An IAS officer once received a phone call from a junior minister asking for assistance in choosing a gift for his aunt. “Since he wanted me to accompany him to a government-run textile outlet,” recalls the woman officer, “it sounded almost official. I went, helped him select a sari, and I thought that was that.” A week later, he called again—now, with a request to help him pick some music for a nephew. Cornered, she went again but, now, her antennae were up. And predictably, this time, the shopping trip concluded with the minister suggesting a drive, as it was a Saturday. Prepared, the officer told him she was due to meet her boss. “But he’s on tour,” replied the minister. Thinking on her feet, she quickly named an official standing in for her boss while he was away.
Shortly afterwards, the incident found its way to the ears of the state’s chief minister, a supremely powerful politician who, in exemplary fashion, sacked the offending minister. Instant justice? Almost, but for one disturbing little detail. While dismissing him, the CM told his very junior ministerial colleague, “What possessed you to raise your eyes and look at an IAS officer? Stick to the ANMs (auxiliary nursing midwives).”
The episode stuck in the young officer’s head. And so, when later posted as a district magistrate, she acted at once when she heard that a local ANM was being preyed upon by the zilla panchayat chairman. Full of zeal, she summoned the ANM and offered to transfer her out to escape the “harassment”. “No, thanks,” said the ANM matter-of-factly. “Here, I only have to sleep with Saheb, who protects me from the others because he is so powerful. In a new district, god knows how many men I would have to please to keep my job—and I am the mainstay of my family.” More:
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The sight of a man in his 80s lying in bed with three young girls ostensibly trying to pleasure him isn’t news—at least not in India. Not even if the recipient of these unusual erotic ministrations happens to be a public figure holding high constitutional office. Elsewhere, he would have either been the object of endless gossip and ridicule or seen as the very embodiment of machismo and interminable virility. But here, rather than causing great outrage or shock, the N.D. Tiwari saga only generated serious misgivings about the ability of a man in his late 80s to ‘do anything’ at that stage of decrepitude and visible physical infirmity. “He can hardly walk,” said a friend, “so what could he have possibly done?” It is then futile to argue that all sex manuals locate sexual activity between two ears and not between two legs!
Ramnika’s “initiation” into politics began with the late K.B. Sahay, when he was chief minister of Bihar. Wanting some government land for a women’s training centre, she approached Sahay at a public meeting. He asked her to meet him at his office at 4 am. Young and handsome, she probably knew what that meant. When the office door closed behind her, Sahay stood up and said, “Here is the chief minister standing before you. Ask for whatever you want.” Ramnika says Sahay embraced and kissed her, but she didn’t mind because he immediately signed the paper she held out for sanctioning the land. “I was also flattered by his attention,” she recalls. “I was thrilled to have a man as powerful as him kissing me; it felt as if some of his power was transferred to me.”