Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
A passage in his 2010 novel makes it clear the former IPCC chairman understands that it’s wrong for an older male boss to hit on a young woman new to his organization
Yesterday, I observed that the e-book edition of Rajendra Pachauri’s 2010 semi-autobiographical novel, Return to Almora, has been removed from Amazon stores worldwide, and that hardcover copies are becoming scarce and/or unusually expensive.
It turns out that Pachauri’s Indian publisher will still sell you an e-book as well as a hardcover. It will also permit you to browse the beginning of the book if you click the ‘READ SAMPLE’ button on its website.
What the sample does not include is a remarkable passage that appears three-quarters of the way through this novel. The male protagonist, Sanjay, catches up with Pooja – a woman he’d been obsessed with during their younger days. She tells him about the less-than-desirable relationship in which she’s currently involved.
Afterward, on his drive home, Sanjay concludes that Pooja has “a great talent for messing up her life.” Then we read this:
Her affair with her boss seemed ill-fated. It was the old familiar story of an older, more powerful man exploiting his position to seduce a younger, more impressionable woman who was new to the organization.
Five years after this book was released, Pachauri – who is, by any definition, an older, more powerful man – finds himself accused of sexual misconduct involving a woman 45 years younger than himself.
This woman, an employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) that Pachauri leads, has provided New Delhi police with a barrage of electronic messages he is alleged to have sent her. These messages began within days of her joining his organization at the beginning of September 2013.
The above passage is significant because it demonstrates that Pachauri is fully aware that the behaviour of which he is accused is wrong. Return to Almora‘s author fully understands that men who act this way are exploitative.
Elsewhere, we find a similar passage. Sanjay reads a newspaper account about a “fake holy man” who
pretended to do the world much good…He had duped many credulous women into having sex with him, but one of his intended victims had alerted the police. Further investigation revealed other victims. The scoundrel was involved in many other rackets as well…
Talk about life imitating art. A victim alerts police. Check. Other victims come forward. Check. The villain – who has pretended to be a spiritually-motivated saviour of the world – is revealed to be a scoundrel. Check.
Wow. Just wow.
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.