The Warrior With Ink

The legacy of a senior journalist whose spark ignited a revolution in the media and communication industry of the nation.

The trauma in my head takes the physical form of saline water as it incessantly falls on my keyboard drop by drop. I had religiously followed Gauri Lankesh’s writing for two years now and reading her last editorial on BJP’s alleged Hindu hegemony I marveled at the audacity of the woman who was not an iota afraid of voicing her opinions yet never failing to rely on the forces of sense and reason. She inherited these abilities and more from her father, who created a legacy of his own by establishing and successfully running the Kannada based tabloid named Lankesh Patrice, which ultimately resulted in her branching out and creating the Gauri Lankesh Patrike. Post her father’s untimely demise, she was urged to take over her father’s publication. She initially refused to do so since she believed that she couldn’t do justice to the benchmark that the tabloid had set for itself, but later went on to become it’s editor while her brother presided over the paper’s finances. This arrangement didn’t last for long as ideological conflicts between the siblings made her take a step towards the creation of her own aforementioned publication.

Gauri led the unconventional life of an activist, a fearless woman who refused to be contented with the life of mediocrity. She spent almost half of her lifetime fighting for the rights of Dalits, or untouchables, and was a prominent face in many campaigns protesting against the discriminatory attitude for the lower class in India. Although she never had children of her own, she considered Kanhaiya Kumar, the student leader of the infamous JNU sedition case and Jignesh Mevani, a social activist and lawyer from Ahemdabad, who has led a campaign by Dalits, her “adopted sons”.

A fierce promoter of the freedom of the press, contrary to popular belief, Gauri not only targeted BJP, but also condemned the wrongdoings of any political party, as is evident with her article on the congress leader, D.K shivakumar. She was accused of defamation post alleges by two BJP leaders. The court later considered her articles baseless and rendered her guilty, which many argued was a product of BJP conspiracy.

In hindsight, nothing that I could say can possibly describe lankesh better than the well articulated words by her ex husband and dear friend Chicaned Rajghatta who took to face book to deliver an eulogy of sorts while finishing with “As my plane now wings towards India to a place without Gauri, my mind is a cauldron of fragmented memories. One phrase keeps repeating and resonating in my mind: Amazing Grace. Forget all other labels: leftist, radical, anti-Hindutva, secular etc. For me, there is just this: She is the epitome of Amazing Grace.”

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