Monday, November 25, 2013

Tejpal’s Fall from the Pedestal


Okay, wokay, we are exercised about it, we are agitated about it, we tried some deep meditative techniques to wipe it away – without success – and we wait for the dust to settle before making (or, manufacturing) a  comment (which most commenters don’t do).

Tarun Tejpal. Tejpal was one of our heroes. We considered him the ultimate authority that could make or break a journalist’s (also writer’s) career. Didn’t he push The God of Small Things from obscurity into the blazing lime light? Didn’t he start his own magazine?         Didn’t he in his earlier days keep a pony tail, the sure sign of a rebel? Didn’t he….?

Until the last week when it all came crashing down. Then it became how could he…? How could he…?

Yes, how could he with one careless swing of the bat lose the wicket he had defended with all his ability? Men are known to reveal themselves at the most unlikeliest of times. Some examples: Hugh Grant did it with a prostitute in New York, Michael Jackson disgraced himself with the revelations of a teenager, John Travolta suffered at the hands of a male friend.

Tejpal had everything going for him: success, money, power. But he forgot one cardinal rule – men don’t shit at their own doorstep. He supposedly did it to a former colleague’s daughter, a friend of his daughter. It’s a case of power corrupts and he didn’t hesitate when his power granted him the opportunity for sexual favours. There may have been precedents, girls who preferred to leave rather than make an allegation. This time he chose the wrong person.

And there is this fact. Like it or not, sex rules our corporate sector. Almost every company has a sex-related scandal going on in its closet. The so-called sexual favour is rampant in corporate circles. Orders are made out and cheques are signed on the base of sexual gratification. We can’t shut an eye on this, we have to face it. When the victim becomes a young ambitious girl making her mark in journalism and also aware of her rights, then things can go wrong. Women in media aren’t like pliant secretaries; they know the law and know their rights.


What will become of the icon of investigative journalism, we don’t know. One thing is sure; men in media will use their discretion more in the days to come.

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