No Country for Horny Men: 7 Times Sexual Harassment Allegations Shook India

The 2000s have seen a lot of women coming out to hold men accountable in India

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Arunabh Kumar made sure that our Holi was a little more colourful than needed after the blog post on Medium accused him of sexual harassment. The Indian Fowler, an anonymous blogger on medium.com, made sure Arunabh Kumar, founder of The Viral Factory (TVF) is a poster-child for online comedy in India. TVF has been shaken to its core with more women coming out of the woods to narrate similar experiences.

This is not the first time that a man in power has been accused of sexual harassment. We take a look at seven other times this has happened in recent times.


1. Mahesh Murthy, Seedfund

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

Mahesh Murthy is known as of the finest critics of the Indian start-up eco-system. He calls ’em like he sees ’em. Which is why the whole community was shocked when Wamika Iyer, Founder of startup FrshDay.in published the details of her WhatsApp conversations with Murthy.


2. Bikram Choudhury, Hot Yoga

Image: Yanivnord via CC 2.0
Image: Yanivnord via CC 2.0

The founder of Hot Yoga was ordered to pay more than USD 7 million in damages to a former employee by a Los Angeles, California court for sexually assaulting here. Ironically, Choudhary was sued by his former legal advisor Minakshi Jafa-Bodden. Since that lawsuit, six more women have accused him of sexual assault.


3. Tarun Tejpal, Tehelka

Image: Michelle via CC BY-SA 2.0
Image: Michelle via CC BY-SA 2.0

Probably the most publicized of all the cases on this list, Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexual assault and rape by a colleague during an event in Goa in 2013. Tejpal was arrested and the trial is still underway. The former Tehelka Editor should have lost all goodwill when the charges came to light but there are quite a few people who still support him.


4. Mahmood Farooqi, Peepli Live

 Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Mahmood Farooqui was the co-director of the critically acclaimed filme Peepli Live. He was accused of rape by a 30-year old Columbia University scholar in 2015. A fast track court in New Delhi sentenced Farooqui to seven years imprisonment in 2016.


5. Phaneesh Murthy, Infosys and iGate

Image: Alchetron

The second Murthy on this list, Phaneesh Murthy was one of the brightest stars on the Indian IT landscape before his secretary Reka Maximovitch accused him of sexually harassing her. He had to resign from Infosys in 2002 and the company paid $3 million to Maximovitch as an out-of-court settlement. It didn’t seem that Murthy learned from his mistakes as he was sacked again in 2013 by iGate after another such incident.


6. RK Pachauri, TERI

Image: Wikipedia
Image: Wikipedia

Rajendra Kumar Pachauri was the head of TERI (The Energy and Resources Insititute) when he was accused by a former researcher of sexual harassment. The institution did its best to shield him and even promoted him after the scandal broke. Not TERI’s brightest moment.


7. David Davidar, Penguin Canada

Image: Alchetron
Image: Alchetron

David Davidar was one of the most respected men in the publishing industry around the world. When the Indian-born author was accused of sexual harassment and assault, the world was, once again, shocked. He was sacked as Penguin Canada head in 2010.

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