The Fall of India’s Conscience

The biggest story in India right now is that one of the country’s most famous and controversial journalists stands accused of sexual assault. How did a man known for skewering the powerful end up this way?

Tunku Varadarajan in The Daily Beast:

ScreenHunter_419 Nov. 26 13.10Why is this story dominating the Indian news media? The most obvious reason is the identity of the accused. Tejpal is at the moral heart of the Indian elite, a man who has given his last 10 years to a (sometimes gaudy) fight against everything that is insufferable in India, and that includes sexual violence. In February of this year, the magazine produced a special issue on sexual violence with an electrifying cover. “I Am Every Woman,” it said, and Tehelka was widely lauded for its pugnacity. This right-on man is now accused of rape, and the news has come to everyone in the media—friends, colleagues, and competitors—as a tectonic jolt. (A nation accustomed to Tejpal the Crusader is stunned.)

“What made Tejpal do this?” everyone asks. Some answers suggest themselves, the most unsettling of which is that, for all his rhetoric in the cause of women, Tejpal is, perhaps, just another unreconstructed, predatory Indian male who was playing the part of PC editor for commercial effect.

More here.