Letters | Apr 21, 2014
  • Now, What the Reader Can See
    Apr 21, 2014

    So what is Outlook trying to do? Cast aspersions on the victim (What the Elevator Saw, April 7)? We remember the magazine’s consistent attitude towards women victims. Anita Pratap wrote a piece virtually justifying the murder of “a bad poetess”, Khushwant Singh came out in defence of buddy David Davidar who had fired a victim by accusing her of “bossophila”, and now this. It takes just a second and a degree of humanity to understand that a young girl who has been sexually assaulted by her friend’s father is likely to be too stunned from the incident to report on it like a commentator talking about a match being played before him. I’d love to know what the women who work at Outlook have to say. Do they agree with this snide vilification campaign that is going on? I hope someone has the courage to speak up.

    Mehul Kamdar, Appleton, US

    Your cover story was a balanced, unbiased piece of reporting. If Tejpal is guilty, he should be punished to the extent commensurate with his crime. But why deny his request for pen and paper? If jail authorities need their pri­soners to reform, they should allow them books, a diary, writing instruments and a chance for physical exercise and prayer.

    P. Kumar, on e-mail

    The media had already wrung out every drop of juice from this sordid drama while it was being played out. The only purpose of Manu Joseph’s cover story appears to be to revive prurient interest in the incident, not to throw any fresh light on it.

    Ramesh Ramachandra, Bangalore

    With perhaps the most important elections in the history of independent India around the corner, you feature TT’s escapades on the cover! A new high in relevant journalism?

    Pradip Chanda, on e-mail

    The elevator saw nothing as there were no surveillance cameras inside the lift. What Manu Joseph writes is of a purely speculative nature. Besides, the matter is sub jud­ice. Whatever has happened to journalistic ethics?

    D.L. Narayan, Visakhapatnam

    Irrespective of what the CCTV cameras outside the elevators did or did not reveal what Tarun Tejpal was up to, the case clearly shows what India’s “up and mobile” do inside lifts and the cool comfort of workplaces, away from the cameras.

    George Jacob, Kochi

    Congrats Manu Joseph and Outlook for explaining in great detail how a ‘confused’ woman employee—whom Tarun Tejpal ‘consensually’ kissed, petted, removed the panties off and viola­ted with his fingers— “delivered (in his own words) me to the right-wing”. The ‘analysis’ makes a pretence of being balanced but gives a fairly good idea of what the neo-liberal editorial workspace for the modern professional woman is like. Bald, greying guys full of shit, looking for ‘consensual’ co-workers. One can blame it on alcohol etc but the pitting of this neo-lib glib media against the rightist moral straitjacket comes undone on their idea of consensus and the sexual entitlement the owner-editor has on the body of a woman emp­loyee. The Tejpals of the world portray themselves as warriors against corruption/sleaze but prove to have feet of clay. Sometimes it seems the big bad wolf in the modern Indian drama—the sleazy politician—conducts himself less avariciously.

    B. Ashok, Trivandrum

    Disappointed. The young journalist was obvi­ously traumatised by the forceful manner in which her employer thrust himself upon her, and to imply—on the basis of some unseeming disparity between the CCTV image and her recoll­ection of it—that the assault was consensual is appalling.

    Bahu Virupaksha, Pondicherry

    We have Tarun Tejpal’s e-mails in which he has apologised profusely to his assistant. We have his e-mail to all employees in which he has said he was resigning to “perform a penance that lacerates me”. In that e-mail, he has also admitted to “a bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation” leading to the situation. Case closed. Period.

    Ram Lala, Kavutaram

    Is it a mere coincidence that Outlook and AAP are suddenly supporting Tejpal on this one? aap says the Goa police went on an overdrive to arrest Tejpal. Is this a sinister attempt to portray this as a BJP plot against its bete noire, Tehelka? Why all this detailed and painstaking analysis when the case, the CCTV evidence et al, are sub judice? Let the case run its course without “well-meaning” busybodies appearing to be trying to steer the outcome.

    N.S. Rajan, Bangalore

    It’s an open secret that a particular political party has been unhappy with the accused and can cause direct or indirect damage to accused and victim alike for their own propaganda. I was quite amazed at the speed with which the Goa police acted on the case. If TT has committed a wrong, then he deserves all punishment, but if politics is playing a role in this particular case, then rest assured, it is the beginning of the end of many a journalist.

    Rahil Ahmar, Delhi

    My sympathies go to his wife and daughters who are having to support a man who has no shame exploiting a girl his daughter’s age.

    Abhianv, Lucknow

    What injustice! The man whose worth is in crores has to rent a house and be evicted!

    Akash Verma, Chennai

    What the elevator certainly did not see are the mafinama or the smses Tejpal sent the girl. The magazine’s founding editor went to the extent of saying that if editors had to be put in jail for such petty incidents, he and his compatriots would be in and out of the clinker. His opinion, I suppose, and the misfortune of the girls who travelled with him in the lift.

    A.K. Ghai, Mumbai

    Why are you making us readers waste our time on an individual criminal case? Is it because he was associated with your magazine earlier?

    Ramesh, Muscat

    Why didn’t the media present similar “other sides” to the false stories against swamis (Nithya­nand, for example) which later turned out to be a case of ‘manipulation’ by TV channels?

    Ram, Kerala

    Rapist sympathisers like Manu Joseph, Seema Mustafa, Abhinandan Sekhri, Madhu Trehan et al can whine all they want, but just because Tarun Tejpal is their buddy, it does not mean he gets a free pass to commit a sexual crime. Would they be as sympathetic if the perpetrator had been an editor on the other side of the ideological fence?

    Krupakar Kolbatla, Mumbai

    Whatever happened between the two individuals—forced or consensual—might be hazy but what’s clear is that the post facto media examination of graphic detail is causing more harm to both parties.

    Rajneesh Batra, Delhi

    This is trial by media and is unfair to both individuals involved. Let the courts try the case and the media intervene only if they make a mistake.

    E. Vinod, Chennai

    The least punitive but most effective punishment that can be meted out to Tarun Tejpal is to force him to wear wicketkeeper’s gloves 24x7.

    K. Suresh, Bangalore

    Outlook ka asli rang

    Tejpal ke sang

    I don’t know what it was about this case. I anticipated before reading the way it was going to turn.

    Tushar Trivedi, on e-mail

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