28 February, 2021

'It Has Ceased To Matter Whether He Accepts What I Say'

The woman who accused poet Sudeep Sen of sexual harassment in a Facebook post, talks about abuse of male power and the sexist power-play in the society...

'It Has Ceased To Matter Whether He Accepts What I Say'

A woman poet accuses a male poet of sexual harassment in an FB  post. In solidarity, around 15 poets pull out of an anthology he was editing. The accused, Sudeep Sen, vehemently denies the charges, and it veers around a key point. The occasion the complaint refers to is “two years old”, he tells Outlook . And “its timing with the ant­hology” makes it suspect. Her name had apparently not figured in it. The woman’s words, meanwhile, are redol­ent with accusations of textbook abuse of male power. Excerpts from an interview:

You referred to Sudeep Sen as “the Lord” in your FB post....

It’s the general familiarity with the figure (and the pattern of his behaviour) that led me to use the term. The post began as a resp­onse to a friend’s account of a tacit backlash he had to face regarding an unflattering review he had written for one of Sen’s books. Predatory behaviour, sexual and literary, is so deeply entrenched, it’s almost naturalised...the...

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