The internet and social networks are flooded with one name from Kolkata - EKALAVYA CHAUDHURI. But who is he in real life? What's the furore about?

If you go into Google and type “EKALAVYA” (and not even the full name Ekalavya Chaudhuri) this is what you see –

Ekalavya on Google search ~ BONGFeed
Ekalavya on Google search ~ BONGFeed

The character from Mahabharata or a movie are not what Google predicts. That name at the top, Ekalavya Chaudhuri. is astonishing, because this is what the search results yield –

Ekalavya Chaudhuri results~ BONGFeed
Ekalavya Chaudhuri results~ BONGFeed

Here is a student of an esteemed university from Kolkata, majoring in English, who has (allegedly) sexually harassed multiple women (13 have officially released a statement on his activities) from his own alma mater and beyond, on the internet as well as in person.  He and one of his female friends have, again allegedly, slyly been forcing or scaring many of them to remain quiet about his misdemeanors, under threats of myriad consequences.

That’s all you will see right away. If you open any of the above links you will also come across details of extremely leud messages sent by this person to a lot of girls, you will see screenshots of conversations that might make your skin crawl. But again, keeping in pace with our mistrust of anything we see in the public domain these days, you might seem unsure of the verity of the claims made by the victims.

But who is Ekalavya and what’s going on in the near circle of his university ?

Based on what we’ve been hearing on the college circuit, Ekalavya Chaudhuri is an exceptional orator and a master of the spoken as well as rhyming written words. if you dwelve a little deeper into the search results you will come across this link HERE –  a web portal that describes themselves as “We’re a group of English Literature students, who love public speaking, poetry, and people. Performance Poetry, Kolkata is but trying to spread the love.” On the ABOUT page you will see this –

Ekalavya Chaudhuri About ~ BONGFeed
Ekalavya Chaudhuri About ~ BONGFeed

The description for Ekalavya here reads  – “Ekalavya Chaudhuri is twenty, and insane. His interests include languages and literature, poetry, theatre, quizzing, debating, chess and cricket. He also likes lame one-liners and the practicing of roundhouse kicks on resigned armchair cushions.”

If you venture deeper into this site, you will come across a poem that Ekalavya wrote and this is how it begins –

The day I realised
that somewhere down the line
we’re all a little deaf
was the day I figured out
that the apocalypse on this Godforsaken earth
will not happen because of zombies-
It will happen because we
did not listen to each other enough….

And it ends with these ominous lines –

You think the world is at your command?

It’s creeping up behind you with an axe as big as Doom
and, baby, there’s a countdown happening.
Listen.

A brilliant young mind there.  But, if you’ve been following the news (albeit only available in online portals and not in the print media), you would be stunned at the irony – a man who pens a poem about society’s ills is an alleged sexual predator? How can a brilliant young wordsmith use his way with words with women, only to end up posting vile and bare faced references to his sexual prowess? How can a college going twenty something have the audacity to approach women as if they were chunks of meat waiting for him to glorify their existence with his manly manhandling? But then again, most of these are allegations that we are yet to verify.

We at BONGFeed put our ears a little closer to Ekalavya’s campus today, a day before a board is set to look into this matter formally, and this is what we heard –

(Please note that the following are not verified and do not come from sources with proof. We present them as examples of the perception that Ekalavya has on his own campus) –

  • Ekalavya was unanimously hailed as THE man to know in his department. He is an admired orator and is considered to be at the fore of the intellectual elite among his peers.
  • He has been known to be a vocal proponent of feminism and his fame has spread beyond the boundaries of his own institution owing to his skills with the spoken and written word.
  • He has been known to stray on the risque side in his dealings with fellow female college mates and has been hauled up before for his behaviour or unsavory comments.
  • He did go to his university today, amidst this furore, but his classmates chose to boycott the class to show their solidarity with the girls who have come out against him.

Now, here are the facts – 13 girls have formally come out with extremely disconcerting and sexually charged messages and screenshots of conversations which they claim are from Ekalavya, his college has decided to investigate and find out the truth behind these claims and no one has formally denied these allegations. What we at BONGFeed are right now reeling with are these –

  • Irrespective of the result of the findings of the institution’s authorities, this incident will leave behind a trail of extremely traumatised, smart and educated young men and women.
  • Even if there is a minute chance of the allegations being true, we are faced with a terrifying truth – a college going man with brilliance and erudition has chosen the route of sexual intimidation, coercion and deeply disturbing predatory behaviour as hallmarks of his interactions with women he desires. Is this what our elite, educated class of men will look like in the future? Is it ok for us as society to allow sexual predatory to be a part of the MACHO-MAN image?
  • We have come across many a post on social media claiming that the victims have doctored and falsified the evidence they have shared. One of the most common criticisms we have heard is this – some of these girls did not put up a firm opposition to Ekalavya’s rants and in a sense permitted and sometimes welcomed his advances. And this is what disqualifies these girls from being victims and they should be labeled stupid creatures looking for vindication. Seriously? Assuming again that there is an infinitesimal chance of these allegations being true, we would like to point out this – a young woman in her college suddenly being showered attention by the coolest guy on campus, who probably starts every conversation in a civilised way only to go on to nastier domains, is an experience many would be enamored by. But to expect a mere 20 something, at the cusp of adulthood, to know what’s actually going on under the garb of college-campus-coolness and to stand up publicly against a celebrated member, is something many of us would be unsure of too.  We are talking about young men and women, extremely smudged social lines in an intense college campus and a ton of social and peer pressures being dealt with daily. We don’t think it’s an easy place to navigate. And again, this habit of instantaneous victim bashing, is one of the prime reasons why most victims of sexual harassment keep mum – the public outrage and the daily snide comments at the fallen woman who dared speak up.

It’s time we were patient and waited for the truth to be verified rather than victim-blaming. At Least, for the moment, we can shut up and either marvel at the guts of the women or reach out a hand in support.

  • Finally, if there is an iota of chance of these allegations being untrue, we are again faced by a monumental crisis – a young man, an orator, a poet from an elite college will have been sacrificed at the altar of public outrage based on cooked up allegations.  So again, we hope the same people who are now supporting the girls as victims refrain from publicly vilifying the unproven perpetrator. If he is who he is being alleged to be, and if it’s a medical or psychological condition that needs help, we as a society should help him rather than creating a paper doll in his image to burn on the streets of Kolkata.

We at BONGFeed wait for the verdict from the powers that be. In the meantime we extend our unbiased concern and help to the strong women and the poet that Ekalavya is – maybe we all need help sometimes.
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