27 March. This one seminar – I did not want to miss it. No. Not because of the topic, but because of the speakers lined up – the key note address by my former professor of Communication Research Methods, special speaker: a friend professor of mine and also a founder VC of a Central University; chief guest: a former Bureau Chief of my favourite newspaper, to be followed by a later session by another cultural and political thinker, whom I never met (though came tantalisingly close to meeting him!), but always admired from distance, and so on.
I did not want to miss; so reached the spot by 8.40am; then realised, the seminar (inauguration) was at 10.30am. Returned (with great difficulty, hiring a jeep) home to complete some very important work, and then reached the seminar college at 11.00 am; fortunately, I did not miss anything of the seminar or formal programme.
Then started the inauguration, with the Chief Guest (the former journalist, a political analyst, and Bureau Chief). The man had plenty of information about media and women. But, at a women’s seminar (by a women’s college), he started abusing women – how, whenever a chance was given to them, they abused power or were dominating or corrupt, etc. He had enough examples, from the recent past: Barkha Dutt in the Niira Radia case, and many more women in media whom he did not name!
I was (like my immediate neighbours) wondering why he was called! And the organisers were not doing anything about it, even on the stage, as this sermonising by a male chauvinist was going on! Was it a case of paying to be beaten up?
Plus, Mr former Bureau Chief had far exceeded his five-minutes limit. Finally, almost after 20 minutes, someone had the sense to remind him (though politely and without drawing anybody’s attention) that he had exceeded his time-limit. He also said so.
Then came the M.C., and apologised to him saying that they did not mean to be mean; but just that they did not have enough time; that they had exceeded his five-minutes limit, and that they did not want to hear anymore of his women-bashing!