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P Rajagopal, founder of the Saravana Bhavan chain of restaurants, went to jail in 2019 for the 2001 murder of an employee whose wife he was intent on marrying. Extract from a retelling of the sensational murder, by The Indian Express National Editor Nirupama Subramanian. Here’s a counterfactual: had social media existed in 2001, with […]


Updated: August 20, 2021 4:26:10 pm

P Rajagopal, founder of the Saravana Bhavan chain of restaurants, went to jail in 2019 for the 2001 murder of an employee whose wife he was intent on marrying. Extract from a retelling of the sensational murder, by The Indian Express National Editor Nirupama Subramanian.

Here’s a counterfactual: had social media existed in 2001, with its hashtags and viral videos, would the powerful Pitchai Rajagopal have managed to get away with his single-minded sexual pursuit of a former employee’s daughter for over half a decade? More pertinently, could a murder have been averted had Jeevajothi been able to splash her story over Facebook or Twitter? Perhaps. Perhaps not. After all, the #MeToo movement in India has largely remained confined to English-speaking professional women in big cities. Jeevajothi was facing up to Rajagopal in 2001, at a time when there was no Twitter, Insta or WhatsApp. Back then, for a twenty-something woman determined to fight off a predatory male, it meant almost a hand-to-hand combat for self-protection and self-preservation.

P Rajagopal, founder of the Saravana Bhavan chain of restaurants, went to jail in 2019 for the 2001 murder of an employee whose wife he was intent on marrying. Extract from a retelling of the sensational murder, by The Indian Express National Editor Nirupama Subramanian.

Here’s a counterfactual: had social media existed in 2001, with its hashtags and viral videos, would the powerful Pitchai Rajagopal have managed to get away with his single-minded sexual pursuit of a former employee’s daughter for over half a decade? More pertinently, could a murder have been averted had Jeevajothi been able to splash her story over Facebook or Twitter? Perhaps. Perhaps not. After all, the #MeToo movement in India has largely remained confined to English-speaking professional women in big cities. Jeevajothi was facing up to Rajagopal in 2001, at a time when there was no Twitter, Insta or WhatsApp. Back then, for a twenty-something woman determined to fight off a predatory male, it meant almost a hand-to-hand combat for self-protection and self-preservation.

P Rajagopal, founder of the Saravana Bhavan chain of restaurants, went to jail in 2019 for the 2001 murder of an employee whose wife he was intent on marrying. Extract from a retelling of the sensational murder, by The Indian Express National Editor Nirupama Subramanian.

Here’s a counterfactual: had social media existed in 2001, with its hashtags and viral videos, would the powerful Pitchai Rajagopal have managed to get away with his single-minded sexual pursuit of a former employee’s daughter for over half a decade? More pertinently, could a murder have been averted had Jeevajothi been able to splash her story over Facebook or Twitter? Perhaps. Perhaps not. After all, the #MeToo movement in India has largely remained confined to English-speaking professional women in big cities. Jeevajothi was facing up to Rajagopal in 2001, at a time when there was no Twitter, Insta or WhatsApp. Back then, for a twenty-something woman determined to fight off a predatory male, it meant almost a hand-to-hand combat for self-protection and self-preservation.

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