IndianExpose.com reproduces the article of Pallavi Gogoi currently working as Chief Business Editor of NPR that appeared in the The Washington Post yesterday.
Her article titled – ‘As a young journalist in India, I was raped by MJ Akbar’.
She recounts her horrific experience of sexual abuse by media personality MJ Akbar.
MJ Akbar held the position of Union Minister of State for External Affairs. He has now resigned due to 10 sexual abuse allegations against him:
“The M.J. Akbar I knew — editor in chief of the Asian Age newspaper — was a brilliant journalist. He also used his position to prey on me.
What I am about to share are the most painful memories of my life. I have shelved them away for 23 years.
Two Sundays ago, at my home in the United States, I came upon a story that several journalists had gone public about sexual harassment by Akbar from years ago. Akbar was most recently India’s junior foreign minister, a high-ranking government official who set foreign policy for the world’s largest democracy. He’s still today a member of the Indian Parliament and a member of the ruling party, which prides itself on advancing rights for young girls.
My head started spinning. I called two of my closest friends in India.
Both of them, dear friends who love me fiercely, know from what I shared with them more than two decades ago the pain and devastation that were wrought on me by Akbar. Around the same time, I also shared my story with my husband. It had been just a few weeks after meeting him, and I remember breaking down in sobs as I narrated it to him.
I was 22 years old when I went to work at the Asian Age, where the vast majority of us were women. Most of us who joined the outlet were barely out of college. We hadn’t even learned the most basic tools of journalism. Working in New Delhi under Akbar, we were star-struck. He was famous, an author of two well-regarded political books and a leading editor. In the span of about a decade, he helped launch two hugely successful publications in India: Sunday magazine and the Telegraph daily newspaper. The Asian Age, an international paper, was then his latest venture.
Akbar, who was in his 40s, always made sure we were aware of his superior journalistic skills. He marked our copy with his red-ink-filled Mont Blanc pen, crumpled our printouts and often threw them in the garbage bin, as we shuddered. There was never a day when he didn’t shout at one of us at the top of his voice. We rarely measured up to his standards.
I was mesmerized by his use of language, his turns of phrase, wishing that I could write like he did. So I took all the verbal abuse. After all, I was learning from the best. Or so I thought.
At 23, I became the editor of the op-ed page at the Asian Age. I would place calls to top columnists, giants of Indian politics and intellectual society, such as Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie and Nalini Singh. It was a big responsibility at a young age.
To read the entire article: