'I didn't know he was a habitual offender': Yamini on Gouridasan Nair's resignation

Yamini's blog post narrating an incident of sexual harassment, was followed by comments of similar accounts from other women who were mentored by Gouridasan Nair, who was Resident Editor of The Hindu, Kerala.
'I didn't know he was a habitual offender': Yamini on Gouridasan Nair's resignation
'I didn't know he was a habitual offender': Yamini on Gouridasan Nair's resignation
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C Gouridasan Nair has resigned from his post of Resident Editor, The Hindu, Kerala. N Ram, The Hindu Group chairman, has tweeted: Gauridasan Nair has resigned with effect from October 17, 2018, and his resignation has been accepted with immediate effect.

N Ram's tweet is also pretty much the gist of his mail to Yamini Nair, a Delhi-based journalist, whose blog post from a few days ago, appears to have led to the resignation.

Yamini had written in detail about an incident on a post that she thought would go unnoticed. It was just an opening up of a long ago-incident but one that had left her devastated – sexual harassment by a man she considered a guru, a mentor she respected.

She had not named anyone and believed she wrote a very vague account. She was shocked to receive such a huge response to the post, nearly everyone guessing the man to be Gouridasan Nair. Women wrote to her narrating similar or worse experiences with the man they had all respected and trusted.

“When I wrote the blog, I had no intention of naming or shaming him, in my mind it was an incident buried long ago. But seeing the response, I knew I had to stand my ground for the other girls who reached out to me. Some called, some commented. I met one who was just 17 when he harassed her,” Yamini tells TNM.

It is then she realised he was a habitual offender, that she couldn’t just leave it as a blog post anymore and had to stand by the many other women – young girls among them. She tweeted that she was willing to cooperate with 'the organisation's probe'. The Hindu made note of it. Gouridasan went on leave till he would retire in December. She then wrote to N Ram and copied Malini Parthasarathy, co-chairperson, The Hindu Group’s Publishing Company. Yamini made it clear that she believed 'going on leave' was not enough punishment for a man who caused so much hurt to so many, she wrote as politely as she could. N Ram wrote to her again - Gouridasan has resigned and the resignation has been accepted.

Yamini had at first felt taken aback, when a blog she wrote began to be talked about so much, when a man she hadn’t named got dragged in. She was upset when a pro-right web portal took his name with her post, when she hadn’t.

Gouridasan Nair

“It is true I was devastated and it took me two years to overcome it. But I did get over it, I haven’t thought of it in years,” Yamini says.

It was just a coming out that happened with the Me Too movement. Until it wasn’t.

“I was shocked by the response. I put the post at 10.30 pm one night and till 2.30 am I had not kept my phone down. I must have received about 150 to 200 calls in one day, everyone guessing his name. That’s when I know he is a serial offender,” Yamini says.

In her case, there wasn’t any legal evidence. This was a time before Google began monitoring your every movement. This was the time of Nokia 1100s.  

N Ram had told TNM earlier that The Hindu has taken it very seriously when Yamini communicated informally that she was ready to talk to the Internal Complaints Committee. But the ICC could do nothing about a case so old, and Yamini too was not an employee of The Hindu at the time.

An explanation was however asked and that’s the time Gouridasan said he was going on leave till his retirement in December.

“But the latest comment of a gruesome account on my blog came from a young woman who worked within the purview of the organisation. He did not deserve sympathy anymore,” Yamini says.

That comment came from a woman who was only 18 at the time of the incident, in 2013. She had been an intern at The Hindu’s Thiruvananthapuram office, and towards the end of her internship, gone out to lunch with him. She informed her parents, thought nothing of it and went for lunch with a man she thought so highly about. He invited her home, to give her a book. She went not knowing his family wouldn’t be there.

Explaining the harassment she faced in detail, she wrote, "I made my disapproval extremely apparent with my words and reminded him of his impropriety at which juncture he had to rescind on his intentions for some semblance of morality.”

And goes on: “If one asks me why I didn't retort violently, I remind you again that I was 18, shocked out of my wits and despite being the cynosure of attention all my life, never had I been denigrated this cruelly. I realised with him despite my legal education, that there is statute of limitations on being an absolute 'douche-bag', to put it colloquially.”

It may not have been only her letter, Yamini reckons, it could have been many such that made him resign. 

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