ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Prashant Iyengar’s, “Pirates, Plagiarisers, Publishers” (EPW, 26 February) was an eye-opener. The author rightly points to the high incidence of plagiarism in Indian research. The causes for this are many: severe research burden on students and difficult deadlines, lack of incentives to do thorough research, lack of expertise and absence of proper guidance by supervisors, among others.

But one point, and probably the most central one, which the author fails to ask is why do students plagiarise and why has it become so routinised? It appears to me that the reason is that a majority of students take admission to research-based courses merely to bide their time, while they search for employment. Further, in most universities favouritism, politics and patronage of influential people in the admission process result in a large influx of students in research courses who lack both aptitude and ability for research. Both faculty and students treat MPhil and PhD as a mere “class” which they have to pass and get the degree.

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