and moose references, followed by lines such as “We apologise for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible have been sacked” and “We apologise again for the fault in the subtitles. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked” and so on. (Youtube video, text from IMDB).
Aroon Purie’s letter to the editor of Slate, explaining his plagiarism, is depressingly similar: “serious action has been taken against those concerned.” Earlier in the letter, he observes that he asked for “inputs” from his staff, “believed it be original copy” and pasted it into his own copy. But his copy appeared under his name, not the staffer’s name! And even a cursory reading should have convinced him that this was not something an India Today staffer wrote. Did he take serious action against himself?
He adds that “India Today Group has always stood for integrity in journalism”. So, those responsible have been sacked, or chastised in some way. Purie makes his stand clear: responsibility lies with his subordinates. The buck stops below.
(Plagiarising Niranjana, however, isn’t such a big deal.)
Monty Python’s tale of incompetence lasts about 91 minutes. Apparently India Today’s is never-ending.