Assam’s Entrepreneur-conservationist Nisha Bora, accused Padma Bhushan recipient artist Jatin Das of sexually harassing her at his Khidki village studio in 2004, which Das refuted as “ridiculous and vulgar”.
Nisha Bora with her father Mahesh Bora produces hand made paper at the outskirts of Guwahati city from the dung of rhinos and elephants under the banner Elrhino Dung paper. She is married and have two kids.
“I visited Jatin in his studio, which was in Khidki village… The next thing I knew, he attempted to grab me. I wriggled out of his embrace, flustered. Then he did it again. This time, he managed a clumsy kiss on my lips,” Bora tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
Artist Jatin Das is the father of actor director Nandita Das.
Nisha got unexpected support from another incident who narrated an incident that happened almost decades back in 2013 when writer Garusha Katoch leveled the second allegation against the Padma Bhushan recipient, accusing him of trying to kiss her forcibly when she had interned under him in 2013.
The “renowned painter… tried to take advantage of me when I was 20. Five years too late but it is about time I speak up”, Katoch tweeted referring to a December 2013 incident at Das’ house.
“He leaned in and hugged me tight almost trying to kiss me. I looked away, I had tears in eyes, I am sure he saw them,” said the 25-year-old.
Nisha, who was the first one to accuse senior artist Jatin Das of sexual harassment, says she is happy to let more voices emerge, and that now her job is to sit back, pay attention and believe.
“Several women are speaking up, as you can see on Twitter. Several privately. Some on FB (Facebook). At the moment, I’m happy to just let the voices emerge till they grow into their own crescendo.
“When I had begun, I had not expected so many women to speak up. Now, my job is to sit back and listen, pay attention and believe,” the 42-year-old told media person.
Bora, co-founder of Elrhino Paper, an Assam-based organisation that makes hand-made paper from rhinoceros and elephant dung, said she had met Das in 2004 at India International Centre when she was 28, and had been married for less than a year.
“I visited Jatin in his studio, which was in Khidki village… The next thing I knew, he attempted to grab me. I wriggled out of his embrace, flustered. Then he did it again. This time, he managed a clumsy kiss on my lips,” Bora tweeted.
“I recall the feeling of his beard on my skin. I pushed him away, and moved away from him. At that moment he said, ‘Come on, it would be nice.’ Or something like that…
“I worked myself into a hole believing that talking about it would make trouble… I felt that somehow I landed myself into this spot and that it was my problem to deal with. I felt guilty and ashamed,” she had written.
Das, however, denied the allegations and had called them “ridiculous and vulgar”, adding he did not even know Bora.
Nisha is the business head and dream seller at Elrhino. She’s also Mahesh’s daughter and deeply inspired
by him. She has three children – two human and one canine, and is seriously committed to leaving them a world worth living in.
With close to two decades of qualitative research behind her, Nisha understands that everybody cares and that, given a chance, most of us would like to contribute positively to a sustainable planet. She’s banking on this insight to trigger positive action for the forest and its animals.