On Gauri Lankesh’s Murder: A Protest letter

Ananya Guha

I had not heard of Gauri Lankesh. But that does not matter. Much of cold, brutal murder is anonymous. In this case too, because we do not know who the murderers are. But we do know who are exulting over such a cowardly act. So it is not far to see, who they could be.Similarities with Kalburgi’s death, could or could not be a pointer. However the matter lies in the striking similarity of the modus operandi.

Now, to the basics. Who was Gauri Lankesh? She was a print media journalist, working first in the national print media in English, then going into local Kannada journalism, editing a small time newspaper. What could have been her crime?That she supported the poor, the Naxals, and had nothing to do with Rightist ideology? Perhaps. And she was watched and tracked perhaps for some time. She was as they say a rationalist like Kalburgi, Pansare and Dhabolkar.

Making muder, broad daylight murder, inviolate can only show not simply intolerance, but how society has turned into bestiality. That people are gloating over the death of this supposed anti national is much bravado of things. We have turned death into crucible of right. It is a right to kill this anti national, anti army, anti ALL. What is this ALL? Is it patriotism? If so, how do we define it? By hating the other?

The parameters of discussion today are strictly limited. Either you belong, or do not. Dissent does not exist in the vocabulary. Servile assent does. We always have yes men, but having yes killers, is the high point of murder of democracy. People are complaining that these are dark times. No, they are not. They are bright times, because voices of protests cannot be snuffed out, or suppressed in such ruthless manner. A vicious cycle may let loose hell.We hear of more victims in the pipeline. There are therefor more protests in the pipeline. And these will get more and more vocal.

Not in MY name, but in the name of others, like Gauri Lankesh. Names have become blurred. So have crimes. One suspects strongly, that like in previous murders, this too will be hushed up. There are clear indications of this. The police are stoically keeping mum. In other words is there no iota of law and justice? Surely the threats that she received in the past can be cross examined, as she confided on this to some of her friends. This can give some pointers. But we as a nation, are numbed and stunned into fear. But not silence. The final silence will come in triumph.

The destiny of a country is now in the occult. Occultism, superstition, blind irrational beliefs are ruling the roost. This is spouting hatred and murder. The support, tacit or otherwise by the powers to be is adding proverbial fuel to fire. In most cases it is the small, vernacular journalist, who is barely struggling for minimum existence who is the sufferer. The corporate ones escape. Many have pointed out the number of journalists who were killed since the nineteen eighties or nineties. True. But this murder as in the case of the writers mentioned above is because of a self criticism which could not be simply accepted nor tolerated. The hate fervor is spreading like virus all over the country. What is the use of talking about pacifism, of say Gandhi or Asoka? Even a man like Tagore is demeaned for a positivist nationalism or internationalism. Hatred breeds impurity and irrationality in a diverse and plural ethos. Religion, ethnicity, race can become a cauldron of vicious hatred and vitriol. Who will bell the cat, or the cats? The wolves are on the prowl.Even Medha Patkar’s Save Narmada campaign gets no attention. We are at the mercy of the corporate tycoons, and blood suckers of the poor. Nandigram, Singur and Dr Binayak Sen were not lessons enough.

We have now to go to the courts for justice. They are at least, above many biases. The common man in India has very little option. He must fight the good fight, in the face of gross intolerance, abuse and dereliction of laws. Then only will the battle end, when million voices drown the tirades of oligarchy.

The lynching that is taking place is in terms of society, history and even that of besmirching religion. The dangerous fusion of religion and politics is taking place, like never before. The social political ambiance has been vitiated. One cannot differ. One is stalked on social networking sites. One is derided for being ‘ sickular’. I have never seen such a holier than thou situation in a country where all, irrespective of caste, religion and community were respected, once. And if a former Vice President of the country says minorities are insecure he is derided. We have reached such a low and abysmal extreme of misconduct.

But yes what we have done in the positive, is to add two new words, to the marvelous array of the great English vocabulary: ‘ presstitutes’ and ‘ sickular’. Let use these words, to turn tables upside down!


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