Gauri Lankesh, a well-known Indian journalist and activist, made a lasting impact on journalism and social activism. Born on January 29, 1962, in Bangalore, Karnataka, Gauri followed in her father's footsteps, P. Lankesh, a famous poet-journalist who founded the Kannada weekly tabloid, Lankesh Patrike. Throughout her life, Gauri was dedicated to truth, social justice, and the freedom of expression.
Gauri started her journalism career at The Times of India in Bangalore and later moved to Delhi with her husband, Chidanand Rajghatta. Returning to Bangalore, she worked as a correspondent for the Sunday magazine for nine years. After her father's passing in 2000, Gauri took charge of Lankesh Patrike, continuing her family's journalistic legacy.
Conflict arose within the family due to ideological differences between Gauri and her brother, Indrajit, regarding the newspaper's content. This led Gauri to start her own weekly, Gauri Lankesh Patrike, in 2005. This decision highlighted her steadfast commitment to journalistic integrity and her refusal to compromise on her principles.
Gauri Lankesh strongly criticised right-wing Hindu extremism, opposing attempts to Hinduize various aspects of Indian society by the Sangh Parivar. Her advocacy extended to women's rights, opposition to caste-based discrimination, and support for minority rights, showcasing her commitment to social justice.
In 2016, Gauri faced a defamation case related to an article in her newspaper. She argued that the charges were politically motivated, stemming from her left-leaning views. Despite legal battles, Gauri remained unwavering in her pursuit of truth and challenging the status quo.
Gauri's personal life included a divorce, and she devoted herself to her work. Living without children, she considered activists like Jignesh Mevani, Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, and Shehla Rashid Shora as her "adopted children." This reflected her nurturing spirit towards those who shared her passion for justice.
On September 5, 2017, Gauri Lankesh was tragically murdered outside her home in Bangalore. The shocking event sparked nationwide condemnation and protests. The investigation into her murder, ongoing since then, has seen developments with the detention of suspects, but questions remain about the motive and masterminds behind the crime.
Gauri Lankesh's legacy continues as an inspiration for those fighting against a rightward shift in governance. In 2021, the Canadian city of Burnaby dedicated September 5 as "Gauri Lankesh Day" to commemorate her contributions. "Forbidden Stories" pursued Lankesh’s work on fake news and explored new leads in her murder case as part of the case series "Story Killers."
Gauri Lankesh's life symbolises the unwavering spirit of journalistic integrity and social activism. Her fearless pursuit of truth, advocacy for marginalised communities, and opposition to extremism make her a symbol of resistance against injustice. As the investigation into her murder continues, Gauri Lankesh's legacy serves as a rallying cry for those who believe in the power of free speech, social justice, and the relentless pursuit of truth.