Aroon Purie and Vinod Mehta on Tarun Tejpal


As former Tehelka editor Tarun J. Tejpal faces imminent arrest for the alleged sexual assault of a junior employee at a conclave organised by the magazine, two veteran editors—Aroon Purie of India Today and Vinod Mehta of Outlook*—write about the callow Chandigarh boy who branched out to become a brand.

At India Today, Tejpal was in-charge of the books pages and at Outlook, he was the features editor who briefly became managing editor.

The latest issue of India Today has Tarun Tejpal on the cover with the headline “Disgrace” (above), while Outlook has a cover-corner, on “Tehelka after Tarun”.


Aroon Purie, editor-in-chief of India Today:

“Tarun Tejpal worked in this magazine 25 years ago for six years. Dare I say I liked him. He was a talented writer and knew it. In today’s terms, a ‘real dude’.

“Even at the age of 25 when I interviewed him for the job of a senior sub-editor he had an intellectual swagger about him and unabashed literary ambitions…. When he resigned in July 1994, Tarun was honest enough to say that there ere “only so many essays and reviews I can churn out before ennui drowns me.

“Everyone has their own theory on why a man of such intellect, talent and success ended up being charged with sexual assault. Mine is a simple one. It is the ‘God’ complex which I have seen in so many talented men. They reach such heights of success that they live in their own world and think the normal rules of social behaviour don’t apply to them, neither do the laws of the land.”

Vinod Mehta, editorial chairman, Outlook*:

“TarunTejpal was my deputy at Outlook for nearly six years. Professionally, his contribution to the magazine was immense….

“To say I do not endorse Tarun’s conduct would make me sound like a lunatic.  How can I, even tangentially, defend sexual molestation? Tarun has committed a horrific blunder and compounded it with clumsy efforts to vilify the victim….

“The abuse of power in the media, especially in the higher echelons, is rampant. Editors sexually exploit and harass trainees and junior staff with a crudity which is unbelievably cynical. The threat is always the same: if the girl “cooperates” she not only keeps her job but enjoys rapid promotion. If she doesn’t she is shown the door.

“It is the worst kept secret in our profession but it dare not speak its name. Some of the biggest luminaries in Indian journalism stand accused. Who they are is known both inside and outside the trade. The shameful silence needs to be broken.”

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Tarun J. Tejpal steps aside as editor of Tehelka

Life yourselves up, dearie, or get into my elevator

POLL: Is sexual harassment rampant in Indian media?

Online petition to protect Tehelka journalist’s privacy

Tarun Tejpal was trapped in a skin not his own’

Tarun Tejpal: Fear and self-loathing in Goa


Tarun Tejpal on the five facets of his life

How Congress regime stepped in to help Tehelka

A magazine, a scam, a owner & his Goan house

NYT, WSJ weigh on Tehelka‘s Goa controversy

Tehelka promoter says he didn’t turn off FW tap


  1. Vistasp Hodiwala

    Why don’t you start by breaking it Mr. Mehta? The shameful silence that dare not speak its name as you have so eloquently put yourself…

  2. mulakh

    it’s indeed sad to read the fable falling in disgrace.and what he has done is also despicable. since it has been revealed.otherwise, it’s an accepted practice in all ‘arts’. remember what shobha de wrote in her novels. anyway.
    i had a brief encounter with tarun when he was initially working as the magazine editor of the financial
    express– prabhu chawla was then the editor of FE. he was/is talented writer. his recent most novel has been reviewed in NYTimes, WSjournal, in most prominent publications in the usa. like oscar wilde, earnest hemingway,and other masters of the pen / word, he’ll emerge a great writer when he’s done with the case. i’ve no doubt it. maybe, he turns out another piece where he may have to be for the coming times.

  3. Anon

    Comparing Tejpal with Wilde & Hemingway just because his work was reviewed in NYT & WSJ makes no sense. Legendary is time-tested. Many leaders who were considered legends (thanks to textbooks written by a certain mindset) have fallen from grace in the public eye.

  4. “The shameful silence”, as put by Vinod Mehta, cannot be taken for granted as shown in the latest case. If any senior journalist dares to misbehave, he/she will be exposed in no time as young interns/journalists will not take it lying down any more!

  5. Kumar Or Zee.

    It will be a greatest story in this digital era, if ever it is written down in black & white.
    In this Digital age bring it out you big guns.
    Do it now

  6. Suresh K

    Mr. Mehta should break the silence, who’s stopping him?!

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