The country has been shaken by the recent event where eminent journalist Gauri Lankesh had been shot dead by motorcycle assailants in front of her residence on the night of 5 September. Bullets were fired at her indiscriminately and two hit her in the chest and one on her forehead. Thus ended another life which was dedicated to raise the voice against the anomalies in the society. Another voice, which had dared to question the wrong doings have been silenced.
People have taken to the streets in Delhi, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Dharwad, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai, protesting against the death of Lankesh, alleging that it was nothing but a conspiratorial murder. The social media is abuzz with hashtags. Journalists are coming together and condemning the act. The Chief Minister of Karnataka, M.S. Siddaramaiah has promised to find the killers and ensure that justice is meted out.
But what about the common man? What has he done amidst all this hullaballoo? Well, he has checked his Twitter notifications, liked, and retweeted some of the tweets he approved of, spent a moment or two thinking about the case and then continued with his daily life.
And why not? All of us know that this case will also be buried deep like the ‘conspiratorial murders’ of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi. Investigations are still going on in these cases but the accused is yet to be arrested. Families of the bereaved are clamouring for justice, but then, who cares?
However, there is one thing that many of us are always ready to involve in. No points for guessing – by now, it is clear that we absolutely love mud-slinging and playing blame-games, even when a person has been killed.
Hence the twitterati and the social media activists have taken it upon their shoulders to slander Lankesh’s image by saying that she deserved death because she adhered to a particular ideology. People have gone to the extent of saying that it is her support for the Left ideology that has caused her demise. Those who have come out on the streets have been called anti-nationals.
One wonders if we have come down to this where we can even justify violence because someone bears a different opinion. It is important to understand that her ideology has nothing to do with the fact that she was murdered for being an outspoken and dedicated journalist. Instead of condemning the act, we have resorted to nitpick and put her in a bad light. A question to the self-appointed gatekeepers of Indian culture – is this what we understand by Indian culture?
Investigation is underway and no one knows who is behind the murder. But is it too difficult to locate a pattern where power is being used to silence the voice of the rational and voice of the dissent? The pen, they say, is mightier than the sword and so shall it remain. Lankesh’s death should strengthen those who have mustered up courage to speak up. The fact that rationalists are being silenced should make us think about the times in which we live in. Lankesh’s death should not serve as a deterrent to any journalist. Holding our head high, we should not cow down to political pressure and money power – a firebrand like Gauri Lankesh would have wanted that for sure.