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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tarun Tejpal's first letter to the girl … shared by Shumaila

Tarun Tejpal's original letter leaked
From: "Tarun J Tejpal"
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 09:50:52
To: ...
Subject: Personal

Dear ...
This is not the formal apology you seek. That will follow in a few minutes too. This is the informal one, for you and me.
I am sorry at the immense distress that's been caused to you by my lapse of judgment, but I want you to know its been totally devastating for me too, in every possible way (and since you know Tiya and Geetan well, you would know what I am saying).
This is for me to figure out how it went so terribly misunderstood and wrong. To begin with, for ten years at Tehelka one has ensured no shadow of anything limits or cramps the women journalists. At every forum, public and private, I have lauded the great work done by Tehelka's women reporters and editors; and have personally always stayed at arm's length. You yourself were always treated with the highest regard and accommodation and affection, and nothing ever asked of you save great work. Your continuous growth was always a source of pride. That you were tasked to escort De Niro was merely the latest token of our trust.
The context that ill-fated evening, of our conversation, as you will recall, was heavily loaded. We were playfully and flirtatiously talking about desire, sex; you were telling me the Bob Geldof story in graphic detail, and about Aman, and the near-impossibility of fidelity; and of the aftermath of meeting me one stormy evening in my office when I was sitting watching the thunderclouds. I also want to clarify that yes, you did say at one point that I was your boss, and I did reply "that makes it simpler" but in the very same breath and sentence I said to you "I withdraw that straight away - no relationship of mine has anything at all, ever, to do with that".
It was in this frivolous, laughing mood that the encounter took place. I had no idea that you were upset, or felt I had been even remotely non-consensual, until Tiya came and spoke to me the next night. I was shocked and devastated at the time. Both because you felt I had imposed on you (which had neither been my reading or intention), and because I felt I had been totally irresponsible and foolish to have anything furtive to do with my daughter's intimate friend. At that very moment I was filled with shame, and still am. (And what is not true is that I ever, even remotely, whispered any word in intimidation.)
You have made it clear that I read it all wrong, and I will not dispute it, nor underplay your anger and hurt. This is easily the worst moment of my life - something ostensibly playful gone so horribly wrong, damaging of all that I hold dear in life, from people to principles.
I ask you to forgive and forget it. I will meet your mom and apologise to her too - and Aman if you so wish. I also want you to keep working at Tehelka as you always have, reporting to Shoma as you do. Both Tehelka and Shoma have never let you down.
My punishment has already been upon me, and will probably last till my last day.

Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel


Blogger Zakintosh said...

I saw this letter on Shumaila's website and posted it on Twitter and on my FB. Lots of people say that can't see it. So I have posted it here.

Whether it was Rape or Consensual Sex is for the court to decide. I just wanted to see the CCTV footage but I got peculiar responses.

Read this as another viewpoint and make up your own mind.

27 November, 2013 15:28

Blogger Amima said...

I read the rebuttal to the first letter by the Woman journalist. Important to read this one too:

This is the woman journalist's rebuttal to Tejpal's letter:

From: --------
To: Tarun J Tejpal
Subject: Re: Personal
1. The conversation from that night was not "heavily loaded" or "flirtatious" - you were talking about "sex" or "desire" because that is what you usually choose to speak to me about, unfortunately, never my work, which if you had had occasion to read, you might not have attempted to sexually molest me, and certainly would have known that there was no way that I would stay silent about it and just vanish. There was no "aftermath" of that evening with the "thunderclouds" - this is exactly what happened: I wanted to discuss the first story I had written about a rape survivor with you. Ritu called me to your office, I walked in and you were lying on the couch with the lights off. I asked you if you wanted me to turn he lights on, and you refused. You continued to lie on the couch. I sat on a chair across from you in the same room and told you the survivor's story. I wish again, that you remembered the professional reason I had met you that evening, instead of the storm and the thunderclouds.

2. This is what non-consent constitutes: the moment you laid a hand on me, I started begging you to stop. I invoked every single person and principle that was important to us - Tiya, Geetan, Shoma, (name deleted, the woman's father), the fact that you were my employer, to make you stop. You refused to listen. In fact, you went ahead and decided to molest me again on the following night. We have often spoken of "what turns men into beasts" at Tehelka edit meetings, you yourself have commissioned several stories on this. It is this - not being able to take no for an answer.

3. You never, even once uttered the following words: "I withdraw that straight away - no relationship of mine has anything at all, ever, to do with that". If your attempt at sexual molestation were really as consensual as you seem to imply that it was Tarun, why would you have suddenly switched to speaking in legal terms in a "frivolous, laughing" moment?

4. Not only did you lash out at me verbally for telling Tiya, you also sent me a text message the next morning saying "I can't believe you went and told her even the smallest thing. What a complete absence of understanding of a parent-child relationship".

Tarun, I can't believe you think molesting an employee your daughter's age, who is also your daughter's friend is something you'd describe as "the smallest thing". What an absence of understanding of what Tehelka stands for.
Unfortunately, your desire to apologize to (name deleted, her boyfriend) only reeks of your own patriarchal notion that men own and possess female bodies, and that since you violated what you recognize as his "property", you are in some way accountable to him. The only people you owe an apology to are your employees at Tehelka, for desecrating their and my faith in you. Please do not attempt any further personal correspondence with me - you lost that privilege when you violated my trust and body.

Read more at:

28 November, 2013 00:15

Blogger shumaila siddiqui said...

I am not in any way belittling the 'victim' here nor am I defending Tarun's act.He should have taken a no for a no whether he was in his senses or not. Don't ask me how because none are interested in the truth of the matter. But let me ask you something that's bothering me. I want to know what was the responsibility of the girl? When she says in her response to Tarun's first email that he was talking sex with her all along and not her work, shouldn't she have been alarmed a long time back? How is it that he kept on insulting her intellectual and professional capability (she says that at a point in her response that he never focused on her work) she should have raised her voice long time back! Ask me, I would be very uncomfortable walking into such a man's room who's been giving me clear leads.'The lights were off', she says 'and he was lying on the couch', Was she not alarmed even then? She even decides to enter the elevator by what time Tarun's transformation from 'man to beast' was complete.. Where art thou human and (more stronger) female instinct??? Finally, when he assaulted her the first time, she waited for the same thing to happen the next day?? Confuses me to death yet, Sire! Rape is rape because we live in a fact-of-the matter world.

28 November, 2013 12:17

Blogger Zakintosh said...

I put this post up on my blog because several people told me they could not read the post on Shumaila's website. I am glad that many people have read it … and the letter by the girl in response that Amima posted. I think more people should read all the stories.

I am neither for nor against the girl — I made sure never to mention her name anywhere on Twitter. I know it because of having seen her at ThinkFest.

Tarun (even though I do know him) has to accept what the court decides after looking at all evidence. I don't think I or anyone has the right to pre-judge it, but people do. Again, I do not criticise them. That's their choice, I guess.

The Indian media has gone haywire, just like the Pak media does. I hope they'll show the decency of not bringing his wife or his kids into this and writing articles. Yes, that I very certainly hope, as I would for my daughter in case I was being criticised.

A 'once-friend', which is how she'd now prefer to be known, has been overly critical of me for defending Tarun. I have done nothing but to retweet links that show that he must be given a fair trial, that the CCTV footage must be shown. There are enough media links favouring the girl, which maybe fine, but I think someone should get this out as a message, too. Whether it is bad for Tarun, I don't know. Both sides MUST be heard is what I want!!!

Sadly I am not too happy with most of the Indian Media which, at times, is worse than our own — and that's really something! Their bizarre handling of this is understandable. It sells papers/airtime. But its not the best way to approach this, in my opinion.

The BJP's extra-ordinary pressure was also disgusting, including Jolly's actions at Shoma's house. I haven't seen any Congress members come to the fore, but if they do, I'd hate that, too. Let the court decide!

I have been asked in email about what I would do if Tarun were my son. Nothing. I may be very fond of him, even cry at what has happened, but I'd have to let the law take its proper course and find out if he is true or not. Whether it is rape, molestation, murder, whatever. That's how I feel.

I have been asked by a chap (and again by the once-friend) on Twitter, who told me that I should not respond to her so I didn't, what would be my view if the girl were my daughter? Again, I'd hope the case was right and be helpful in all ways … but the final verdict would come from the court. Not me.

This is why we have courts. Personal emotions, however sad, cannot over-ride the court's finding — except through going to another court and so on. In the case of Talwars who have been given a Life Sentence in India (though there is little to say that they were guilty, since no evidence was found) there are several people who feel that they should appeal against the verdict. This is AFTER the court has made its decision, which I am in agreement with, too.

finally, the once-friend says I 'censored' the girl's mailed response. I didn't. Someone called Amima posted it as a comment. If she did, one will have to ask her why.

29 November, 2013 16:22

Blogger gurdip kaur said...

the first email apology shows that Tarun really thought it was consensual. The female 'VICTIM' never released it. One needs to ask why?
I will never hire this female 'VICTIM' if she were to come for a job interview because she has shown that she lacks professionalism by leaking emails which were not supposed to be leaked.

30 November, 2013 07:57


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