By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
It’s a moment of shock where we, as a society, have been jolted from a sleep by revelations of sexual perversions in circles of power and limelight. Politicians, actors, singers, people with good public standing have been revealed to be predators. True or not, the allegations are enough to question the civic sense of this society. The stone that was rolled downhill by actress Tanushree Dutta few days ago has become a rock and pummeled quite a few myths – and careers – about women security.
To give credit where its due, #metoo has brought the dirt into the light which otherwise would have stayed under the carpet forever. People may laugh at it but for the victims it would have taken a huge amount of courage to come out and recount their worst nightmare. If it’s tough for women in West, it’s almost unimaginable in India for women to take a public stand against her assaulter. In case of Bollywood, one can only imagine if small fishes like Alok Nath, Rajat Kapoor and Vikas Behl are accused of such grievous transgressions what skeletons the big guys would be hiding in their closet? A general silence at top level clearly indicates that the whole pond is rotten to its core. Even MJ Akbar’s case was a shocker, no less than seven women have come out with their account of uncomfortable experiences with incumbent Deputy foreign minister of India. If one women might have pointed finger at him, it could have raised a doubt of score settling but accusations from seven women stories reach a very nauseating conclusion. I am surprised why there is no official response from the government (at least at the time of writing this article) yet.
So, what should be our public response, I am not sure about legal angle, but we have a moral obligation to investigate these allegations and bring relief to victims. In almost all these cases the perpetrators were in a position of power and considerable political backing. In such situations complaints are often muffled through undue influence. Just because an actor is popular, or a minister has prime minister in his twitter followers, he should not be spared but as the tradition is, the law applies differently to different people and I am sure many will get away with reprimand, but do you think you’d like your daughter to work in an office with these guys?
I am sure there will be some chaff with the wheat but I think the complaints should be looked into, let the truth come out and guilty be it men or women face the consequence. Workplace harassment is a serious problem in this country and I think ignoring such social movements may send out the message that assault is okay. I think we should have more open discussion around these issues.