Amazing Grace: The life and death of Gauri Lankesh

जिस्म की मौत कोई मौत नहीं होती 
जिस्म मिट जाने से इन्सान नहीं मर जाते
धड़कनें रूकने से अरमान नहीं मर जाते
साँस थम जाने से ऐलान नहीं मर जाते
होंठ जम जाने से फ़रमान नहीं मर जाते
जिस्म की मौत कोई मौत नहीं होती -- साहिर लुधियानवी

Gauri Lankesh’s assassination has led to a massive and spontaneous outpouring of grief and anger all over the country. A large number of articles have appeared on her and her work, and what her killing portends for the country. In this blog post, we put together a small selection of writings on Gauri Lankesh, her killing, and what it means to all of us.

  • Who was Gauri Lankesh? The News Minute staff put together a brief note on Lankesh’s life and work, giving an insight into how she got politicized.
  • ‘It was to kill the spirit and provocations of Gauri Lankesh Patrike that Gauri Lankesh had to be killed’, argues historian Janaki Nair, as she explains to non-Kannada readers the role that the tabloid played in Karnataka’s political landscape.
  • 'Gauri Lankesh Could Not Be Jailed. But She Could Be Killed', Brinda Karat explains how the communal right wing operates.
  • Who killed Gauri Lankesh? Her lawyer, B.Y. Venkatesh, who appeared for her in 15 defamation cases is clear that her killing was a sinister and pre-planned act by ‘Hindu terror units’.

  • In last 4 years, Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare, and M.M. Kalburgi have been murdered in a similar fashion.  All of them including Gauri Lankesh were fierce critics of the extremist forces in society. They spoke and wrote in regional languages and confronted the divisive forces where it mattered the most. Sidharth Bhatia of The Wire writes about the reach of regional-language journalism.
  • In a tribute as feisty as the subject, Mrinal Pande writes about what happens when a woman voluntarily gives up writing in English, marriage, and motherhood and fraternizes with vernacular speaking people not of her own class.
  • Teesta Setalvad asks if Gauri Lankesh would be alive today had media done its job.
  • A large number of journalists have been attacked and killed in India over the past couple of decades. P. Sainath analyses what Lankesh’s killing means for journalism today.
  • After Gauri Lankesh’s death, the foot soldiers of the Hindu Right, both on and off social media, started a vicious campaign against her. The indefatigable portal Alt News put together a story about hateful tweets, some of which came from accounts followed by the Prime Minister.
  • And then there are those who justified her assassination. Karnika Kohli of The Wire reports.
  • Ravish Kumar had advice for the Prime Minister. Follow me instead of the goons, he said.  
  • Throughout her career, Gauri Lankesh spoke her mind against oppression and injustice. Even on the day when she was murdered, she had tweeted about the Rohingya crisis. She wasn’t afraid of anybody. She continued her relentless fight even after getting threats. In the way she lived her life, she has once again taught us how to be fearless. Ganesh Devy’s heartfelt tribute.
  • Gauri Lankesh reached out to many activists and helped them in numerous ways. The Quint puts out heartwarming photos of Lankesh with Jignesh Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar, who were among her ‘adopted sons’.
  • Perhaps few people knew Lankesh better than her ex-husband, Chidanand Rajghatta. He writes movingly about his unusual relationship with her.

“My Constitution teaches me to be a secular citizen, not communal. It is my right to fight against these communal elements. I come from the state of Karnataka, which has produced Basava, who opposed caste inequality and injustices in the society and am a citizen of India whose Constitution was written by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. He fought against communalism. I am just taking forth this fight against injustice in my own capacity. I believe in democracy and freedom of expression, and hence, am open to criticism too. People are welcome to call me anti-BJP or anti-Modi if they want to. They are free to have their own opinion, just as I am free to have my opinion,” – Gauri Lankesh