attacks on journalists

Gauri Lankesh remembered: ‘She took majoritarian Hindutva politics head on’

The senior journalist who was murdered on Tuesday evening, her associates say, was ‘even more bold and forthright than her father P Lankesh’.

Gauri Lankesh, senior journalist and activist, was staunchly secular and vocal about it. Lankesh was known to be critical, and stridently so – about Hindutva, Right-Wing forces in the country and also about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This often got her into trouble and is what, many of her friends and associates suspect, got ker killed.

Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on Tuesday evening outside her home in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Bengaluru. Police say that assailants on a motorcycle fired seven shots at her as she stood outside her house and rode away. Three bullets hit her in the head and chest, killing her instantly.

Gauri Lankesh made a name for herself as the editor of a Kannada tabloid called Gauri Lankesh Patrike. Her father P Lankesh was a poet, playwright and journalist who wrote in Kannada. He started a tabloid called Lankesh Patrike in 1980, which he ran until his death in 2000. The paper was known for its anti-establishment, anti-caste and secular stance. After his death and a skirmish within the family over running the paper, the Lankesh Patrike split into two – one run by Gauri Lankesh and the other by her brother, Indrajit Lankesh.

Many of Gauri Lankesh’s friends observed a marked change in her after she became editor of the Kannada tabloid.

“I always knew her as a fun-loving girl who was quite chilled out,” said Prakash Belawadi, theatre personality and activist in Bengaluru who knew Gauri Lankesh since they were children. Belawadi recalled the time when both he and Gauri Lankesh worked for different English news publications and they would often argue about who would break news stories first.

“When her father died and she took over the paper, she developed a certain political ideology that surprised some of us,” said Belawadi. “But maybe it did not surprise many people who knew that she was her father’s daughter. She became harder and harder and took a very strong stand against the Sangh Parivar and a very pro-Dalit stand. There was also a time when she took a pro-regional stand but she gave that up.”

Gauri Lankesh was physically a non-threatening figure, said Aakar Patel, a writer and columnist in Bengaluru. But she was always took a vocal secular stand. “She was a completely non-threatening bird-like figure,” said Patel. “The reason why she she might be hated and possible why she was murdered is that she was very open about the fact that she engaged, entertained and associated with people who the mainstream media in India hated.”

Lankesh was very close to Kanhaiya Kumar, former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, who was arrested and charged with sedition by the Delhi police for allegedly raising anti-India slogans in a student rally in February 2016.

She was also close to Jignesh Mevani, a social activist from Gujarat, who led a campaign to protest a spate of violence against Dalits in the name of cow protection.

“[Mevani and Kumar] were very close to her and they trusted her,” said Patel. “She was the kind of person that they would gravitate towards.”

In early August, Lankesh sent a message to friend and senior journalist Sugata Srinivasaraju, expressing anguish that “her son Kanhaiya” had been attacked in Indore but was safe. Lankesh went on to say that she was lucky that Kumar and Mevani had accepted her as their “Amma”. She worried for their safety because they travelled so much with people that they did not know. “But can’t restrict them. They are the hope and the future,” she said.

“She had adopted them, not legally, but emotionally,” Srinivasaraju said.

“She tried to give voice to progressive and secular elements in Karnataka,” said Srinivasaraju. “I also know as a friend that she financially supported people who were fighting these causes.”

Srinivasaraju said that Lankesh was very “in your face” in her brand of progressive activism against radical Hindutva.

“In my frequent interactions with her, I would tell her that her whole rhetoric should be more subtle,” Srinivasaraju said. “She was very naive and she was politically incorrect. She was very bold, but indulged in sloganeering of a certain kind which I said would not achieve anything. She needed to strategise.”

It is also possible that Lankesh got into more trouble than others because she expressed herself not only in English but also in Kannada. “She was bilingual and was able to express herself in the local language and that is generally what gets people into physical trouble in our part of the world,” said Patel.

Her fluency in both languages also helped bring mainstream attention to what was happening in Karnataka. “She used to write a column for Bangalore Mirror and there was so much to learn from that about things that were happening locally that were not reported in the English language press,” said Samar Halarnkar, editor of

Regardless of whether it was her political views or her methods or something else that put her in harm’s way, Gauri Lankesh will be remembered for her bravery and consistent fight for secularism.

“She was very bold and outspoken in criticising the BJP and the Sangh Parivar,” said K Marulsiddapa, writer and theatre exponent in Bengaluru. “She was even more bold and forthright than her father P Lankesh. She had her own politics.”

Halarnkar observed: “She was uncompromisingly secular and brave and courageous. She was a Hindu but took majoritarian Hindutva politics head on.”

Krishna Prasad, former editor-in-chief of Outlook magazine, changed the profile and banner image of his Twitter account to black and his Twitter name to Gauri.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.