Shoma Chaudhury Messes Up Batting for God Father Tejpal

Last Updated: Nov 22, 2013, 14:03 PM IST

The newly Tehelka managing editor wanted the CBI chief to lose his job for his rape remark. What of her godfather Tarun Tejpal, the Tehelka founder, molesting a colleague and her own email that Tejpal will be coming back after six months of vacation?

Rohit Bansal

Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley has written a scathing blog. It indicts not just Tarun Tejpal, the Tehelka founder, or the media at large, but, importantly, Tejpal’s protégé and annointed successor, one Shoma Chaudhury. Referring to “The Goa incident,” involving Tarun Tejpal and a young Tehelka journalist, the politician develops key questions that Chaudhury can hardly refute.“The victim`s complaint makes out a clear case of rape. The definition of rape was amended by the parliament subsequent to the Justice Verma Committees recommendations. The ingredients of an offence of rape as amended by parliament are squarely made out in the victims e-mail.”

“Why was the offence not allowed to be reported forthwith? Were any pressures brought on the victim not to lodge a complaint? How can an offence of rape be compromised by an atonement that the guilty will not attend office for six months?” he asks.

Exactly the argument I have been making on Twitter since the last 48 hours. What is this about ‘six months’ when the new law prescribes a punishment far longer than that?

Why’s the shoe in the other foot and the media being given a lesson of Morality101?

Blame Shoma Chaudhury for her eagerness to protect her god father.

“It is unheard of that a private treaty between Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Choudhary wipes out the penal consequence of rape. How can Shoma Choudhary so definitely say that the victim will not depose before the police? Is she not guilty of tampering with evidence in a rape case by pressuring a young employee to conceal the offence?” Jaitley has pointed out

Truth be told, I have always found something phoney about Chaudhury’s sanctimonious hisses into the camera. Her Yudhisthira-like postures on a moral perch, claims to speak on behalf of all journalists, makes her the cause of this essay.

Sample the email exchange Chaudhury had with Tejpal.

Tejpal’s is one of a hopelessly smug boss trying to cover up misconduct with a female colleague with flowery English. Chaudhury’s is an essay how not to write a ‘forwarding note’ as an incoming editor, and a woman editor at that, in such a situation. The part that makes this pitiable isn’t just Tejpal`s self-inflicted "laceration" of six months (how really kind of you, sir!) but Chaudhury`s resigned acceptance of their really curious private arrangement.


Who is Tejpal to decide how long he should stay away from Tehelka? What`s this figure of six months? Why not six years or whatever is the outcome of the criminal case that he must face if charges are pressed? And how can Chaudhury get away describing groping and other assault reported by a female colleague as a `mistake` or `a lapse.` Exact quote: "We have also believed that when there is a mistake or lapse of any kind, one can only respond with right thought and action."

And then the moral tutorial: "In keeping with this stated principle, and the collective values we live by, Tarun will be stepping down for the period mentioned."

Repeat: "…for the period mentioned."

Are self-proclaimed atonement and recusal for a period that only Tejpal and Chaudhury seem to agree,remedies for outright criminality? Shouldn`t the full force of the law be brought into the investigation and prosecution, more so because the accused is a top journalist?

The Editors Guild of India (EGI), of which Tejpal too is a member, has rightly frowned upon the Tehelka founder`s arrogance."Self-proclaimed atonement and recusal for a period are hardly the remedies for what the allegations show to be outright criminality. The full force of the law must be brought into its investigation and prosecution," EGI stated Thursday. But Chaudhury?

As the public’s anger and disappointment with the media escalates, the new Tehelkaboss has switched herself off fromthe social media. Her twitter stream usually full of sanctimonious wisdom on truth, morality and gender sensitivity is silent.

That’s such a pity!

How we miss tweets such as: “And now, an asthiyatra in Bihar, before Modi`s visit! Leopards don`t change their spots do they. So much for his Hindu-Muslim unity!”

Or, "the shame has shifted from the survivor to the perpetrator.”

And here`s one from Chaudhury`s twitter time line roasting the CBI chief for utter idiocy, but an act certainly less grievous than Tejpal’s:"RanjitSinha should lose his job for his remark on enjoying rape. Is appalling that he can even think of defending such a remark."If Sinha must lose his job for his idiotic remark, what ofTejpal coming back after six months of vacation, Ms Chaudhuri?

Here`s another gem on the timeline: “An autonomous woman is seen as fair game. Either you’re a slut or a goddess. And that misogyny ... is not endemic to India.” Isn’t the new editor accountable to her follows for her smug retweets of: "Lets change the way we raise out sons. Shoma Chaudhury inspires at the ?@WomenInWorld summit. ??#wiw13

Also, truism that she’s fed her follows:"We need to free men to be humans. From the time of birth, they are taught to be brutes. This starts with our sons.”

Finally, let’s not forget Chaudhury’s recent sermon on rape! “Rape. And what Indian men think of it. Tehelka spoke candidly to dozens of men. Makes for both dark and fascinating insight. Do read.”

Sure Shoma, the world waits to see how “dark and fascinating” Tehelka’s next issue will be on your own god father.

(The columnist is CEO & Co-Founder, India Strategy Group, Hammurabi & Solomon Consulting)