इस उम्मीद के साथ कि और साथी भी इस पर अपना रिफ्लेक्शन लिखेंगे.
सतीश कुमार सिंह
I have been observing for the past few days that a lot is being discussed regarding Tejpal – the accused editor of Tehelka. Also I saw that few people posted about it in Facebook. Some people are of the opinion that every person has their own version of ‘truth’. But my worry is over the silence of men regarding such issues. It made me think about myself and I realized that perhaps there is a fear somewhere in my mind. Then, I felt that perhaps the same fear is seated in the mind of other men as well. Are we afraid that our opinions on such matter might be politically incorrect? Are we silent because of this fear? Are we silent because the right-wing are blowing the issue out of proportion? Are we not speaking up because Tejpal, the ex-editor of Tehelka had done many recommendable works prior to this issue which had brought about a lot of positive upheaval in the country? But my question is, did Tejpal not know that he was committing a sexual offence? Even if he felt that there was consent from the women, was he unaware of the notion of power relations or power dynamics?
This morning I was talking with three male acquaintances of mine and the conversation somehow lead to pondering what are and should be the responsibility of organizations towards such issues/concerns. I was reading today’s edition of Hindustan Dainik, and another question came up in my mind. Samajwadi Party leader, Shri Naresh Agrawal said that he was against the formation of a law against sexual harassment as the law can be used to exploit men and men would hesitate to employ women in their organizations, institutions, businesses etc. According to him he had been told by a few officers that they hesitate to employ women as personal secretary as they fear that the law can be used against them. I wonder if this is a fear in the mind of a selected few officers or is this a common fear in most of men? If many men aren’t afraid then why didn’t they speak up against it? Why aren’t men, in large number, speaking up against Tejpal? And if men are speaking up against him then why did this happened only after Tejpal himself admitted to having committed the offense? If an intern working under a former Judge of Supreme Court was exploited by him then what should be our reaction or action towards it? It is not even clear yet whether cases under the new law of sexual harassment be taken to civil court or criminal court? Another dilemma today is whether safety for women be only dealt through law such that CCTV cameras are to be fitted even in elevators. Also I want to ask whether we talk about such issue/concerns within the institution or organization that we work in. Have we taken up the required steps to make our work space or organization or institution a safe space against sexual harassment? Should we not be engaged in such self reflection and retrospection and also do it constantly? Or whether the sexual right of a person is being controlled in the name of sexual exploitation? Should we be silent when somebody we know dearly commits a sexual offense? I feel and do expect that these fears in the mind of men regarding this concern be spoken of and discussed more openly. And even if we fear that the law can be misused then that also need to be addressed and discussed. Silence over this dilemma is not going to solve the problem..
With a hope that many of my friends will also put forth their reflections on the matter…
Satish Kumar Singh”