For her July 2016 cover story, “Hostile Climate,” Nikita Saxena, the web editor at The Caravan, investigated the allegations of sexual harassment against RK Pachauri, the former director general of The Energy and Resources Institute, or TERI. Saxena’s reporting suggested that Pachauri had, for years, been systematically harassing women employed at TERI. In the following excerpt from the story, she details the various accounts she heard from present and former women employees of the institute. Saxena’s reporting also uncovered how TERI fostered a tacit acceptance of Pachauri’s conduct, often making it hard for his employees to even recognise his actions as sexual harassment.
The research associate who joined TERI when she was 22 years old was thrilled when she was offered a job there. She was determined to prove herself capable beyond the role she had taken up. “As it is, I am very ambitious,” she told me, almost apologetically. “I would say that I would like to do so much more.”
Right away, Pachauri seemed impressed with her. “He would really go out of the way to make you feel special when you joined,” she said. Although she did not report to him directly, she “was absolutely enamoured by the fact that I would be working with someone who had an international stature and larger-than-life figure.”