As women gain power, will female scandals in India rise?

Even for those Indians who consider themselves inured to the scandals that dog this country, the last month has been one never-ending "tamasha" - comedy or mockery, depending on how you look at it.

On stage left is the former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta whose "lust for zeros" has brought him down from the pinnacle of power. Gupta is appealing for a retrial on charges of insider trading. On stage right is Phaneesh Murthy, who was forced to leave his position as CEO of iGate on account of sexual harassment charges.

Mr Murthy, previously a star performer at Infosys, had to leave the firm under the cloud of similar charges. Both charges were settled out of court.

Currently occupying stage centre is N Srinivasan, the president of the Board of Cricket Control of India, who is refusing to resign even though his son-in-law has been arrested for betting on IPL games presumably using insider information.

This match-fixing scandal has already claimed the heads of cricketer Sreesanth and a few bookies.  While the circumstances and accusations are different, the perpetrators are all men. As a woman, I wonder about it.

When a powerful man falls from grace, be it Tiger Woods or Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced US politician, the usual explanation that is trotted out is Lord Acton's self-evident yet vacuous quote about how "All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".  People in power are lured into thinking that they are above the law; that they can do anything and will not be caught. Does this apply equally to powerful women as it does to men? Or it it because there are statistically more men in positions of power that they are the ones getting caught? In other words, as women reach the upper echelons of power, will they also become embroiled in scandals and get caught in the process?

I tend to think that statistics play an opposite effect: because so few women attain positions of power, they tend to be doubly careful with respect to holding on to it.

For every Eliot Spitzer who got caught, there is a Kamala Harris who came out of a controversy involving the US president, Barack Obama, with grace. Mr Obama had described her as the "best looking attorney general in the country", a comment that sparked controversy and led the president to apologise to her.

The other explanation is that such failings are endemic to one's personality - a psychological disease as it were. For every Sreesanth who got lured by greed, there is a Sachin Tendulkar who has played for years without a stain on his career or character. Murthy (Phaneesh) may have become involved with a series of women, but the other Murthy (N R Narayana) stands as an example of integrity and character.

This explanation holds partial merit. But it doesn't quite explain why so few women have these so-called psychological failings that cause them to self-destruct and do so publicly.

I believe that in the years to come, statistics will hold sway. As more women gain power, they too will fall from grace in a public, self-destructive manner.

But I also think that women in power will take fewer risks than men in similar situations. Witness, Angela Merkel, Madeleine Albright, Queen Noor of Jordan, Margaret Thatcher, Sheikha Moza of Qatar, Sonia Gandhi.  The way they came to power is varied. Some earned it; some gained it through marriage; and some were born to it.  But none - so far, anyway - has sullied it.

In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg alludes to the fact that most women who are successful feel like "frauds". Perhaps this is why so few of them trip up. They are so busy proving that they are worthy of success that the thought of throwing it all away is anathema to them.

In order to play with power, you have to feel entitled to it. Tiger Woods had God-given talent that "entitled" him to his success. Eliot Spitzer came to it from a political family and felt like an entitled crusader against Wall Street. Even Rajat Gupta and Phaneesh Murthy, who came from more modest circumstances, had been in top positions for long enough to feel entitled to perks.

Perhaps women don't feel similarly entitled. It may cause them to back off from the conference tables in the board room; it may cause them not to lean in. But it does not cause them to throw it all away for the sake of a fling or a gamble.

Shoba Narayan is the author of Return to India.

The Iron Claw

Director: Sean Durkin 

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James

Rating: 4/5


Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A


Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

Is it worth it? We put cheesecake frap to the test.

The verdict from the nutritionists is damning. But does a cheesecake frappuccino taste good enough to merit the indulgence?

My advice is to only go there if you have unusually sweet tooth. I like my puddings, but this was a bit much even for me. The first hit is a winner, but it's downhill, slowly, from there. Each sip is a little less satisfying than the last, and maybe it was just all that sugar, but it isn't long before the rush is replaced by a creeping remorse. And half of the thing is still left.

The caramel version is far superior to the blueberry, too. If someone put a full caramel cheesecake through a liquidiser and scooped out the contents, it would probably taste something like this. Blueberry, on the other hand, has more of an artificial taste. It's like someone has tried to invent this drink in a lab, and while early results were promising, they're still in the testing phase. It isn't terrible, but something isn't quite right either.

So if you want an experience, go for a small, and opt for the caramel. But if you want a cheesecake, it's probably more satisfying, and not quite as unhealthy, to just order the real thing.




Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates


Directors: David and Alex Pastor
Stars: Georgina Campbell, Mario Casas, Diego Calva
Rating: 2/5


Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon

Rating: 5/5

Sunday's fixtures
  • Bournemouth v Southampton, 5.30pm
  • Manchester City v West Ham United, 8pm
If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50


Born in Dibba, Sharjah in 1972.
He is the eldest among 11 brothers and sisters.
He was educated in Sharjah schools and is a graduate of UAE University in Al Ain.
He has written poetry for 30 years and has had work published in local newspapers.
He likes all kinds of adventure movies that relate to his work.
His dream is a safe and preserved environment for all humankind. 
His favourite book is The Quran, and 'Maze of Innovation and Creativity', written by his brother.

Day 2, Dubai Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Pakistan’s effort in the field had hints of shambles about it. The wheels were officially off when Wahab Riaz lost his run up and aborted the delivery four times in a row. He re-measured his run, jogged in for two practice goes. Then, when he was finally ready to go, he bailed out again. It was a total cringefest.

Stat of the day – 139.5 Yasir Shah has bowled 139.5 overs in three innings so far in this Test series. Judged by his returns, the workload has not withered him. He has 14 wickets so far, and became history’s first spinner to take five-wickets in an innings in five consecutive Tests. Not bad for someone whose fitness was in question before the series.

The verdict Stranger things have happened, but it is going to take something extraordinary for Pakistan to keep their undefeated record in Test series in the UAE in tact from this position. At least Shan Masood and Sami Aslam have made a positive start to the salvage effort.

Roll of honour 2019-2020

Dubai Rugby Sevens
Winners: Dubai Hurricanes
Runners up: Bahrain

West Asia Premiership
Winners: Bahrain
Runners up: UAE Premiership

UAE Premiership
}Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division One
Winners: Abu Dhabi Saracens
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes II

UAE Division Two
Winners: Barrelhouse
Runners up: RAK Rugby

if you go

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SE (second generation)

Display: 40mm, 324 x 394; 44mm, 368 x 448; Retina LTPO OLED, up to 1000 nits; Ion-X glass

Processor: Apple S8, W3 wireless

Capacity: 32GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 9

Health metrics: 2nd-gen heart rate sensor, workouts, fall/crash detection; emergency SOS, international emergency calling

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: Water resistant up to 50m

Battery: 269mAh Li-ion, up to 18h, wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium; midnight, silver, starlight

In the box: Watch SE, magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh999 (40mm) / 1,119 (44mm)