If the killing of Gauri Lankesh was to silence her voice, will the 'Gauri Lankesh' paper that was her identity be silenced?
The Gauri Lankesh, the tabloid that had become the identity of the left wing ideologies may have its future at stake with its soul losing the voice to bullets. Gauri Lankesh was gunned down by miscreants at her house in RR Nagar on September 5.
The Gauri Lankesh was, in fact, the off-shoot of the 'Lankesh' paper that was edited by her father, P Lankesh. The 'Lankesh Patrike' in its hey days - during the 80 and 90s - had taken on the governments and its policies attracting ire.
It had become the identity for Dalits, oppressed, women and marginalised sections of the society. Those who read the 'Lankesh Patrike' swear by its firebrand articles that had questioned their conscience. The tabloid's role during the farmers' agitation, Gokak movement and other issues are still an inspiration for many journalists, even today. At that time, the paper enjoyed an enviable circulation.
However, after the demise of P Lankesh, the paper was torn between his son Indrajit Lankesh and elder daughter Gauri Lankesh. Following a bitter battle with her brother over various issues including the ideological differences over the legacy, Gauri Lankesh decided to tread on her path. So was born the Gauri Lankesh tabloid. She gave her identity to her father's legacy by attaching her name - 'Gauri Lankesh'.
In fact, stories abounded that Gauri had a tough time when she took over the paper. She had no place to edit the paper, and the dedicated readership base that her father's paper enjoyed had waned over the days. In the initial days, Gauri republished her father's celebrated column 'Mareyuva Munna'.
However, she soon learnt the ropes and through her editorial 'Kanda haage' she earned back the readers. Unlike other papers, the paper never depended on advertisements for its revenue - in fact, it was devoid of advertisements. Yet, week after week the paper with its articles - on sympathising with Naxalites and taking on the Hindutva factions - did not disappoint its lean readership. The paper played a major role in bringing the Naxalites to the mainstream of the society.
"I have been reading the newspaper for the past eight years. During my days as the student of journalism, I was awed by the reports that asked the uncomfortable questions on issues like atrocities on women and down trodden. As a journalist, I had the opportunity to meet Gauri Ma'am on a couple of occasions. She would not hesitate to offer any suggestions on professional issues. But now that she is gone, I hope that her paper doesn't die a death like her," says Nazia Kousar, a journalist in Bengaluru.
With Gauri Lankesh's demise, it is curious to know what will happen to the paper that she nurtured like a baby. Will it come to a stand still or will someone come to its rescue, is to be seen. Ironically, this week's edition hit the stands on September 6! Her last edit speaks about the triple talaq issue and Hadiya that rocked the nation.