Pachauri promotion: TERI has sent out a scary message

Rashmi Singh
Rashmi SinghFeb 11, 2016 | 17:12

Pachauri promotion: TERI has sent out a scary message

If it weren't for TERI alumni's refusal to accept their degrees from RK Pachauri, it is unlikely that the outrage against him would have gained steam. It's almost one year since Pachauri's "victim" filed a complaint with the police.

In this entire duration, TERI's reaction has been more of nervousness from the "information" being out in the public domain, than that of shock from violation of the rights and dignity of a woman once associated with it. A woman who should have been given, at the least, a safe atmosphere to work in.


If the allegations of the second complainant are true, TERI has housed a serial offender for quite long. In that case, did anybody really not know about it? Highly unlikely. But perhaps it is okay till the time women don't speak up and quietly move out, with their confidence and dignity shredded to pieces. It's "acceptable" till the time they reach a settlement and don't disturb the status quo by demanding action against their offender.

The fact that the TERI governing council comprised of many industry bigwigs like Naina Lal Kidwai, and Deepak Parekh, who themselves are heading other organisations, makes the entire development even more cringe worthy.

It also sheds light on how many organisations conspire to hush up sexual harassment cases against senior people, and how they mistreat some of their own employees. TERI alumni showed some backbone in daring to do what other "luminaries" could have done in their own way: refusing to let a sexual harassment accused be associated with the organisation till he was cleared of the charges.


The accused here is a powerful man, and the supposed "victims" - nobodies. That explains why one of the first voices of dissents and revolt came from TERI alumni and students, and not industry stalwarts.

Last year, Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw stepped down from the TERI governing council, but she has chosen to maintain silence on the issue. Unfortunately, that is the approach many people take in cases where the accused is an influential person.

The victim is persistent. Her open letter states: I assure I will take it (the case) to its logical conclusion.

In the form of Pachauri's texts and emails, she has enough proofs. The court case may take time, and it may turn on either side. Pachauri may or may not be on the wrong side of the law. But the adamancy with which TERI refused to let go of a sexual harassment accused and disrespect its own woman employee sends a rather scary message among its, and many other organisations' women workers: raise your voice against harassment at your own risk.

That's how serial offenders are created.

Last updated: February 11, 2016 | 17:12
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