You Can't Silence Us

Bodhi Commons condemns the murder of Gauri Lankesh

Silencing voices of reason on its streets with choppers and bullets has become a quotidian reality in India. With surgical precision, the right wing is silencing their critics one by one. The cold-blooded murder of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh is definitely not an isolated incident therefore. Most unfortunately, she is the latest in the long list of those who succumbed to the bullets of intolerance. In recent past, in much the same way, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, and M.M. Kalburgi had faced the wrath of bigots. It should also be noted, that they all followed similar strains of thought. They were secularists, socialists and advocates of freedom of speech. The eerie similarity in their murders, while sending shivers down the spine, speaks for itself - they all had a common enemy.

As a staunch critic of the divisive, communal vision that is gaining momentum at its ever brisk pace and as a voice of reason against the practice of caste system, Gauri Lankesh was a ray of hope to many; to the laity as well as the intelligentsia. Her tabloid Gauri Lankesh Patrike (GLP) and her social media profiles were equally vocal about the inhumane politics practised by those in power. It was only a week back that she had responded to a friend, who requested her to tone down her criticism: “We can’t be so dead. It is human to express and react. What we feel impulsively is usually our most honest response.”

It is imperative to name the enemy at this critical juncture. For, it is equally culpable if we don’t call a spade, a spade. The Hindu right wing and its hate politics was always at the receiving end of Ms. Lankesh’s sharp-tongued criticisms. The number of threats she had been receiving lately was evidence that she had kicked the hornet’s nest. She broke the silence and she was honest to her conscience, while many of us were content in our quietude. And in return, she met with a violent death at the hands of those extremists.

Bodhi Commons condemns the murder of Gauri Lankesh. It is also a shame that the murderers of Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi and Gauri are still out there in the streets, evading legal justice. We demand a just and unbiased investigation from the authorities.

Meanwhile, we will keep our vigil, speaking out and writing out. Red Salutes.