Women who have been through the toughest of times that life has thrown at them, Indira Lankesh and Dr. Vijaya opened in this interaction with M S Asha Devi about what makes them the strong women they are. Indira Lankesh is the wife of Late P Lankesh and author of , ‘Sour Mango and I’ (autobiography), and Dr. Vijaya, the first woman journalist in Kannada, was the one who brought the International Film Festival to Bangalore. She also launched the intellectual magazine for women, ‘Namma Manasa’. M S Asha Devi, a feminist writer elicits the working of the minds of these women who embodied strength.
It has been barely two months since the journalist Gauri Lankesh died. Yet her murder still sends chills down our spines when we think of it. Gauri Lankesh was shot in cold blood by unknown assailants, presumably for taking on religious fundamentalists. In the spirit of remembering and celebrating all she stood for, ‘The Way I see It—A Gauri Lankesh Reader’ was launched at the Bangalore Literature Festival today. ‘The Way I see It—A Gauri Lankesh Reader’ is a compilation of her writings. The book has been edited by Chandan Gowda, and the foreword has been written by Paul Zacharia.
Chandan Gowda, Paul Zacharia, and Kanhaiya Kumar launched ‘The Way I see It—A Gauri Lankesh Reader.’ Each of them received a copy of the book from Gauri Lankesh’s mother, Mrs Indira Lankesh. Seeing her fight tears while presenting a copy of the book to each panelist was a painful sight to behold.
Chandan Gowda gave everyone a small brief about the book’s contents, which consists of her early essays and news articles. Then Paul Zacharia reminded us of the inclement conditions that journalists have to face while reporting the truth. Gauri paid with her life for being a decent human being. If such is the state of modern Indian society, then the India where one could be fearless is gone.
However, it was Kanhaiya Kumar’s rousing tribute to Gauri Lankesh that touched minds and hearts. Kanhaiya Kumar confessed that he had been approached to write for the book, but couldn’t because he found it extremely difficult, to sum up his friendship with Gauri Lankesh in a few words. It was Gauri who had been a genuine friend during the hard days he had faced in jail. Gauri had nurtured him and cared for him like a mother, and she often visited him in jail.
According to Kanhaiya, she was extremely dedicated to her work, yet happy and free-spirited. She loved her family and had deep respect for her parents. Kanhaiya was particularly touched by her acknowledgement of her mother’s contribution towards her upbringing.
Gauri was a journalist with great integrity. Her newspaper did not have any advertisements— such was her commitment to quality and impartiality. She was critical of various political ideologies, yet accommodative towards them at the same time. When asked if she was afraid, Gauri told Kanhaiya, “If my fear of death increases, my will to fight decreases.” Such was the strength of her fighting spirit
Kanhaiya urged us to keep Gauri’s memory alive by taking the fight forwards and being courageous. He urged us to derive strength for taking on the establishment, from our love and grief.