RK Pachauri had dawned many hats during his lifetime. Born in 1940 in Nainital, Uttarakhand, he studied at the La Martiniere College (Lucknow, UP) and the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (Jamalpur, Bihar). He then pursued Industrial Engineering in the United States.
A strict vegetarian and a renowned environmentalist, Rk Pachauri was the frontrunner in convincing countries to step up their efforts in containing carbon emissions. Under his astute leadership, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Pachauri served as the Chairman of the organisation for 13 years.
He also headed India’s premier The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) until 2015. Pachauri breathed his last at Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi on Thursday at the age of 79. He was battling a prolonged heart illness and was put on life support. In his memory, the current Chairman of TERI, Nitin Desai, said that Pachauri’s contribution to global sustainable development is “unparalleled.”
His illustrious career was cut short after allegations of criminal intimidation, stalking and sexual harassment surfaced against him in 2015. A young female researcher who worked under Pachauri had accused him of making sexual advancements towards her. This prompted his resignation from the post of TERI chief, a position he held since 2002.
The Delhi police had filed a 1400-page charge sheet on March 1, 2016, and conceded that “sufficient evidence” existed to prove the charges against him. The Saket Court had formally directed to frame charges against the internationally acclaimed climate activist on October 20, 2018.
Pachauri’s notoriety convinced people to draw analogies with Tarun Tejapl who had been accused of raping a female colleague inside an elevator during Tehelka magazine’s THiNK 2013 festival in Goa on November 7, 2013. Both these perpetrators preyed on victims who were younger and favoured by the duo and looked up to them as “fatherly figures.” While Pachauri justified his sexual exploitation as “love”, Tejpal threatened his victim to make her reciprocate.
Now that RK Pachauri is no more in this mortal world, eulogies have started to pour in from all corners. An attempt to whitewash his sins is underway by the same group of left-liberals who had earlier defended Tarun Tejpal and shamed the victim. An obituary must be a correct assessment of someone’s life, highlighting both the good deeds and sins in the same breath.