24 January, 2021

The Council­ In Thrall Of King Tereus

By creating a new position for Pachauri right now, TERI is ruining its image and letting down its staff

Illustration by Saahil
The Council­ In Thrall Of King Tereus

Last Monday TERI’s employees were asked to gather for an imp­romptu meeting at their Lodi Road headquarters in Delhi. R.K. Pachauri, the disgraced former director-general of the environment research outfit, had something to declare. As cups of chai and samosas were passed around, Pachauri announced that new director-general Ajay Mathur was finally taking over. Pachauri then revealed his own elevation as TERI’s executive vice-chairman, leaving his audience stumped.

One person familiar with what transpired says that Pachauri cracked a “sick joke” soon after his disclosures. Grinning, he told employees that TERI now has “two rookies at the top”—a rookie D-G and a rookie executive V-C—making many in the gathering wince, as they felt the joke was on them.

In fact, going by the headlines and outrage on social media, the joke is on all of us. A powerful man with serious criminal charges, including that of sexual harassment pending against him, has got sanction from one of India’s most respected environment research...



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