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But ideas are bulletproof

But ideas are bulletproof

A radical thinker, a fighter for the rights of the disprivileged, a voice of dissenting thought and a crusader for a progressive, encompassing society, Gauri Lankesh's legacy was buried in bullets as she was murdered outside her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday night. She was attacked by unknown assailants riding a bike as she was making her way into her home; she was shot with seven rounds of bullets of which three managed to pierce through her head, neck, and chest. With culprits still on the go, the exact reasons for the murder cannot yet be accounted. However, there is little doubt that the killing of this inspiring voice was propelled by anything other than a fear of dissent. A glaring attempt to eliminate voices that offend the sacred narrative, Lankesh's death emerges from a backdrop where around the world, and particularly in our country, there is an increasing drive to erase spaces that accommodate voices of dissent. Editor of a Kannada tabloid, Gauri Lankesh Patrike (GLP), the journalist maintained a strong stance against all varieties of hegemonic power play. She held a strong left-leaning ideology where service to the community superseded the desire to engage in a battle for coveted power. Not one known for mincing her words, Lankesh took on issues head-on while expressing both support and criticism with absolute clarity and vivacity. Over the years, her resilience and dedication had earned her many an enemy, largely emanating from an ideological divide, where she was seen as too radically left while her critiques were too hegemonically right. With her publication, Lankesh rallied for a strong left philosophy, openly expressing her support to Maoist communities and working towards their resocialization. While she spoke strongly of the fight for an equal society she was also a strong critique of Hindutva ideology, which had irked the ire of many strong men hustling in the crowded towns of our country. Just a few days before her demise she had spoken out against the deportation of Rohingya Muslims from India, which too had vexed many sentiments, resulting in social media threats and harsh trolling. As news of her demise broke out the entire community of honest journalists who still rally behind the truth ahead of political polarisation was visibly shaken; a strong voice had been forcefully nipped. While the Press Club called out condemning the attack, right-wing hate mongers known for their over-bearing social media presence did not bat an eyelid before posting the harshest criticism regarding Lankesh, celebrating her death, equating it to the killing of militant, Burhan Wani. She was sardonically referred to as a 'bitch' and those rallying to express their condolence as the 'litter' mourning the absence of their mother. It is shameful that a democracy is unable to accommodate a single voice of dissent that questions its pantheons. While Lankesh left behind an array of contributions to the field of journalism, the hate mongers must know that the idea of dissent stands unnerved. No matter how many bullets are pounded into the voices that rise, the trenches of those bullets will continue to nurture many more harmonies of independence.

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