|Publisher||Rupa & Co.|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
The author has stated that the novel is based on the "rampant corruption" apparent in the Indian youth educational system, with the choice of Varanasi as a setting emerging through "a special connection to the city" following his visit. He further said "it is one of our oldest cities, and people there now have modern aspirations. I thought the contrast would be interesting. The city also has a lot of character."
This book follows the story of two friends separated by their ambitions and passions yet connected by their love for the same girl. While Gopal, who has experienced the harsh realities of life due to poverty aspires to become rich, his friend Raghav has only witnessed the same cruelties but desires to revolutionize India due to it. As they grow older, they disconnect from each other and are busy with their individual lives. But Aarti somehow ties them together being their mutual friend. Both of them are in love with the same girl and this incorporates the romance aspect of this book.
Set in the holy city of Varanasi, Revolution 2020 is the story about two boys Gopal, Raghav, and a girl, Aarti. The story is narrated by Gopal, the protagonist of the story, and is chiefly concerned with Gopal's love for Aarti.
Gopal's mother died when he was very young, and he was raised by his father, who was poor due to a long running property dispute with his brother. Gopal and Raghav are school friends. Aarti and Gopal are very close intimate friends, and are very affectionate towards each other. While Gopal wants Aarti to become his , she repeatedly refuses him saying she doesn't want to enter a relationship.
After performing bad in both the IIT-JEE (Indian Institution of Technology Joint Entrance Exam) and AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination) exams, Gopal moves to Kota, the so-called "capital of coaching classes" to undertake them again, to please his father who is determined to make Gopal an engineer. In order to pay for the entrance coaching, Gopal's father spends all his savings and takes on many loans.
Raghav however had scored very well in his exams and joins the prestigious IT-BHU to study engineering, though his real ambition is to become a journalist and affect social change. While Gopal is away at Kota, Aarti and Raghav become close and then started going out, which causes much strain to Gopal and Aarti's friendship along with Gopal and Raghav's friendship. Gopal is distraught, and the novel explores the strains of unrequited love between intimate friends, which is a major component in the novel.
Partly due to the emotional difficulties brought on by his friends' relationship, Gopal again fails to fare good at the AIEEE. Gopal's father cannot bear his son's repeated failure and dies, leaving Gopal an orphan. Debt loaded, through a friend he meets a powerful MLA, Shukla, who agrees to help start an engineering college on his father's disputed land. Shukla agreed to provide financial backing and political support to construct the new college, named GangaTech, with Gopal who will be its director. In order to build the new college Gopal head to handle corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and regulators, all of whom had to be bribed during various stages of planning and construction of the college.
Meanwhile, Raghav finishes his engineering studies and becomes a trainee reporter for a popular newspaper, "Dainik". He publishes a critical article regarding Gopal's college-Ganga Tech - on the day of its inauguration in which he accuses Shukla of corruption. Gopal takes this personally while also considering it as betrayal after agreeing to being interviewed by Raghav for the article. Shukla gets Raghav sacked from his job at Dainik but Raghav starts his own newsletter called Revolution 2020. He later publishes an article about a Ganga Treatment Scam and this time with sufficient evidence to prove that Shukla is a corrupt man. Shukla was forced to resign. Raghav continues on his quest to expose corrupt leaders who he accuses being the root reason for India's poor economic background. In the process, Gopal and Raghav become rivals as Gopal does the exact opposite of what Raghav sees is ideal, since Gopal only wants to make money.
However after seeing what Raghav has gone through due to the joint revenge taken by the MLA and Gopal himself yet sustaining his determination to bring the revolution, Gopal decides to change somethings on his part and help his friend anonymously. He stops the affair he has with Raghav's girlfriend Aarti and lets go of her despite his unconditional love for her. He also asks Dainik to hire Raghav back. Things slowly improve for Raghav financially as he can now work on his articles, while Gopal is shown to slowly become a better person. Although in the end we see Gopal is alone and prefers to be isolated, he is indeed rich and successful as he wanted to be and Raghav, who is now almost the MLA (since his in-laws were mildly involved with politics helped him) sees his dream of bringing about change as well.
- "Revolution 2020: Chetan Bhagat". chetanbhagat.com. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
- "Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020 in the silver screen". The Times of India. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
- "Revolution 2020 inspired by Corruption in education system: Chetan Bhagat". Firstpost.