This account in this post is from emails KHYF itself sent to support their contention that there was fair process surrounding the investigations into Kausthub Desikachar’s conduct all the way back in 2007.
In 2007, serious accusations were leveled at Kausthub by responsible teachers at KYM. The same problems would blow up in 2012, so there is solid reason to believe that the allegations were genuine.
The victims/complainants were required to present their evidence to a panel, with the alleged abuser, Kausthub Desikachar, also present.
Who was on the panel?
- TKV Desikachar: Kausthub’s father, and founder of the KHYF.
- Dr Latha Satish: Kausthub’s supervisor for his PhD thesis.
- S Sridharan: family friend and dedicated student of Kausthub’s father.
How would a victim feel if the court consisted of judges who were the father, mentor, and longstanding family friend of the alleged abuser?
Here is gushing praise Kausthub Desikachar has for Dr. Latha Satish and S. Sridharan in his translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, as recently as 2016:
“I also have immense gratitude to Dr. Latha Satish and Mr. S. Sridharan, who inspire, support and continue to illuminate me in my journey as a Yoga student. In her capacity as supervisor for my doctoral studies, Dr. Latha Satish’s insights and guidance, constantly served as an energy drink to quench my thirst for learning. Mr S Sridharan’s humility dedication to his own teacher [TKV Desikachar] and the teachings remind me constantly of the true meaning behind Yoga.”
Imagine you are an abused young woman—and you have to face your abuser, his father, and these two people in authority who are completely on the side of your abuser—answer their questions and present evidence—and they will give you “justice.”
Does this sound even remotely like a fair procedure? To people with ethics and conscience, we expect this sounds like intimidation and silencing of the victims.
Unsurprisingly the women who had stories of abuse to tell did not present their case before this “panel.”
KHYF says that they made an offer to constitute another panel they claimed would have independent members. How could any vulnerable woman student trust the internal process of KHYF/KYM at this point?
If this was how hostile the internal environment was, what was the point in presenting any evidence anyway? It is almost equivalent to presenting your evidence to your abuser himself and expecting him to give you justice. The more likely possibility is that there may be harsher retribution from powerful people because you complained.
Does this pattern sound familiar? It’s textbook silencing of victims and support for a powerful abuser that we see in so many #MeToo stories now.
According to KHYF/KYM, this inquiry gave “all parties” a “fair chance at hearing” but only Kausthub Desikachar was present—with his father and supporters who were the panel. So, KHYF/KYM decided the issue was “PERMANENTLY closed!”
We all know how “permanent” this was now; 5 years later the issue blew up massively with many more allegations of abuse against Kausthub Desikachar.
Do you think Dr. Latha Sathish and S. Sridharan, trustees at the KYM, a public charitable institution, not Kausthub Desikachar’s family fiefdom, did their duty ethically to the students and teachers at KYM?
Remember, the gushing praise Kausthub showers on Dr. Latha Satish and S. Sridharan was in 2016—after all these scandals have been made public and the KYM has supposedly cut all ties with KHYF.
Has KYM really distanced itself from Kausthub Desikachar and the sex abuse scandals? Are the trustees doing what they rightfully should to protect the teachings of Krishnamacharya, at least now?
Do you support Kausthub Desikachar leading the KHYF to teach yoga to women students?
And this was in Chennai, in India.
We wonder, how many women in India have more stories to tell that they did not come forward with because of the hostile reaction they faced?