Manoj Muntashir on plagiarism row: ‘Teri Galiyan, Tere Sang Yara were inspired too, none of my creations are 100 percent original’

Manoj Muntashir took to his YouTube channel and uploaded a 17-minute video where he addressed the accusation that his poem 'Mujhe Call Karna' from his book 'Meri Fitrat Hai Mastana' seems similar to writer Robert Lavery's creation from 2007.

Lyric writer Manoj Muntashir has addressed the plagiarism accusations that have been levelled against him. Manoj took to his YouTube channel Thursday and uploaded a 17-minute video where he addressed the accusation that his poem ‘Mujhe Call Karna’ from his book ‘Meri Fitrat Hai Mastana’ seems similar to writer Robert Lavery’s creation from 2007.

Muntashir shared that all artistes are inspired by one another, and also said that, “None of my creations are 100% original.” He added that not just this poem, many of his other works have been inspired by other writers as well. “Momin’s lines inspired one paragraph of the song Teri Galiyan, Tere Sang Yara was inspired by Firakh Gorakhpuri’s couplets, and my own song Teri Mitti has been translated in so many languages but I do not think my name was credited anywhere,” he said.

In the video, Manoj said that the poem ‘Mujhe Call Karna’ does not have such a big role in his success, so it appears quite inconsequential as to why he would plagiarise something when his other popular creations have all been original. He compared it to accusing a millionaire of stealing 200 bucks saying that just like the millionaire does not need to steal, he also does not need to plagiarise.

Addressing the question as to whether his poem is actually inspired, Manoj went on to explain that works in the public domain are available to all, and anyone can interpret it in their own way, and it is not wrong or unethical. He explained that ‘Vande Mataram’ by Bakim Chandra Chatterjee has inspired many, including AR Rahman for ‘Maa Tujhe Salaam’, and so Rahman does not need to credit Chatterjee for Vande Mataram is in the public domain. Muntashir said that same is the case with Lavery’s poem that inspired him for ‘Mujhe Call Karna.’ “Robert Lavry’s poem is in the public domain and I interpreted it in my way,” he said. Though, he added that he will mention Lavry’s name in the footnotes in the upcoming edition of his book.

Manoj shared that when he won an award for ‘Mere Rashke Kamar’, he was the first to credit Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Buland Shehri and co-writers. His song from Baadshaho was a rebooted version of the original Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan song. He mentioned this to clarify that he is not shy of crediting the original creators when he is inspired.

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Muntashir proceeded to explain that even his song ‘Teri Mitti’ has been inspired by Haqeeqat’s ‘Kar Chale Hum Fida’, which was written by Kaifi Azmi. Talking about the plagiarism accusations against the Kesari song, Manoj said that he would not dignify the allegations by addressing them. He mentioned that the alleged older video by Geeta Rabri is available for all, and was uploaded months after his creation was released. He also added that he has shared Rabri’s version on social media various times.

“India has only two original literary works – Valmiki’s Ramayan and Ved Vyasa’s Mahabharat, everything else that has been written is inspired by these works,” he said.

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