One Gauri Is Bigger Than A Thousand Bigots

Is anybody ‘safe’ in today’s India? Ummm. Yes. Murderers

10/3/2017 6:48:34 PM
written By : Shobhaa De Print

One did not have to know Gauri personally to admire her. One already ‘knew’ her. In the best way one can know strangers – through her ideals and passionate commitments. 

Those who were fortunate enough to have been directly touched by her life and presence – well, what better tribute than from Mary Breeding, political scientist and the wife of Gauri’s
ex-husband, the much-admired journalist Chidanand Rajghatta, who composed a delicate and sensitive response right after the ghastly news of the murder spread.

Mary wrote feelingly about the Gauri only the privileged few knew – gentle, caring, warm and compassionate. It was the ‘other’ Gauri who was more familiar to the public . She has been variously described as ‘feisty’, fierce’, ‘individualistic’,’outspoken’, ‘opinionated’. All these adjectives meant just one thing : Gauri was “dangerous’’. Not because she was an armed terrorist. But because her mind threatened certain sections of society, to such an extent, that a horrific, ugly decision was taken. Gauri was to be eliminated. Snuffed out. Shot dead with a 7.65mm pistol. The same kind used for the killing of M.M. Kalburgi. And yet, the political narrative remains so twisted, so perverse, so manipulated, there is a blatant denial of any pattern, similarities, strategy in the killings. As of now, the so-called investigations are on. To identify Gauri’s attackers, and the killers of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and Kalburgi. No leads, of course. Basically, nothing. Which is to be expected.

What added to Gauri’s tragic end was the hate and venom across social media after she was cold-bloodedly gunned down. There were people ‘rejoicing’ over the murder and ‘celebrating’ the victory of some lunatic fringe. She was referred to as a ‘kuttiya’ who had asked for it. While others gloated, stating that pumping a few bullets into a defenceless woman as she reached home was not enough punishment for her myriad ‘crimes’. There were vile and sadistic tweets wondering why her body had not been ripped apart and shredded? What kind of ‘dharma’ endorses such despicable thoughts and deeds?

Clearly not satisfied with the killing of one independent-minded woman who spoke out against injustice, a list of other targets was hastily drawn up.

I found my name on this hit list, when someone alerted me to various Facebook posts and tweets. The threats were direct and specific. Along with me, Sagarika Ghosh and Kavita Krishnan, three others were mentioned. We were dubbed ‘anti-nationals’ and ‘traitors’. They warned we’d be gunned down the same way as Gauri Lankesh. Charming. Subtlety is clearly not the forte of these murderers.

My first thoughts were to ignore the threats and carry on. Soon, I started getting a barrage of ‘advice’ from well-wishers. Advice such as : Lie low ( how low is low – underground? ). And “Don’t take chances!” What does that even mean? What sort of chances are women NOT supposed to take? Stop leaving the house? They can get you on your doorstep, like they got Gauri. Then what? I think I know – and I find that option more terrifying than a death threat. 

What is left unsaid is simply this: Stay mum! Sorry. I can’t. I won’t. And neither should any citizen. Silence is for the gutless. Why should we be silenced? For what? Name our crimes. I have not used abusive language towards anyone. I have not bullied or threatened a soul. I have not incited violence. Nor condoned it. Why does anybody want to kill me? Or Sagarika? Or Kavita? Any answers? Waste of bullets!

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