The Gauri Memorial Trust held an event in Bengaluru on January 29 to observe the 56th birthday of journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead in front of her own house on September 5, 2007.
Commemorated as Gauri Day, the gathering of activists, supporters, fellow-travellers and citizens included Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, actor Prakash Raj, former JNU student union president Kanhiaya Kumar, former vice president of the union Shehla Rashid, JNU student Umar Khalid, and activists Irom Sharmila and Teesta Setalvad.
Lankesh’s murder led to nationwide protests and outrage against the silencing of “dissenting voices”. The Gauri Memorial Trust has been set up to continue her brand of journalism, covering, among others, the movements of farmers, marginalised sections and labour unions.
Several speeches were made on the occasion. Actor Prakash Raj spoke about the impact of her death (video above) by PublicTV, saying, “She will spring back as a loud voice. This stage and this gathering is the reason for her voice to reverberate this loudly today.”
Among the others who spoke was Kanhiaya Kumar (video below). He said, “Looking into your eyes I can see tears, and there must be pain. It’s troubling when someone of our own dies but I’d like to show you a beacon of hope. I appeal to you to see that one Gauri Lankesh has established a Gauri family.”
Gauri’s sister Kavitha Lankesh recalled the lessons she learnt from her sister, saying (video below), “I thought ignorance was bliss, but I realise I am a fool now. Nobody can be in bliss. We can’t afford to not know what is happening...”