In a move that defies grammatical and literary sense, Delhi University has included Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone in its English Literature syllabus. But is the move really as obtuse as it seems on the surface?

Delhi University students will be studying not just Bhagat from the new session beginning this July, they will also get to read Lousia M Alcott (write of Little Women), the indomitable Agatha Christie (Murder of the Orient Express) and the queen of muggles, JK Rowling (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). All three are a part of the Popular Fiction paper, which comes under Choice-Based Credit System which allows students from any stream to pick an elective of their choice.

Anyone who has studied English Literature in general, and William Shakespeare in particular would tell you that it is compulsory for every tragedy to include some form of comic characters. Keeping this rule in mind, think about the Eng Lit syllabus for a bit – Chaucer, Kafka, Milton, Dickens, Joyce, Woolf, Forster,  Mulk Raj Anand, George Eliot, TS Eliot and many, many more – probably come to mind.  The lineup of authors, poets, and playwrights which students are traditionally required to study are exemplary, and mostly mind-numbingly difficult to fathom.

Literature students read novels that teach us about the language, with a side-view of the age, the society and obviously, the author. Dramas showcase society’s flaws through their characters; poetry ranges from nature’s bounty to illness. The course, in one word, is strenuous.

So maybe, just as the porter provided comic relief when familial tension in Macbeth got too much, so will Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone when Chaucer goes on the overkill. Makes sense, right?

Chetan Bhagat, whose writing skills are at par with his dancing chops, has despite limited competence at writing round characters, plot-lines and coherent dialogues, found enormous success among a certain section of society. This has translated into (mostly hit) cinematic adaptations as well. The last few years have seen 3 Idiots (based on Five Point Someone), Hello (based on One Night at the Call Centre), Kai Po Che (based on The 3 Mistakes of My Life), and 2 States (based on novel of the same name). Half Girlfriend (based on his latest novel) will be releasing on May 19, 2017.

You’d think after all this commercial success, Bhagat’s meteoric rise would be studies by sociologists, but instead, Literature students have been assigned his novel – a book about 3 IIT students who do everything except actually study at the country’s top-most educational institution.

Five Point Someone is either a test to see if students can differentiate between literature and pulp fiction, or it is basically the modern-day version of a  Shakespearean fool. In a world dominated by Donne and Marvell, perhaps the idea is to introduce a bit of Bhagat to break the tension?