By Rakesh Raman
Tarun Tejpal, who is now being labeled as the most famous rapist in India, is actually facing his inevitable destiny like the blue jackal in the Panchatantra story that most of us have read.
Blue jackal accidentally got a blue color on his body and cheated others in the jungle by projecting himself as a strange and powerful animal. But when his artificial blue color went off, animals recognized him and killed him instantly.
Here’s a similar case now in front of us. After the twisted admission of his recent guilt that he “stooped down” to outrage the modesty of his female colleague in the elevator of a Goa hotel, Tejpal’s soul is already dead, though he may be carrying his 50-year-old body around – now with the aim to hide it from others.
Most who know Tejpal in India’s journalistic circles also know that he is neither a true journalist nor an upright businessman. After a few small jobs, he began his actual journalistic career at a low, entry-level position on the desk of India Today magazine during the mid-1980s. Then he aimed to go from the obscurity of the subbing desk to the editorial limelight by hook or by crook.
So, eventually he went on to become the managing editor of Outlook magazine. But those familiar with the Outlook culture know that the magazine repeatably hired naïve people as its managing editors to give its aging editorial head relief from the day-to-day administrative affairs like signing the sick leaves and conveyance bills of journalists.
Subsequently, in the year 2000, Tejpal launched his own Tehelka magazine. Most who don’t understand the subtleties of journalism think Tejpal was bringing truth to the fore through his magazine. But actually he has been doing sensational, yellow journalism with his eyes on quick fame and fortune. And to a great extent, he succeeded in this evil mission.
Today, many big politicians, civil society members, and others from the media and entertainment fields are associated with Tejpal and his secretly sprawling ventures. But many know that he has been using unfair practices on the professional front.
For example, people accuse him of denying credit / acknowledgement to journalists who actually did investigative stories for his magazine, enjoying free junkets, taking corporate money to run his editorial projects, killing stories in quid-pro-quo deals, etc. – all of which are considered highly unethical practices in journalism.
But in his blind chase to make a fast buck, Tejpal threw all the professional ethics in the bin. The extent of his lack of understanding of the editorial profession can be estimated from the fact that in this particular Goa case, he was using the services of the female journalist as a chaperone (or an escort) to male celebrities, as it has been reported.
While most journalists in India are not properly trained for ethical journalism, they don’t understand the dos and don’ts of the profession. No right-thinking journalist would ever accept to become an escort to others while this job is done mostly by PR execs who can go to any extent to please their customers.
But Tejpal claims to be a seasoned journalist. Why did he ask or allow his female journalist subordinate to work as an escort during the recent Goa conference where the reported “rape” incident happened?
In fact, acceptance to work as an ‘escort’ (the word has many different connotations) by his female journalist colleague made Tejpal believe that it was her consent for all such jobs that he later mentioned in his “consensual theory” to defend himself.
But as his journalism lacks logic, his statements also are random and baseless. For example, if the female journalist was ready for this encounter (as he hints), then why should it be in the elevator and not in a proper room? Tejpal fails to explain.
On the other hand, the victim of Tejpal’s ‘hot desires’ acted smartly in this case by first asking him to tender an apology, admitting his guilt – which he did. When his apology was circulated publicly, she took the matter further because now he won’t be able to change his stance.
Otherwise, Tejpal and his cronies would have changed the entire complexion of the case by concocting false stories to defend him. While it may not be Tejpal’s first case of custodial molestation of women colleagues, he has been caught smartly in this case. All this shows that he can’t even think properly, let alone handling an intellectually demanding job like journalism.
In the past, he has been given some journalism awards also by foreign media. But people who understand the media markets know that any editorial venture is not supposed to distribute awards. This is a wrong practice.
[ Also Read: Is the TIME Right to Honor Zuckerberg of Facebook? ]
Since media industry is facing the effects of recession, foreign media companies exploit consumer sentiment to woo more buyers in new markets (like India) by giving awards to those who are somehow in the news without actually analyzing the credibility of their work. In Tejpal’s case, they leveraged the sensation he created through his magazine. And Tejpal suddenly became a big name in India.
Now he has spread his reputation systematically like viral to attract other high and mighty in the country. With this monstrous profile, now Tejpal will leave no stone unturned to see his name cleared from this alleged rape case. Since India is a widely known country of crooks with rampant corruption happening everywhere, there is a likelihood that he will go scot-free from the rape allegations.
But his true color is now clearly visible and like the blue jackal of the Panchatantra story he has already died – at least, in his own eyes.