The bureaucrat from Telangana who has sued Outlook magazine for deeply disparaging and sexist remarks about her told NDTV, “I want Outlook to apologise to women across the country, this is an insult to women in general.”
Explaining her decision to seek legal action, senior IAS office Smita Sabharwal said, “It is a matter of professional pride. I have spent 14 long years in service. The write up hurt very badly. It made me think if they can do this to a bureaucrat, who is doing a serious job, possibly women across will be subjected to this sort of yellow journalism… and we must step up and put an end to it.”
The magazine recently described Ms Sabharwal, 38, who works as a close aide of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, as “eye candy”. Separately, it carried a cartoon which showed Ms Sabharwal walking a fashion ramp with the Chief Minister photographing her, while other politicians leer.
Ms Sabharwal told NDTV that the cartoon referenced her attendance at a fashion show in Hyderabad. She said she was at the event with her husband on her birthday. “We didn’t name her,” said sources at Outlook to NDTV when asked to comment on the controversy.
“I have worked as a figure of authority in districts and have never been treated like this,” the bureaucrat said to NDTV, adding that she feels deeply moved by the support expressed for her on social media. “I was really touched to see for every one pervert, there are lakhs of people out there who have a sense of how to view a woman.”
Her advice to working women – “Don’t let a few perverts demotivate us. We deserve better.”