Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

Tehelka case: Read Tarun Tejpal’s letter to the victim

‪If an apology can heal,please consider this an unconditional one.‬

Dear XXX

This is the hardest thing I will ever do in my life. You are a young woman I have been very proud of,as a colleague’s daughter,and then as a colleague in my own office. I have watched you grow and mature professionally into a journalist of great integrity and promise.

It wrenches me beyond describing,therefore,to accept that I have violated that long-standing relationship of trust and respect between us and I apologise unconditionally for the shameful lapse of judgement that led me to attempt a sexual liaison with you on two occasions on 7 November and 8 November 2013,despite your clear reluctance that you did not want such attention from me.

I understand the extreme distress you have been feeling and if regret could turn time back,the force of mine would surely place us all back in a space and time before this terrible lapse.

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I know you feel I used my position as Editor,Tehelka to force my attention on you,and I acknowledge that I did at one point say to your contention that I was your boss,“That makes it simpler,” but I do want to put on record that the moment those words escaped my lips,I retracted them saying “I withdraw that straight away – no relationship of mine has anything at all,ever,to do with that”. I want to reiterate that again today: despite my colossal lapse,working and succeeding in Tehelka will never be predicated on anyone acquiescing to anything untoward. It never has and never will.

Having said that though,I acknowledge that there is an inherent disbalance of power in my position as editor-in-chief and you as an employee of Tehelka and there is absolutely no ground or circumstance in which I should have violated the propriety and trust embedded in that relationship.

Tehelka has a proud legacy and body of work,to which you yourself and legions of other journalists have contributed. As the founder and editor-in-chief,I have helmed and nurtured this proud institution,and I cannot imagine what insanity drove me to compromise these long,proud years of trust and public work.


There are many,many reasons,therefore,why I am smothered with regret. But I want you to know that foremost among them is the fact that I have hurt you and broken your trust in me,and that of many others around me.

I have often spoken for the absolute rights and freedoms of women,and it shames me beyond words,to find myself located in this awful context. I would say it was a moment of insanity,except that would mean evading responsibility for it,and that I will not do. I hold myself,first and last,accountable.

I know Shoma has urged you not to leave Tehelka,and even as I acknowledge that I have lost the right to say this to you,I would urge you not to leave either. At the very least,I would like to assure you that the space to do your work proudly and freely,without worrying about fear or favour,will always be available to you here.


For long years,you have known a different man,a man and editor you trusted and were proud to know. In extreme contrition,I would like you to know that but for this unconscionable lapse,that man still exists and holds you in highest regard.

If an apology can heal,please consider this an unconditional.


First published on: 23-11-2013 at 12:03:02 pm
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