Our helpless women political leaders
- Navy officer dies on board INS Kolkata off Mumbai
- SC calls Sahara proposal an âinsultâ, Subrata Roy to stay in jail till March 11
- I'm not a terrorist, Modi should have met me: Arvind Kejriwal
- Modi to hold 'Chai Pe Charcha' on women empowerment on Saturday
- SC issues notice to Centre on Kiran Reddy's PIL against creation of Telangana
Most of them are so invested in the political system they are a product of that they are unwilling to disturb the status quo.
After one of the first sting operations mounted by Tarun Tejpal's Tehelka over a decade ago, which exposed the rampant sleaze and corruption in the defence establishment, Tejpal was feted like a conquering hero. Of course it was a great story, shining the light on the can of slithering worms that had fattened themselves on the honest taxpayer's money and the depressing moral hubris that accompanied it. Tehelka had delivered on its own promised headlines, of exposing the grime behind the shadows, at least in middle-class India.
But in the national self-congratulation that followed, little attention was paid to the fact that the sting had used women prostitutes as bait to lure some of the defence personnel in question.
A few murmurs of conscience, pointing out that the means didn't justify the ends, were either drowned out or voluntarily edited because the story had already claimed its first victims — just like journalism was intended to do — thereby making the country a better place. It was already far too exciting for words.
Ironically, the closing of the circle against Tejpal is also taking place at the hands of a woman. He is contesting his incarceration, arguing that the alleged sexual harassment was really consensual activity. Others are calling this poetic justice against the writer-journalist. Whatever the truth, Indian women at last seem ready to break out of the chrysalis of self-inflicted shame that sexual violence has usually evoked.
Significantly, the outcry has, at least temporarily, collapsed the walls between the rich, the various slivers of the middle class and the poor. The brutal gangrape of the young Delhi paramedic —
her father is a loader at the IGI Airport — provoked the institution of fast-track courts to judge sexual offences. The Kolkata law intern who alleged harassment by a retired Supreme Court judge has named him. A Delhi student from Jawaharlal Nehru University has complained that she was groped by a film festival official in Goa recently. And in the Shakti Mills rape case in Mumbai, the survivor bravely reported the incident to the police.