#OurGauri: My Salaam to Gauri…
Translated from the original Kannada by Yogesh S
October 27, 2017
They killed Gauri madame.
They ended up killing Gauri madame.
They have permanently taken away our Gauri madame from us.
No matter how many times I say this to myself, my mind is not ready to believe this truth. We are all on the street. We are doing everything that we can think of. We are all shouting together; wiping our tears and trying to control our anger, we are saying “I Am Gauri”. We are protesting on the 12th. It seems like even Gauri is busy in managing all of this. I had never imagined being part of any movement without her. She was there in every movement. While she led certain movements, she also participated in other movements and was also in solidarity with many movements. Gauri was a companion we all trusted. We could fight with her, shout at each other and also enjoy each others’ company. We could even work with her in spite of differences in opinion.
She was not a great leader, she did not expect much and she was not even a great intellectual. She had no great dreams, nor plans or expectations for her Patrike, about social change, her future and her family. Gauri lived in the present. She walked along with those who she thought were right; and she did things that she felt were right. The increasing spread of hatred troubled her. She was not ready to let the hatred take over love and hence she wrote extensively about it and published it, spoke about it, fought for it and was killed by it. Now she has become a symbol of her cause and an inspiration.
Gauri was labeled a naxalite by the Sangh parivar. Gauri was everything but also nothing. Gauri interacted with communists but she was not a communist; dalit movements were very close to her heart but she was not an Ambedkarite; she was also in interaction with naxalites, but was not a naxalite. She had accepted the ideals and values of all these strands, which she felt were right, and stayed away from the loopholes. Thus, neither did she label herself, nor did she critique any of these ideologies. She considered Jignesh Mewani associated with the dalit movements, Kanhaiya Kumar with a communist background, and Umar Khalid who is inspired by the naxal movement, as her children.
Increasing violence in the state of Karnataka was also troubling her. She was in a dilemma since she had met Saket Rajan and his associates in the forests of Malenadu. She was inspired by the youth who had sacrificed everything that they had and decided to live a tough life in the forests in order to fight for social change, but she was disturbed by the amount of bloodshed that one had to witness. In no time there had been encounters. She was haunted by every death. With an aim to stop this violence, she along with some others formed “Shanti Gagi Nagarika Vedike” (Citizens for Peace). She appealed for a communication between the government and naxalites. It was successful in the beginning. The government broke its promises and started combing. Saket Rajan was killed. This enraged Gauri. She wrote about this and organised protests against this move of the government. Sangh parivar immediately labeled her a naxalite. Sangh parivar now has killed a person who fought non-violently for peace.
Naxalites respected and looked up to her more than she did them. Naxalite movement is not about few youths taking to violence; it is not an underworld that kills people by order. It is not terrorism that would bomb places and showcase their power. It is a movement based on a certain ideology. We might disagree with their ideology, but we cannot insult and doubt their values, ideals and the spirit of love in them. Thinking about the possibility of naxalites killing Gauri is a crime in itself. Eraka, a tribal boy who had joined the movement as a reaction to the government’s efforts to rehabilitate tribals from the forests, is being accused of Gauri’s murder. It is difficult to imagine what he is going through listening to such accusations. There are hundreds of reasons to argue that it is not naxalites who killed Gauri. I do not intend to write about them here.
They have decided to kill the truth of this state along with Gauri. Everyone in the country has stood up for justice. The struggle for human rights and humane values has taken a new form. Gauri has been proven successful in triggering these values in everyone. Our dear Gauri has grown up into a source of energy that would keep us going.
I Am Gauri.
First published in the Commemorative edition by Gauri Lankesh Patrike
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