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In the name of liberalism: Mid-Day’s shameful whitewash of Tarun Tejpal

And if this was your idea of sarcasm, Mid-Day, you did a bad job of it.

If this is not a perfect example of the liberal-elite’s incestuous scheming to protect each other from punishment for their criminal behavior in the name of ideology, then I don’t know what is.

We have been hearing about the impending re-emergence of Tarun Tejpal for a while now. He is going to start another magazine, or a web venture or relaunch ThinkFest – several such rumours are doing the rounds.

What makes his return seem certain though, is this shameful, insensitive, elitist, obnoxious and anti-women ‘column’ justifying the “brouhaha” and “grave error” (which is Mid-Day-speak for alleged sexual assault, and under Indian law, rape).

Here is the write-up.

One does not have to look too closely to see how smart semantics are put to use to whitewash Tarun Tejpal’s alleged crime.

Take note of the terms – “brouhaha” and “grave error”, not alleged rape; “relentless media campaign” which was “excessive” and “dragging through the coals”, not public accountability; an incident which gave his “detractors ammunition to demolish him”, not one which let people see him for who he really is; “celebrated writer”, not alleged rapist.

Now, Tejpal is a martyr who was targeted by the media for committing a petty crime, not an arrogant, drunk-on-power, disgraced editor who is out on bail on an alleged rape case. And even if this is your idea of sarcasm, Mid-Day, you did a pathetic job with it.

The justifications and convoluted reasoning made in the column to bring back to life a disgraced editor’s career are a justification of the alleged rape itself.

And this is not a one-off incident in India. Remember RK Pachauri and the deafening silence of TERI’s board members?

This kind of rapist-apologia – which are regular narratives in high-brow cocktail circuits – smacks of the upper-class misogyny which we accept with open arms as we spout liberalism while sipping on some fine wine.

The column is also a timely reminder of a similar campaign by the family of Brock Turner of Stanford University in the US, a convicted rapist. The father writes to the judge asking him to not send his rapist son to jail because he is an awesome sportsman, a great student and in general just a nice guy. It was just this ONE time that he raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster in the campus.

The most revolting part of the Tejpal-whitewash-campaign is that is done in the name of ‘liberalism’. Notice the phrases “the need for strong liberal voices called for” and “regressive thoughts and actions seem to rule” and “the good fight”.

We are not sure why Malvika Sanghvvi, the celebrity columnist who wrote it, had in her mind, but here is what she and MidDay should know – this has nothing to do with liberalism, and yet campaigns like these make the liberal edifice weak. It is this very kind of elitist and insensitive ‘liberalism’ which perpetuate rape culture. Next time you think about spewing venom at the Khap panchayats, give a thought to these well-educated, upper-class, upper-caste liberal saviours.

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