Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become a journalist, an investigative one. To me it was more than just a job. It was a dream. A dream implanted in my mind by those journalists whose writings inspired me, the way they exposed the corrupt politicians and officials. The way they brought to light a lot of scams. Things are never the same always, changed as I grew up and yes, I lost respect I has for a lot of journalists whom I adored when I was a child.
It was too late when I finally figured out journalism has turned into a money making business and nothing more. I understood the art of reporting isn’t just reporting it’s about fabrication, twisting facts, and giving importance to things what they feel is important, not what is actually important. It was about manipulation and the editors are the ones who decide what people should read and see. A few days ago I stumbled upon reading about an article on Martha Gelhorn. I was impressed. I wished, if only people like her still exist and gave us actual facts instead of fabricated ones. I didn’t realize there was one who still lived to be the ideal face of true journalism. Yes, I’m talking about Gauri Lankesh.
Gauri Lankesh as we all know was murdered in cold blood. Until her death I wasn’t aware of the fact that she was a renowned journalist. I honestly wish I had known about her and her ethics when she was still alive. Running a magazine without posting ads is something that surprised me, because today one can’t read news on the internet without closing a set of ads that pop up irritating every reader. One can’t finish reading a magazine or a newspaper without avoiding full page advertisements. The greed for money and fame has deteriorated the ethics of journalism I idolized. She’s the journalist I wanted to become when I was a child.
She was a rebel.
A nightmare to those who try to oppress others.
She didn’t walk in a garden of flowers;
She walked in a wild forest of thorns.
She wasn’t wearing fancy jewelry,
She was adorned with a crown of nails.
She didn’t sleep in a cozy room enjoying the moonlight through her window pane.
A knife hung above her head even while sleeping.
That’s the life of a warrior and she’s no different.
A fierce independent woman with the left ideology, unafraid, who rose against all odds in a patriarchal society and ran a weekly journal which solely relied on the money that generated by the readers. She didn’t write for the elites. She didn’t write for those who can understand complicated English. She wrote for the common man. Nothing impacts a reader as much as anything that’s written on his mother tongue so she wrote in kannada. Her focus was to reach out to the masses and she wrote in the language they could understand. Why did she reach out to the masses and not elites? The same reason people fight for workers and not bourgeoisie. Her articles was against casteism. Her articles were against right wing propaganda and fake news spreading via social media. She was against caste politics and oppression. The people who suffered because of her tired to silence her. She was pulled to the court. Defamation suits were filed. She didn’t stop. She resisted with all her might.
“Lankesh believed that publications succumb to favouring rich corporations or powerful government officials and politicians because they sponsor ads that are a crucial to a newspaper’s survival. Lankesh believed this would kill journalistic integrity. He decided that Lankesh Patrike was to run purely on circulation.”
Wrote on the wire writer, chaitanya.
That’s what Gauri Lankesh too believed and she followed her father’s legacy till her death.
Her finances mostly depended on the articles she wrote for other magazines especially the English. She wrote columns in English magazines to support kannada journal and her kannada translation of various books. She even made a deal with Rana Ayyub to translate the book she wrote (Gujarat files).
Gauri Lankesh ran out of money in a couple of months New India was born ( November 8 2017). Her bank balance confirmed by her friend was just a few thousands. The CM’s chief media advisor Dinesh Matto has said that he was told Gauri Lankesh has withdrawn her last insurance policy to meet ends. In a country where charlatans drive Benz cars and get into self promotion propaganda all she could afford was a Toyota’s cheapest version.
There are people who claim she would have been alive if she didn’t write against the right wing. I would say there is no point in living if you surrender yourself to fear when threatened. Yes, she didn’t surrender. She didn’t stop being a critic and that’s what makes her a warrior in real life unlike the keyboard warriors we encounter everywhere ( including the man in my mirror).
What’s the purpose of life if you can’t stand up and fight for the weak and downtrodden people. She stood for her fellow journalists who were brutally murdered. She joined the protests that demanded the government to take swift actions against those who murdered Kalburgi.
One may ask what’s so great about her that I idolize her, my answer is she has showed me what true journalism is. She has showed me what it takes to stand up for an ideology. She has showed me what’s having a spine actually is. She has showed me the ethics of journalism I believed as a child didn’t perish and there are people out there who don’t bow down to bullying. If I ever become a journalist it’s Gauri Lankesh I aspire to be.
Killed by the enemy
In the battlefield while
Standing up for the ideology
Is the true honour
A warrior could ever get
She was honoured that way. She’s a warrior. They have silenced her body, not her warrior spirit. Warriors fall, the war goes on and we will go on fighting till we win.
If they every tell my story let them say “this man lived in the time of Gauri Lankesh” . May my epitaph carry the words ” here lies a man who has seen a True Journalist in his life “.
She once said
“These intolerant voices find strength in our silence. Let them learn to argue using words instead of threats.” source : the wire
May the voices never stop .