#MeeToo: Padma Bhusan awardee Jatin Das accused of sexual misconduct

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Bhubaneswar: The #MeeToo movement has shifted from film industry to media houses to literature industry and even the art industry now, with new allegations levelled against famous painter and Padma Bhusan Jatin Das, by activist Nisha Bora.

Joining the movement, Bora posted a detailed story of her horrifying encounter with the famous artist and narrated the entire incident day-wise.

Nisha said that she met Jatin Das through her father-in-law in the summer of 2004 at a dinner event at the India International Centre, Delhi. She claimed that at the event the painter asked her to assist him for a few days to organise his work material, to which she agreed as a huge fan.

According to the post, when Nisha first met Das at his home in Delhi things went well. But when she went to meet the painter at his studio on the second day, Das tried to grope her and forcefully kiss her on the lips.

Nisha wrote, “I visited Jatin in his studio, which was in Khidki Village. I don’t recall the time of day, but that it was well within daylight hours. He poured himself some whiskey; offered me one too, but I refused. The next thing I knew, he attempted to grab me. I wriggled out of his embrace, flustered. Then he did it again. This time, he managed a clumsy kiss on my lips. I recall the feeling of his beard on my skin. I pushed him away, and moved away from him. At that moment, he said, Come on, it would be nice. Or something like that. What I recall clearly was his disbelief that I was pushing back. ”

In her post, she also revealed that two days after the incident (Day 4) she received a call from Nandita Das, who had received Nisha’s number from her father, to help her find a young female assistant like her.

“At that time, I recall that phone call felt like a knife being twisted in my gut, because I had so, so much admiration for her, and it had all become so incredibly filthy that moment,” she wrote.

In the same post, Nisha also revealed the reason behind why it took her so long to come out with her story. She wrote: “It wasn’t me, it was him. This is something it has taken me all of 14 years to realise I had been married for about a year. I worked myself into a hole believing that talking about it would make trouble for them, that I had no business disrupting their social equilibrium, that I had somehow landed myself in this spot, and that it was my problem to deal with’. I felt guilty and ashamed.”

“This moment is galvanizing. It has given me strength and made me look at my wounds, helped me learn and realize a great deal. I hope this will give his other survivors some strength to talk about him if they need to. Here is what I have learnt from that experience (and countless others). The damage is not just in that instant – because in that instant, yourself defense instincts peak. The less damage you can get away with, the better. The trauma that follows later, in deciphering what the incident meant and what your response should be – figuring out strategies to carry that memory, ways to wire it into your identity, learning to make or not make it a part of who you see in the mirror each day… that is where the trauma is. The impact is lifelong,” she added.

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