Why Gauri Lankesh was fearless Journalist ??

Written By: Harshika

 

Democracy and free speech are dying a slow death in India with more and more journalists being killed in the recent years. Amnesty International has given a statement that journalists and activists often face death threats and attacks in India which silence the dissenters of the Government and the atrocities committed in the nation-state.Gauri Lankesh was one of such dissenters who has been murdered on Monday, with three bullets lodged into her neck and chest.

Eyewitnesses and Lankesh’s neighbors have claimed that the killers were on a motorcycle and had been roaming around Lankesh’s house since morning. Lankesh was a fearless journalist who was known for her blunt criticisms against BJP’s communal totalitarian politics and it’s Hindutva policies. As a journalist, she had attained great respect because of her mettlesome sharing of opinions about caste system, reservations, inequality and gender discrimination. Gauri Lankesh worked as an editor in Lankesh Patrike, which was started by her father and, also ran her own weekly called Gauri Lankesh Patrike in which she never hesitated to oust the wrongdoings of several parties and party members. Her daring and dynamic journalism proved to be fatal for her, but it cannot be denied that she made Indian Journalism more honest, principled, ethical and revealing. Though her free voice was silenced by the bullets fired on her, and by extension on the Indian media & journalism, she can still be heard in the various protests launched by thousands which condemn the killing of Gauri Lankesh.

Here are a few of Gauri’s articles published in Bangalore Mirror that provides a glimpse into her mind.

1) On patriotism

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“Patriotism is not shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ while threatening to rape the mothers and sisters of dissenters, but having respect for women. It is not forcing ‘Hindutva’ on everyone but protecting the religious, linguistic, cultural, traditional and other diversities. It is not toeing the RSS agenda but expressing the ideas of Gandhi, Ambedkar, Jotiba Phule, Periyar, and others. In my view, Kanhaiya and Umar are the real patriots who really care for the people of this country. After all, what is patriotism if you don’t care for the people that the flag represents?”

Read more here.

2) On press freedom

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“The issue here is the colonial legacy called ‘parliamentary privileges’ of elected representatives. This archaic law which allows law makers to become judges and sentence journalists to imprisonment should not even exist in a democracy […] Legislators have no business to sit in judgments on journalists. It is high time they are stripped of their special privileges. If they feel they have been defamed, let them, like other ordinary citizens, take recourse to a legal remedy under various sections of the CRPC. Constitutionally, that would be the right thing to do, instead of sentencing their critics under an archaic law.”

Read more here.

3) On women

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“Writers of Indian history have often been unfair to women. Most of them are so obsessed about singing paeans to the ruling king that almost everything else is totally eclipsed. Even when exceptional women played a pivotal role in history, chroniclers of things past have portrayed them as benevolent or scheming Rajamaates, a faithful and pious wife who committed Sati or a royal mother hell bent on getting the throne for her progeny. Given this tendency, it is no surprise that women who did not fit into the writers’ notions of political and social norms – despite their eminence – were conveniently ignored and pushed into oblivion.”

Read more here.

4) On conservative culture

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We Indians are not just an ignorant lot, we are also huge hypocrites. Hindus, who make up a large chunk of our population, worship in temples whose walls are adorned with erotic sculptures ranging from homosexuality to bestiality, but they look down on public display of affection (PDA). “Hugging and kissing in public is not Indian culture,” insist the lunatics who belong to the extremist brigade.

Read more here.

5) On Reservation

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“There are some people who argue that ‘we have had 65 years of reservations. High time we got rid of it.’ Sorry folks, you are wrong. The policy of reservation was introduced in this holy land of ours way back in the second century B.C. Remember that was the time when Manu laid down the law that caste was more important than merit? Manu’s policy has now been put in reverse gear, that’s all. Not that these last 65 years have helped the majority of the oppressed classes to snatch privilege, property, and priority from the minority who have enjoyed it for hundreds of years irrespective of whether they had merit or not.”

Read more here

Gauri Lankesh’s murder is a big, boiling, nasty stain on the history of Indian Journalism, on Indian law and order, on the legitimacy of the rights the Indian Constitution provides its citizens, and ultimately, on the Indian democracy. It’s high time the government and the Supreme Court work together to put a stop on the atrocities being committed against journalists in India.

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