Journalist turned activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on 5th September by unknown assailants near her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bangalore and for the last two days, this has been the topic of debates in all news channels and is making headlines in the papers. Her political leanings are known to all. She was a staunch proponent of left of center or one could even say that she was on the extreme left of the political spectrum.
She was a bitter critic of Hindutva and did not approve of Hinduism as a religion. She endorsed a separate minority religion tag for the Lingayat community and was of the view that followers of Basavanna were not Hindus. She had sympathy for the naxal cause and made efforts in bringing some of the naxalites to mainstream. Much as I very strongly and respectfully disagree with her thoughts, her murder is unfortunate and some of the right wingers celebrating her death on social media are sick and out of their minds.
Equally sick is the narrative that is being built out of her death. The secular political parties, the left leaning media and the other so called intellectuals and free thinkers were quick to declare that this killing was the handiwork of the Hindutva forces. The oft heard rhetoric like secular fabric under threat, danger to freedom of expression, free press in danger have been in full flow. Shehla Rashid, the abusive and hate filled comrade from JNU has declared without proof that members of the organization Abhinav Bharat were behind the murder.
Sagarika Ghose and Rajdeep Sardesai went on an overdrive to frame the proponents of Hindutva for this. Amidst all this, Rana Ayyub, along with venting out her anger on the PM and the RSS, found a golden opportunity to promote her book Gujarat files as Gauri had translated it into Kannada. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who in all probability had not even heard about Gauri Lankesh before, blamed the BJP for her death and said that the current dispensation is working overtime to spread hatred in the country. Sitaram Yechury and his band of violent communists also blamed Hindutva for her tragic death. Nehruvian Ramachandra Guha, who is supposed to be an acclaimed and reputed historian, has compared India’s right wing with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
So is it a certainty that the Hindutva forces are indeed responsible for Gauri Lankesh’s murder? One cannot rule out the possibility of that being the case. After all, Gauri’s ideology was completely opposite to the Hindutva ideology and she was a bitter critic of Hindutva. One cannot also deny the fact that there are Hindutvawaadis of violent nature.
But there are other possibilities too. Before her death, Gauri, in a rather disturbed state of mind, had indicated of sharp differences cropping out amongst the comrades and she mentioned that they should work together to fight their biggest enemy. Her brother Indrajit Lankesh also mentioned that she got death threats from some of the Naxals, who were unhappy with her method of bringing some of them into the mainstream. While it is a known fact that Gauri hated the BJP and RSS, what very few people know is that she had once written about the wrong doings of Congress Minister DK Shivakumar and before her death, was contemplating some exposes on corrupt industrialists and politicians in Karnataka. Indrajit Lankesh mentioned very categorically that he needs a CBI probe as he has complete lack of trust on the Karnataka government. The point here is that we are not at this stage a hundred percent sure that Hindutva forces are behind the murder and the media and some of the politicians and playing political vultures by not demonstrating the required restraint and they see this as a golden opportunity to sling mud on the BJP, RSS and Hinduism.
Gauri’s death has been compared with that of so called rationalists like MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar in terms of the modus operandi. The one thing to ponder is that Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh and Dabholkar were killed in states ruled by Congress. Why don’t Rajdeep or Sagarika question the Congress government? Isn’t law and order a state matter? Kalburgi was murdered in August 2015 and his killers are still not caught because the Karnataka CID has completely botched up the investigation. Why isn’t Siddaramiah questioned? The answer lies in the deep hatred for the saffron ideology by the likes of Rajdeep and Sagarika.
Gauri Lankesh was laid to rest with full state honors at the Lingayat burial grounds in Chamrajpete, Bangalore. No religious rituals were performed as she never believed in them. Without any offence to the departed soul, the question to be asked here is, what did she do to deserve full state honors? Is subscribing to the leftist and pseudo secular ideology enough for one to deserve state honors? One must not forget that she was convicted of defamation and sentenced to six months jail. She has been a sympathizer of the naxal ideology that has resulted in many CRPF jawans being martyred. She has been a strong supporter of thugs like Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, who have been convicted of sedition. What exactly did she do to deserve full state honors? Going by this precedent, shouldn’t everyone who has been murdered get full state honors? Why were the RSS workers like Sujith or VHP workers like Prashant Poojary not given full state honors?
To conclude, while it is very unfortunate that Gauri Lankesh died the way she did and her perpetrators must undoubtedly be found and punished, she had not done anything worthwhile while she was alive to deserve full state honors
The Karnataka CM and the political vultures are only using Gauri Lankesh’s death to score political points and attempts to yet again malign the saffron ideology is going on in full swing.
At this stage, who killed Gauri Lankesh is anyone’s guess, but the accountability to find this out must lie with the Karnataka government and whether they are Hindutvawaadis or not, harsh punishment must be meted out to them. While I never agreed with her ideology, there is no point in speaking ill of someone who has left the material world. May Gauri Lankesh’s soul attain sadgati.