May 19, 2012

Sidhartha Mallya ne tweet kiya: The sameness of response to molestation

On the 18th of May the Delhi Police arrested Luke Pomersbach, an IPL player owned by the Bangalore team, on charges of molesting a woman and assaulting her fiancé. This incident was followed by Sidhartha Mallya, ‘director’ of the Bangalore Royal Challengers, tweeting the following:

“The girl who is accusing Luke is saying he hit her ‘fiancé’…what a load of fucking shit. She was all over me last night and asked for me (sic) bbm pin, so if he was her fiancé she wasn’t exactly behaving like a future wife. Everyone wants their 15 minuets (sic)”

It would be boring if it weren’t so incredibly outrageous. Every time a female being reports molestation there is always that someone who knows exactly why it’s all a lie (and why it’s all her fault). Why single out Sidhartha Mallya? He’s in the august company of Chief Ministers, film stars and the more plebeian company of your neighbour, my relative, her uncle.

But then again, why should we not single out Sidhartha Mallya’s appalling tweets following the molestation charges against Luke Pomersbach? Why should we not protest IPL team owners behaving like feudal lords and treating the world (and cricket stadiums and security guards…) as their personal fiefdoms where they can say whatever they want? Sidhartha Mallya might not exactly be the owner of the Royal Challengers but in the snug little world of nepotism it might as well be all the same. What else would explain the fact that Mr. Mallya Junior has neither been censured, nor made to retract his tweets by Mr. Mallya Senior (who should technically be his boss)? Or, for that matter, why have no officials from the IPL or the BCCI, other IPL owners or players spoken out till now against his statements in a public forum?

My concern is not so much with the specifics of the actual incident. No, Mr. Mallya (Junior), I do not know what happened, I was not there, but I will not ‘shut the fuck up’ because neither were you. And even if you were there as eye witness nothing gives you the right to dissolve any allegation of sexual harassment into the ‘character’ of the complainant. I would have added ‘especially if you are in a position of responsibility’, except I am not sure exactly where the IPL franchise lies in terms of accountability even though it is certainly dealing with public money.

I’m not going to go into the obvious implications in his words that because the woman was ‘all over him’ and not ‘behaving like a future wife’ she couldn’t actually have been molested, therefore it was ‘idiotic’ for her to file charges. Neither am I going to go into structure of the IPL itself and its relationship with women (because that would deserve a post by itself). For the moment I am just stunned that Sidhartha Mallya has thus far been allowed to get away with his words.

It’s heartening to note, however, that his tweets haven’t been benignly received and that there is a fair amount of noise being made about it in the public sphere, including criticism by the National Commission for Women. Twitter is divided; some tweeters support Mr. Mallya’s ‘guts’ and daring to be ‘politically incorrect’ whilst others condemn his words. It would be interesting to see how the next few days pan out. Will the world of cricket take a stance on the tweets or will they take the advice of the director of the Bangalore team and ‘just enjoy the cricket’?

4 comments to Sidhartha Mallya ne tweet kiya: The sameness of response to molestation

  • ‘Neither am I going to go into structure of the IPL itself and its relationship with women (because that would deserve a post by itself).’

    Please write this post. It’s about time.

    Also. ‘Daring to be politically incorrect’? Like it’s a good thing? People should really try to unpack what they’re saying. ‘Daring to be sexist’. ‘What a brave position to take in our society.

    • Koyel Lahiri

      It never ceases to amaze and amuse me when people start feeling the ‘burden’ of political correctness. Oh you poor things! I want to say to them and giggle.

      Hopefully I’ll get around to the IPL post soon. It’s been on my mind since the IPL began.

  • I tried looking at how twitter responded to this tweet. It’s disappointing that no one else seems to have expressed outrage except for ‘Innocent Bystander’.

  • Sorry. I take that back. There definitely seems to be a significant amount of outrage to the tweet among twitter people, as you correctly point out.

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