With the gruesome and spine-chilling murder of senior journalist, editor and activist Gauri Lankesh, one thing is transparently clear that India doesn’t want to wake up from the deep and addictive slumber of caste and identity based politics, long-held superstitions, religious fanaticism, communal hardness and nationalistic hubris. That India is still not a safe place for honest, outspoken and truthful journalists. That India is not yet such secure, civilized, grown up and mature enough that it could handle the searing, tearing and scorching voice of truth, uprightness and fairness and that India is also not such courageous enough to face its naked, faked and phony self.
Being smeared with the black and indelible spot of the murder of Lankesh, India is not in any explainable position to defend its hallowed and sacred character of ‘secularism’ and ‘freedom of press’. On the unfortunate evening of 5th of September 2017 at around 8 pm, when Lankesh was returning after winding up her work of serving naked truth to society and was yet to cross the threshold of her home, she was dastardly and mercilessly shot dead by two unknown assailants at point blank range in Bengaluru. The police investigation report said that the assailants had pumped four bullets into her body and she immediately died on the spot. She was running Kannada weekly ‘Lankesh Patrike’ – the magazine that was anti-establishment in content.
Despite the publicly known fact that she was bombarded with a lot of threats – either over her social media platforms or over her phone – she didn’t budge even an inch from her path of writing or presenting ‘the truth’ in its pristine and original form. She was not an ordinary woman journalist who could be intimidated by coward and impotent threats. She didn’t become journalist just to quench the fire of her belly like mediocre people, she became journalist so that she could do justice with her profession of truth and honesty and so that she could do justice with her pen – the pen that was not an ordinary pen. For her journalism meant to speak and write ‘the truth’, to give strength to one’s voice, to give power to one’s words, to lend hopes to the suffering and the ailing India and its people and finally to purge India of anti-social, anti-science, anti-humanity and anti-truth forces. She was exceptionally daring, courageous and full of so much compassion and pain for her country that even knowing that her life was in grave danger, she never let that fear rule her life and ideology and in the end had to die, not just die but martyr, at the hands of coward and impotent anti-progressive forces of India.
Like Sahitya Akademi Award winner Kalburgi, Maharashtra rationalists Govind Pansare, and Narendra Dabholkar, she too had been silenced for ever from expressing her daring and bold voice of truth and rationality. Was their mission of opposing disturbing and criminal-cum-communal forces of India – which only want to divide and break India – some crime? Was their profession of writing, speaking and serving ‘the truth’ to society in its unalloyed and uncontaminated form was some serious offence? Were they breaking the law of the land or disrespecting the spirit of Indian Constitution through their strenuous and laudatory efforts to extricate innocent and gullible people of India from the bloody and spiky claws of dogmatism, superstitions, conservatism, faked nationalism, communalism, and regionalism? Was Lankesh doing something blasphemy or anti-India through her active but great efforts to bring the so-called Naxalites of Karnataka back into the mainstream?
Who says that India gives freedom of speech and expression to each and every citizen? Who says that India is still in a better position against Pakistan and other Middle East countries in respect of freedom of press? Out of 186 countries, India stands at 136th rank in freedom of press. Not that much satisfactory and better as often claimed by the wicked and corrupt politicians of India when they speak on public platforms against the back drop of India’s Constitution. In India the only price that a true and honest citizen like Gauri Lankesh has to pay is ‘untimely death’ and nothing else – no awards, no expression of regret or sympathy and no public appreciation.
At last I can only say that who is going to tell the coward and impotent murderers of Gauri Lankesh that they might have killed her but not her bright and daring ideology. Not her progressive and intellectual ideas – the ideas that surely could have saved India but regretfully not her life.