If you are a professional in an emerging industry, like gaming, data science, cloud computing, digital marketing etc., that has promising career opportunities, this is your chance to be featured in #CareerKiPaathshaala. Fill up this form today!
The TOI inviting Tarun Tejpal to participate in a panel on the 'Tyranny Of Power' reveals our callous attitude to violence against women.
The TOI inviting Tarun Tejpal, currently facing charges of sexual assault, to participate in a panel on the ‘Tyranny Of Power’ reveals our callous attitude to violence against women.
Do you know what came to my mind when I read that the Times of India had invited Tarun Tejpal for their Litfest to talk on a panel titled ‘The Tyranny of Power’? Irony, mostly. Well, for any of you who are scratching their heads, last year Tejpal, the founder of Tehelka magazine was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting one of its female reporters. He is currently out on bail and is awaiting trial.
TOI faced severe social media backlash and criticism for inviting Tejpal. So much so that other speakers were even asked to boycott the event all together. Taking note of public anger and resentment, TOI has withdrawn its invite to Tejpal as they don’t want ‘extraneous issues‘ causing disturbances and distractions at the main event.
When news of the alleged assault broke out, it was met with initial disbelief to downright disgust with the way Tejpal and some of his associates handled the aftermath. Tejpal had apparently written a letter to his Managing Editor on how he should withdraw from being Editor-in-Chief for 6 months as a punishment for what he had done. In the world where I come from, such acts simply smack of arrogance and a sense of power that certain individuals feel they wield and can use to get away with anything. Fortunately our Constitution doesn’t say that ‘if you withdraw temporarily from your job, you’re off the hook’, and he was subsequently arrested.
But what can we take away from the entire TOI episode? It grants a certain acceptance to a person whose guilt has been reasonably if not entirely established. The fact that he gets an opportunity to speak at a public forum lends an uneasy normalcy in a situation that is still very fraught with tension and anger.
Unfortunately, there are other examples of popular figures who are in the center of controversies and somehow that doesn’t affect their public life. Take Bill Cosby for example; he recently performed at a show in Melbourne and got a standing ovation despite multiple allegations of sexual assault against him. People try to demarcate how they view such figures and try to separate their public from their personal lives.
A certain impunity is granted to people like Tejpal and Cosby where they know that despite whatever they’re accused of doing, they will still find some form of social acceptance. This is actually a reflection of our misogynist culture. Sexual assault has become so commonplace that nobody paused to reflect on their decision to invite someone to speak who is currently facing these charges. Maybe they were looking for some sort of guaranteed publicity. There is no way of actually understanding their motivations, but it is painful to see how nonchalant the organizers were about it. One of them went to the extent of calling the backlash as ‘noise’.
The issue of sexual assault by public figures will always catch the limelight and media attention. However what is required of the media is to present a balanced story as opposed to literally offering the pedestal to one party who in fact had confessed to the crime.
TOI’s reaction to the backlash is counter-productive and doesn’t bode well for them. Sure, you have claims of being the most widely circulated English daily in the country, but you are quite irresponsible with the power that you wield through these numbers. Isn’t this in fact the real ‘tyranny of power’?
Image of three monkeys/closing eyes on evil via Shutterstock
Extremely enthusiastic about writing, reading, movies and food; though not necessarily in that order! A Feminist by choice and finds comfort in giving 'gyaan' from time to time. Would love constructive feedback on my writing read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).