I am Gauri Lankesh. There, I said it
Hers is a story well suited for salutations and praise on the social media, but who among us would dare to emulate her?
- Total Shares
As I woke up this morning, my head was heavy; I had slept for a good ten hours but felt sleep-starved. Surfing through my social media feed till late night, I had wanted to do my bit to protest the horrific murder of veteran journalist Gauri Lankesh — so I tweeted and wrote a Facebook post to channel my outrage, but I still felt terrible.
Gauri was allegedly shot at point blank range by three men just as she was entering her Bangalore home. I grew restless as I was trying to recall when and where I had last seen her. Her face was so familiar. Within media circles, you cross paths with several fellow journalists daily — some are friends, some others acquaintances but I realised I hadn't been lucky enough to meet Gauri.
With WhatsApp groups full of messages of protest marches and Twitter heavy with anger, I pondered over the deep remorse and anger that felt personal. Perhaps, Gauri Lankesh was different from the league: she was the rarest of rare, personifying the idealistic, honest, fearless and bold journalism that has long perished.
why do i feel that some of `us' are fighting between ourselves? we all know our ``biggest enemy''. can we all please concentrate on that?— Gauri Lankesh (@gaurilankesh) September 4, 2017
These are virtues no longer cherished in the present times. In fact, they are deterrents for HR masters who look for journalists who have a way with the government, get political tycoons to their grand shows and hobnob with those in the high echelons of power.
If you are bold, you are always on the radar. You have a solid story against a politician, but you might be told to kill it because a channel has got its prized "exclusive" interview with the leader for the first time.
Journalists have become running jokes and I must confess we have earned ourselves the disdain and mockery.
Over the years, the fourth pillar of democracy has been pressured by propaganda but never have journalists bent over backwards as they do today.
Those who were once held in high esteem as the torchbearers of facts in the society have been blindfolded. While the propaganda machineries of the Centre and states work in full swing, most media outfits are merely churning out the same muck and filth in a more polished form so much so that the definition of bold journalism has changed to adapt to propaganda.
We are living in times when some journalists may get beaten up on camera, raise their decibel levels and resort to a display of aggression — all for building a story. Kudos for the great work!
Gauri Lankesh was anything but this tribe.
Unlike mainstream journalists who bask in the proverbial hamam of the government's "Darbar", Gauri Lankesh chose to swim against the tide.
She was brazen enough to defy the odds to follow her passion. Hers is a story well suited for salutations and praise on the social media, but who among us would dare to emulate her?
Which journalist would break away from the queue of tamed pets, waiting for exclusive inside information about the great schemes the government is set to launch and speak truth to power?
Who would risk calling the emperor in his designer suit nude?
Who would risk losing a plush job and a fat pay package to bullets?
Before we express our outrage and before we lead candle marches, we need to look within because if there is anyone who must truly be blamed for deserting Gauri Lankesh it is her own fraternity.
Each of us has a bit of Gauri Lankesh in us, but we have buried her conviction and her gutsy spirit long ago.
Gauri Lankesh led by example and in her death too she left a great learning for a society that has become increasingly venomous, revengeful and intolerant.
But what about the others? As I set out to participate in the protests against her gruesome murder, I wonder what would be a befitting tribute to this martyr.