Glass can lacerate severely. Especially the glass that shatters when one makes a mistake that is life altering. Tarun Tejpal is symptomatic of the powerful. And its first major calamity. In this country we have become used to the powerful thinking they can get away. And they do. But things are changing. There are sections of the media including my good friend Arnab Goswami who does not have an agenda. I have often been asked about Arnab and all I tell people is you will never see him at a party either hosted by a Parameshwar Godrej or a Prithviraj Chavan. Thus there is no quid pro quo and nothing to fear. Tarun should have realised we are no longer a scared nation.
Instead we have become an angry nation and for all the right reasons. Too many people have taken this country for a ride too many times. Many of us want our cosy existence to remain undisturbed. Many of us will get onto television and berate those who aren’t like us but will be very careful of people whom we may have been friends with.
In today’s India you can’t choose between your friends and those who you don’t know or don’t like. We are veering towards a society that by and large wants to see the right thing done. And in this rush towards seeing the right thing done, there may be a loss of balance either in reportage or for that matter intensity but that is par for the course. I was asked over the last one week if the media had gone over the top. My response was I didn’t care if it had. It is important at times to lose your mind in order to reflect on sanity. That is critical. I was also told that the media was targeting Tarun unfairly. Perhaps. But then many could accuse Tejpal of the same. It is not important who says what. What is paramount is the respect and gravity with which we treat the victim and her complaint. She herself said that she was railed against wealth, power and influence. We have to assuage her that we are still not a banana republic. That we have laws, which are designed to deliver justice.
By the same token, Justice AK Ganguly accused of sexual harassment by his intern, must also stand trial. He must be punished perhaps more severely, if found guilty, because what he did was a violation of the sanctity of the office he held. I was delighted when the Supreme Court revealed his name. Now they must reveal their strategy to lead him on the path of punishment. That will be the correct thing to do. And it will be fair. Judges are very easily pricked. They must now also face the full force of the law if they are deviant in their behaviour. They are not special. They just hold special positions.
In many ways, I am delighted at the India we are re-shaping. We need to bring the powerful to book be they in Corporate India or in politics. I am amazed that Jignesh Shah is roaming free after what has happened to NSEL. He should be in prison if what he is rumoured to have done is true. I believe he came with powerful benefactors: they too must be named and shamed. Let us stop handling rogues that afflict our nation with kid gloves. Many of them belong to prison and that is where they should head.
India now needs to have zero tolerance for those who betray society and those who betray their nation. For far too long, we have lived in an era of tolerance. We need to change that.