Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations, Rajendra Pachauri’s semi-autobiographical novel is being taken out of circulation. What possessed him to publish it under his own name while still IPCC chairman?
In 2010, the then 69-year-old head of the most important climate entity in the world published a novel chronicling the life of a male protagonist born in the same year and in the same part of India as its author. One observer called Rajendra Pachauri’s Return to Almora a “semi-biographical romp.” Another noted that the fictional Sanjay Nath studied engineering, as did Pachauri.
In an article in the Indian Express, Pachauri himself said:
Sometimes, I’d be so overwhelmed trying to capture an incident of my life for the book that I would be moved to tears.
In other words, the parallels between the book’s hero and the man who spent 13 years as the planet’s top climate official have long been obvious. Only now, though, is this book being taken out of circulation.
The e-book edition of Return to Almora has vanished from Amazon stores around the world. It is no longer for sale on Amazon.com or at Amazon outlets in India, Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, or Spain.
The hardcover edition also seems to be disappearing. Amazon India has no copies of its own, and so links to third-party sellers. Ditto Amazon Germany – in that case, the third-party sellers are demanding €56 per copy. Amazon UK currently says it’ll be “5 to 6 weeks” before the book can be shipped.
Last month, a 29-year-old employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) that Pachauri has led for more than 30 years went to the police. It appears that, after her accusations of sexual misconduct against Pachauri became public, a decision was made to withdraw his novel.
It has always been difficult to imagine a CEO of a major corporation – the public face of the firm – retaining his job after releasing such a work under his own name rather than a discreet nom de plume. But Pachauri has long behaved as though he’s immune to run-of-the-mill consequences.
My guess is that his legal team – unlike the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – is actually comprised of grown-ups. I expect that, after sitting down with this novel, they starting feeling rather ill.
The last thing a man accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour needs is for the world to remember the infantile manner in which he has written about these matters.
Back in 2010, Pachauri rejected the suggestion that his work contains perhaps too many gratuitous references to sex.” This is absolutely ridiculous,” he replied. The novel is, he insisted, “400 pages all about spirituality.”
In the interests of posterity, I hereby present screenshots from the e-book I purchased in 2013 (click any excerpt to enlarge). This is Pachauri’s idea of spirituality:
Donna Laframboise is a Canadian investigative journalist and author of the 2013 book, Into the Dustbin: Rajendra Pachauri, the Climate Report & the Nobel Peace Prize. See Amazon.com, Amazon India, and other Amazon stores.