Earlier today, the Mid-Day newspaper carried a short piece arguing that the so-called “media trial” of Tarun Tejpal, for raping a junior colleague, had damaged the “liberal” cause, at a time when personal freedoms are under assault in India. The article concluded by hoping that Tejpal would make a “come back” – presumably to save us all from the Big Bad BJP.
The article is not just profoundly misogynist and ignorant, it also conflates all resistance to oppression in its many forms with Tehelka and Tejpal’s transactional and dubious politics.
Here we reproduce the complainant’s response to the Mid-Day piece:
Fighting patriarchy, sexual violence and harassment at the workplace should be the cornerstone of any progressive politics. For TT’s supporters to claim that all should be forgiven because the liberal cause needs him is completely bogus. There was nothing liberal about the source of Tehelka and Think’s funding, or the fact that stories in the newsroom were killed whenever they threatened the editor’s friends.
If Tehelka was so righteous and embattled, how did its editor in chief amass huge properties in Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and Nainital? If a media trial destroyed Tejpal, how does he continue to pay his huge and expensive battery of lawyers? Finally — whom does this delay in the ‘fast track trial’ benefit? What kind of justice should one hope for when wealthy and influential criminals are lobbying with journalists, politicians and industrialists to hold an international conclave under the guise of “liberalism”?