Thursday, June 15, 2023

Why writer Tanushree Bhowmik did not attend her own book launch

“All of us who write know how attached we are to our written words; how emotionally fulfilling it is to see those in print! Whether it is an article, a paper, being a contributing author or writing your own book. I am no different.,” mentions Tanushree Bhowmik in a facebook post.

Being a contributing author to the Bloomsbury Handbook of Indian Cuisine means a lot to me. It gave me the opportunity to work with someone I respect and look up to, Collen Taylor Sen, besides many other senior and peers whose work I respect and admire. Yet, when the book is going to be released today, I have decided to not attend the event. A decision that sits heavy on me.

The reason. The presence of Suhel Seth. I find myself unable to attend an event that puts a man like him at the centre stage. A man who six women, including author Ira Trivedi, accused of grave sexual misconduct. A man the TATA group refused to work with, a man taken off the panels of literary festivals. To what end? To lie low and make a comeback as if nothing ever happened. For him to take centre stage at Loya, a property owned by the TATA group. While we give lip service to feminist causes and cheer Suhel Seth in public forums.

It hurts especially badly because it isn't even as if he has a lot to say on food. Or has incomparable expertise on matters food and culinary! Not that it would be an excuse to support harassment and sexual misconduct. But here, he was dispensable but for our culture of silence and not wanting to rock a boat.

One might always make a comeback and say but why didn't the women file a formal complaint? Ask our Olympian wrestlers who did and what they are going through. Ask yourself why the voices of six women don't hold weight against a man.


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