Gauri Lankesh Killed: Is assassination the new normal?

What killed Gauri Lankesh-her bullet injuries or hate? Was she killed as an individual or was her assassination aimed at eliminating a thought process, an institution? Who were the killers—right-wing, left-wing, local mafia, a politician or someone else?

Have her assassins succeeded? By the way, who was their enemy…Gauri Lankesh…or her views? Would they kill her if her brain emanated a different set of views? If her assassins are so confident about themselves being right, why were they so insecure and afraid of entering the battle where ideas clash?

Gauri Lankesh Source: Facebook

Has her voice now been silenced? Will it find utterance and vibrancy in any manner hereafter or will it be buried like her body was? What about her struggle that many have talked and written about? Will posterity remember it? Will it get a new lease of life? If yes, who will be its anchor?

Hang on! I am not done.

What about journalism and journalist in this country? Will there be more Gauris? Will there be more such assassinations? How many protest and candle marches will be required to make the deaf hear? Can a democratic polity afford this? Should bootlicking be the new normal in journalism to ensure that no mediaperson is murdered as Gauri and countless other were in the past?

Hey! Why am I asking this because is news media itself not guilty of partisan treatment to its own members? Why does the death of a journalist writing in vernacular not draw the same response as the vibrancy that is seen when a journalist writing in English or stationed in New Delhi is killed or attacked? Why have we created this divide? When and how was its foundation laid? When and how will it be dismantled? Why did the firing at Pankaj Mishra, a journalist with Hindi newspaper Rashtriya Sahara in Bihar, not evoke the same response as Gauri Lankesh’s killing, even though it happened the very next day? How many ‘celebrity anchors’ and senior journalists have conducted primetime shows on the state of vernacular journalists? Why should anyone cry when a journalist dies?

Okay…okay I am moving on.

When does a murder become shocking enough for us in the media? Is it not when the victim belongs to a select set of classes and is stationed in even more selected places? Why is this blatant discrimination normalised under one pretext or the other? Why do we act helpless when we may not necessarily be so?

Is it not unbecoming of a profession which thrives on perpetuating this discriminatory and dehumanising divide between the centre and the periphery, to talk and lecture others on moral righteousness, equality and justice?

Is justice, and the struggle to achieve it, dependent on what language you write in and which town and kasba you are stationed in? Is it also dependent on how big a paper or channel you represent and what your social media following is like?

Two hours of waterlogging in New Delhi is breaking news and months of floods, causing hundreds of deaths, forcing lakhs to migrate in Assam or Bihar is another normal? A murder in South Delhi is “sensational” but daily deaths in the Northeast or Kashmir becomes normalised?

Bear with me some more na…please…

What does the Prime Minister’s silence on all this speak about? He is hyperactive on social media for self-congratulatory posts and wishing celebrities, can’t he utter some words of assurance for his mitrons? Why is he and his hanger-on’s following people who openly threaten to kill and rape those who disagree with them?

Does it befit the prime minister of the world’s largest democracy to follow people who have long forfeited their right to be called rational beings? Should a person’s leadership be determined based on his electoral success or by the decisions he/she takes in times of crisis? What’s the use of having towering principles (assuming our leaders have some) when their actions on ground are dwarfish?

And finally…

What about you…yes YOU? Who cares what you care about? Haven’t you yourself stopped caring about this? Even if you haven’t, how does it matter? Will you not forger Lankesh as soon as the rulers, with the able assistance of media, bombard you with some another event? Do you remember more than 80 children died recently in one single hospital in Goarakhpur, a constituency represented by Uttar Pradesh CM for more than a decade? That 70 plus died in violent unrests in Kashmor last year? That 100 plus died standing in queues trying to withdraw their own money after that “game changing” demonetisation aka demonization move? That you are treated no better than scrap once you have casted your vote?

Okay…okay…I get it…poor memory. Happens.

Come on…now don’t get offensive. I was just asking.

Cheers!