Everybody is human

On Tuesday, November 12, 2013, Firstpost reported about a blog post by a woman lawyer, in which she stated that she had been sexually harassed by a retired Supreme Court judge in December 2012 when she was an intern with him.

NDTV.com reported that the Chief Justice of India had announced an inquiry into the allegations by three Supreme Court judges.

In an interview to Legally India, the woman lawyer said, “There’s this thing: a person who is a Supreme Court judge – you don’t expect a Supreme Court judge to harass somebody.”

This statement reminded me of a conversation many years back.

One afternoon, our General Manager, my colleague and I were returning to office after having attended a long meeting at a customer’s factory. All of a sudden, our GM, who was driving, asked, “Gentlemen, I want to ask you something off the record. I’ve heard some rumours about AJ and his (female) secretary. What do you guys know about this? Tell me whatever you know. Don’t hold back anything.” AJ was a senior member of our sales team.

I replied, “I’ve also heard the same rumours, but I don’t think they’re true. Yes, AJ is much friendlier with his secretary than other executives are with theirs, but in all fairness, AJ is much friendlier with all his juniors than other executives are. I’ve found no reason to believe it’s anything more than that.”

My colleague added, “AJ is married and has two kids. He’s a very decent person. I’m sure he won’t have an extramarital affair.”

Our GM replied, “Maybe the rumours are baseless, but it’s not right to say he won’t have an extramarital affair because he’s a very decent person. He may be a very decent person, but he is human. Everybody is human. And any human being can succumb to temptation.”

Everybody is human. This is a simple truth that many of us ignore at our own peril!

Any human being can succumb to temptation. Any human being can indulge in sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape, torture, murder, fraud and other crimes. Education, position, wealth, status, etc. is not necessarily a barrier. Consider the following cases:

Jagriti Singh, a dentist at New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and wife of a MP, was arrested last week for allegedly causing the death of her domestic help and assaulting another.

KPS Gill, former Punjab DGP, recipient of the Padma Shri in 1989, was convicted in 1996 for sexual harassment at a 1988 party.

Asaram Bapu has been accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at his ashram, and is currently under arrest.

Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the 69th Shankaracharya and head/pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, is under trial in two murder cases.

Rajat Gupta, alumnus of IIT Delhi and Harvard Business School, former Managing Director of McKinsey & Company, Inc. was “convicted in June 2012 on insider trading charges of four criminal felony counts of conspiracy and securities fraud.”

There are many more such examples.

Not all human beings are potential criminals. But, let us all remember:
Everybody is human. And any human being can succumb to temptation.

The message of this blog post is NOT that the aggrieved party should “understand” and hence try to pardon the perpetrator. Any crime and its perpetrator(s) should be dealt with suitably according to the law of the land.
The message of this blog post is: the fact that a person is highly educated and/or well-placed and/or wealthy and/or enjoys a good reputation does NOT mean that person will not succumb to the temptation of committing a crime.
I have issued this clarification in response to Vivek Shesh’s comment.