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RK Pachauri, the new Tejpal?

As soon as I heard news of RK Pachauri being involved  in a sexual harassment case, my first thought was… “Ah. And another Tejpal emerges”. Little did I know, until I started looking further, how excruciatingly true that thought really was. From their Modus operandi, to their excuses, they are just two criminal peas in a sickening perverted pod.

How they chose their victims:

Both Tejpal and Pachauri had an extremely similar Modus Operandi when it came to choosing their victims. Tejpal had known his victim since childhood. He was a parental figure for the victim (Who was his daughter’s close friend) and Tejpal had also offered the victim her first job.

Pachauri on the other hand, offered his victim a job when she had just quit her previous one and was unemployed. By virtue of being older by a lifetime, and also an accomplished professional in his stream, the victim was in complete awe of Pachauri as she mentioned in her FIR.

The facts point to a clear modus operandi. Their choice of victim was dependant on the intensity of faith that the victim had on them. By virtue of being older and also close friends with the victims professionally and personally, a strong fiduciary relationship existed between them that the perpetrators thought as easy to exploit. Coupled with the fiduciary relationship, what they sought to exploit was the “You owe me sentiment”. They had both helped their respective victims professionally. The “reciprocal lust” that was expected was perhaps considered interest on the investment that both the perpetrators had made.

When the iron of friendship is hot enough to strike:

In both the cases, when you go through the entire victims statement (also the sanctimonious letter Tarun wrote to his victim after the assault) it becomes evident that the assault always starts with a seemingly innocent flirtatious comment or nonchalant body contact. In Pachauri’s case, the victim states that soon the friendship turned into repeated hugs, kisses, and requests of physical contact.

The first Assault

By now the victim feels the complete weight of the professional favors that their bosses have done for them in both cases. The friendship, personal and professional, is important enough to politely ignore advances, however uncomfortable they make the victim.

In Tejpal’s case when he first tried to assault his victim in the lift, she tried her best to talk sense into Tejpal by reminding him of the nature of relationship they share. She appealed to his better judgment reminding him of their professional conduct, the fact that she was friends with his daughter, even the friendship they shared among themselves. Since Tejpal obviously thinks that there’s nothing wrong in pushing the limits of relationships according to his “bodily urges” he continues violating her.  Sensing that the victim holds their bond in fondness, he tries to justify his assault by saying “It’s alright to be in love with more than one person,” When the “love” fails to convince his victim to allow herself to be molested, he turns to exploiting their professional bond by saying “Well, this is the easiest way for you to keep your job.” Hoping, that if not love, at least the fear of a potentially illustrious career coming to an end would convince his victim to be molested.

In Pachauri’s case, in my honest opinion, the manipulation was even worse. The entire time, Pachauri kept justifying his molestation and harassment by sending disgusting messages and emails convincing his victim that it was indeed “love”.

Sample this:

On September 8, 2013, at 2.32 pm Pachauri messages: “I shall try to suppress my human feelings, and live with a sad restraint on my words and actions. Never to make you uncomfortable or stressed on my account.”

After his victim refuses to consider his carnal desires as “love” and admits that it makes him uncomfortable he tries again

Pachauri’s SMS on October 1, 2013, at 10.06 pm: “That is an unkind cut. And you need not feel responsible about sending me a message when you reach home. I am sorry for my actions. I shall be very very restrained now. I am not a cheap philanderer as you are trying to convey.”

Pachauri’s SMS six minutes later: “And just to prove to you how much I love you, I shall go on a fast after the cricket match tomorrow. I will break the fast only when you tell me that you believe I love you with sincerity and unfathomable depth.”

When the woman has finally had enough… the moral high ground and the “how could you”

In Tejpal’s case, when the victim finally told his daughter (and her close friend) what her father was really upto, Tejpal’s response, as stated by the victim herself was:

Tejpal: “How could you tell XXX (Tejpal’s daughter) what happened?”

Victim: “Tarun, I told you XXX and I are close and what you did wasn’t okay, I had to tell her,”

Tejpal: “She’s my daughter. Do you even understand what the word means? Just get away from me, I’m so f*** ing pissed off with you right now.”

In Pachauri’s case he tries to make his victim feel guilty by repeatedly sending her messages and email proclaiming love and also blaming her for her lack of “faith” in someone who has done so much for him. Sample this:

Email on Nov 14, 2013: “Dearest meri jaan, you came to me at the loss of your earlier job as a measure of desperation. In the context of your injury, what faith have you shown in me? You have been going to the gym against my explicit advise. Even you must know that even if I don’t marry you, I am yours for life.”

What they are trying to accomplish here is simple. Guilt the women into silence. Appeal, in their own twisted way, to the very conscience of the women that they have tried to manipulate and taint with their liberal views on love, sex, and relationships.

Finally, the “I didn’t do it”

Not all women have the courage to ward off the kind of manipulation these perpetrators use. To their credit, these women did. And when they finally decided to speak up, there wasn’t anything left for Tejpal and Pachauri to do other than deny the “allegations” with their wild conspiracy theories.

Tejpal of course first admitted to his crime by calling it a “lapse of judgment” and wrote a sanctimonious letter of apology (if we can call it that) to his victim. Later, when the intellectual realized that his pretty little hands that have held a pen, won’t be able to endure the life of a prisoner he decided to retract and deny all allegations with slandering, character assassinating and intimidating the victim to coming up with wild theories of how it was a grand political vendetta by the BJP.

Pachauri saw Tejpal’s ridiculousness and raised the bar to the absolute bizarre. He is now claiming that his phone, SMSs, WhatsApp and his Email were hacked by some unknown person to commit these heinous crimes. I wonder if he will later claim in court that some doppelganger kissed, hugged, “grabbed body” inappropriately and lifted his female employees in his arms as well.

The “Liberal” silence that ensues..

Tejpal’s and Pachauri’s stories take two different routes converging towards the same destination. In Tejpal’s case, the Liberal, intellectual and the journalist community came out all guns blazing to protect Tejpal. We heard statements like “He was set up”, “It is actually Tejpal who was sexually harassed” and some statements that downright assassinate the victim’s character and I wouldn’t want to dignify by repeating.  In contrast, there has been an eerie silence about the Pachauri case. Not a peep. Where the liberal communities contrasting behavior converges, is that in essence, in both cases they have stood by and done NOTHING to stop the evil.

To substantiate, sample this:

Vinod Mehta in his book says “All I know is that Tarun was known to use his official position to hit on interns and juniors for both consensual and presumably non consensual carnal favors…. But since no formal complaint was bought to my notice, we did not have a crisis in the office.”

The liberal community today, in essence has shifted from sympathizing with the victim, to liberally finding the good in the criminal. Their sympathies, acceptance, human rights, apathy and voice is all exclusively reserved for the poor rapist/molester who has been misguided into ruining a woman’s life. This apathy towards the real victim, is unfortunately as disturbing as the actual crime itself.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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