Monday, May 22, 2017


Dear Arunima,

Thank you for getting in touch, and for looking into this.

I am contacting you on behalf of an artist from Tamil Nadu, Mr. Shanmugavel, and a prominent Tamil writer, Mr. Jeyamohan. We are concerned about possible plagiarism of the cover art of the recently published 'The Kaunteyas', published by your company (Tranquebar Press), and I kindly request you to clarify at the earliest. We have been in touch with Mr. Pranav Shah, who handles PR for the author, Ms. Madhavi Mahadevan, and we were asked by him to contact you about this. 

To give you some background: Mr. Jeyamohan is at present writing a series of Tamil novels based on the Mahabharata, called 'Venmurasu'. They are published online on his blog, one chapter a day, every single day since January 2014. So far, thirteen novels have been completed, and have been published as books. Mr.Shanmugavel does the accompanying illustrations and artwork for this set of novels - again, one illustration a day for the last 3.5 years. You can see the whole set of novels (in Tamil) + illustrations here. You may be able to understand the monumental scale of work involved. Mr. Shanmugavel holds the copyright for all the illustrations made for 'Venmurasu'.

Recently, a reader of Mr.Jeyamohan's work (Mr.Madhusudhanan Sampath, cc-ed here) noticed that the cover art of 'The Kaunteyas' - also based on the Mahabharata - is very similar to an illustration made by Mr. Shanmugavel for 'Venmurasu'. I have attached both pictures. Mr. Shanmugavel's illustration was made in December 2014, two years before 'The Kaunteyas' was released, and published on Mr. Jeyamohan's blog [link - please scroll down for image]

As you can see, the silhouette form on the cover of 'The Kaunteyas' matches with the silhouette form in Mr. Shanmugavel's art from 2014, to the extent that they superimpose on one another at the right scale. It is not very difficult to make a digital copy in a graphics editor program. If that was the case, then it would amount to violating Mr. Shanmugavel's copyright.

We have been trying to reach someone about this for over three weeks now. When we contacted the author, we were told to talk to you, the publisher. I am writing to you on behalf of the integrity of a creative artist. I kindly request you to address this concern of ours and clarify at the earliest. 

Thanks in advance.

Best regards,
Hi Suchitra,

Thanks for your email. I’ve forwarded this concern of yours to the persons concerned and they’re looking into the matter.

I should be able to get back with their responses soon.