Voices Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 05:30
  In a pathetic and arrogant statement to the media, RK Pachauri, the Director General of The Energy Research Institute (TERI) expressed “delight” over a court order allowing him to enter his office. He said he would work towards ensuring that the organization is a safe workplace for women. It is a matter of no small shame that the Delhi court has allowed RK Pachauri, accused of sexual harassment by many women and one who registered the case, to visit all but two offices of the organization, the head quarters and the Gurgaon office where the complainant works. That is tantamount to saying that the top boss of the organization will have no control over other branches. What's worse is that even an internal enquiry by TERI found the complainant to be truthful. What is equally worrying is that some of India’s tallest people who are on TERI’s Governing Council – Naina Lal Kidwai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Deepak Parekh – otherwise very active in the media have maintained a deafening silence over the crass, crude and sexual text messages R.K. Pachauri allegedly sent to his sent to his victim. The destruction of evidence must be on over-drive. Why else would a man who is supposed to be on leave be allowed to return to the organization when he is the chief accused? The 79-year old Pachauri has allegedly sent 6000 text messages to his 29-year old colleague using language that is unfit for print. All the messages are now in the public domain which, if true, are testimony to rare perversion and debauchery in the mind of a man who spans continents in his purported quest to save the world. This is what the victim said. “On many occasions, against my wishes and despite knowing that I am totally against such behavior/act, Dr. Pachauri has grabbed my body by hugging me, holding my hand, forcibly kissing me and touching my body inappropriately.” In his defence, RK Pachauri has said his computer was hacked into.  The man has a way of presenting facts that would lead the gullible to take his word as sacrosanct. Take his Nobel Prize for example. He was the head of the Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when the organization shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with IPCC. While R.K. Pachauri received the award on behalf of the IPCC and rightly so, he left the blanks unfilled and rarely if ever corrected the impression that it was IPCC’s work that was recognized. A senior diplomat at the Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that received the prize told me RK Pachauri did not have the "courtesy" to celebrate the event with his colleagues. In an in-your-face column on this ugly situation, noted columnist Swaminathan Aiyar has called this behavior gender terrorism. In his blog Swaminomics, he has recalled conversations with other women who have told him about RK Pachauri’s sexual offences Read here Gender terrorism it is. The victims are women who in most cases need their jobs and the predators know this. That is what emboldens them. Once past the first crime, it leads criminals to go to the next one and another till criminal behavior becomes the norm and calls for accountability are shunned. There are institutional failures as well, but an institution reflects the personalities who govern it. I know one CEO who fired a sexual offender as well as the person who complained because she had mounted a work-place campaign to suit her ends. That is not the case with RK Pachauri. As the all-in-all at TERI, he has alleged to have unleashed terror among his women colleagues and it could be only a question of time when he resumes his habitual extra-curricular activities. Unless he leaves which under the current circumstances and his high-level accomplices, is not on the cards. Parallels are being drawn between l’affaire Pachauri and Dominique Strauss Kahn who also had to quit his job as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following charges of sexual assault and attack. He too was a serial offender, with one critical difference – DSK is brilliant. That does not excuse his behavior and he was punished and shamed though finally let off by a French court.  But RK Pachauri treats his work as play. As for the body of his work, history will judge it for whatever it is worth.