Today, I see red. I see the red of Gauri Lankesh’s blood spilled last night. I see another dissenter another fighter, killed. I see another stalwart of my fraternity, gone.
Her death is being equated with that of the Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer, M M Kalburgi. I believe that she deserves to be looked at in her own individual, independent space. Today a teacher described her as someone “who did not know fear.” I would agree with him wholeheartedly. It takes courage to protest and dissent in our democracy.
Gauri Lankesh did just that. She protested. She protested against the murder of MM Kalburgi. She protested when Yogesh Master’s face was smeared black with ink for his book ‘Dhundhi’. She protested against the Hindutva agents in this country and stood boldly against any social injustices committed in the name of religion. She protested against caste politics that exist in the country and was vehemently pro-Dalit and pro-poor. She protested against the Special Privileges Act for the Karnataka Assembly. She protested.
She had helped several Naxalites into the mainstream after they had surrendered. Lankesh was the editor of the weekly tabloid ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ and she was used to death threats. She had been convicted in a defamation suit filed by BJP leaders. Amit Malviya, the party’s head of information technology said that every journalist should take this as a message. “Hope every journo takes note,” he said in a tweet.
Prahlad Joshi, BJP MP from Dharwad, gets Gouri Lankesh convicted in a defamation case. https://t.co/6DQTYDY1rO Hope other journos take note.
— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) November 29, 2016
But all this is not her legacy.
Her legacy lies in fearlessness. Her legacy lies in dissent. Her legacy lies in never backing down and fighting for what is right. Most of all, her legacy lies in the true spirit of democracy. It lies in a humanitarian approach against all social injustices.
Gauri Lankesh was more than just a journalist. Gauri Lankesh, for me, is an idea. Gauri Lankesh is the word that can never be erased. She has been murdered.
Her cold hearted murder is not about which political organization was behind it. It is about our right to dissent. It is about freedom of speech and it is about freedom of the press. So, you can form your SIT’s and get the CBI to investigate. You can probe into Maoist links to her murder. The truth is that you will have achieved nothing. You will continue to ban news channels from telecasting. You will continue to impose Emergency.
There will be another courageous rebel and there will be a 100 more people baying for that individual’s blood. This madness won’t stop.
I assure you, neither will I stop dissenting.