Gauri Lankesh was killed at her residence on 5 September 2017 in the evening. Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, Comrade Govind Pansare, Prof. Kalburgi and now Gauri Lankesh, who were connected to various progressive movements have been killed. After this gruesome act, some of the people started expressing such responses that it appeared they were very happy about what had happened. This manifests very clearly that it would not be very difficult to trace the culprit.
Who was Gauri Lankesh ? She had been a Vice Chancellor of a university. She wrote books that were useful for competitive examinations; and thus, she earned her living. Gauri Lankesh worked as the editor of the periodical, ‘GauriLankesh Patrike’without any financial support in the form of advertisements.
About fifty people’s contributions helped her to enhance the standards of the periodical. She was at the forefront to bring different movements and organisations together to end the exploitation done in the name of caste and religious discriminations. She is daughter of P. Lankesh, a major poet, dramatist and journalist in Karnataka. She had been in support of the JNU and Una agitations during the last year. She had been connected closely to the young leadership like Kanhiya Kumar and Jignesh Mewani.
I too met her two times in the last two years. It was in the Karnataka Kaomu Savdahrh Vedike (KKSV) Conference I met her last time. KKSV is a confluence of around 200 organizations that have been struggling to maintain communal harmony and peace in Karnataka. This has been a progressive move of the confluence.
Phule-Ambedkarite organizations, communists, Lingayatas and their allies have been involved in these processes. In Karnataka, wherever, there are Lingayat Mathas, there are Mosques and shrines of Sufi cult. At some of the places, Mathas and Mosques are structured at the same place.
Gauri Lankesh had been an active participant and a founder member of such organizations. In Karnataka, there is lasting legacy and an enduring tradition of the ideological base started by Basaveshwar. In 1992, the Babri Masjid was demolished. Pralhad Joshi, who is the existing BJP President of the Karnataka State, started an eccentric campaign after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. He argued that those mosques or Muslim shrines, which manifest the Islamic impact must be rescued from it and they must be rebuilt in the Hindu architectural structures. However, the progressive front or the confluence of several organizations which aimed to preserve the communal integrity of the nation opposed the Joshi agenda.
This cultural campaign had been consistently in process in the Karnataka since the times of Basaveshwar. The followers of the Basaveshwar tradition participated in this campaign to justify the equality between men and women and to oppose the caste discriminations and the politics done in the name of religion. The progressive front is trying to save the BabaUdyangiri Math built near Chickmanglur, which is a symbolic representation of Lingayat and Sufi cult.
The RSS is conspiring to demolish it to end its cultural signs of Sufi traditions. The people who are engaged in to fight against the preservation of the monolithic culture are menacing forces for the Sangh. Gandhiji’s definition of religion was not based on the contempt and hatred of other religions, however, he called himself a conservative Hindu. This definition of Gandhiji was in opposition to Savarkar’s. Kalburgi, however, was primarily defining religion, which did not go in the lines of those who were more interested in the Virshaivikaran of the Lingayatas. The Orthodox, obviously did not approve of such an understanding of the VeerShaivism.
If you have to fight against the Hindutva agenda of the Sangh, then you have to go along with the traditions of Lingayatas, Mahanubhav, Buddhist,Jain, Shikh, Sufi and such other cults. You must produce such texts and meaningful programme, which will bring about amicable ties and powerful bonds among these cults. In Karnataka, KKSV has started such experiments. In Maharashtra, the Warkari cult after the ban of Dau Company, Warkaris, Mahanubhav, Lingayatas, Buddists, Sufi and Nath came together along with a common minimum programme in the last few years.
These cults took a stance against the Brahmanism and imperialism. By doing so, they sowed the seeds of a Social Conference that included all non-Brahminical religious and communal faiths. In Karnataka, supporting KKSV, the Basavling Pattdevaru (Bhalaki Math) Bandatatya Karadkar and Mahanubhav Mahant Nyaymbaas Baba contributed to raise this Social Conference. The Sangh is trying to bring the monolithic Hindutva traditions into one-fold and is on the march to use these undertexts against the Muslim communities. NagpanthiMartha’s chief Adityanath is the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh; this illustration is sufficient enough to understand the above statement. However, at the other end, the Lingayatas are arguing that Lingayat is a different religion in Karnataka and their demand is that they must be granted to identify it as an independent religion. Millions of Lingayatas are organizing Morchas to fulfil their demand. They have asked the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat not to interfere.
Therefore, the times have come to understand that we must perceive this issue seriously. On the contrary, there are reverse developments; the technology Is being used and the same is exploited to charge the right-wing people. As a result, someone or a group or a gang from the Rightist Band is killing, using violent means to continue the murder chain or massacre. In such times of crisis, what becomes necessary is to understand our native traditions and to mobilize the dialogues; understand different experiments being done at different places in the country; develop new insights on the basis of changing situations; this will finally pave a road to go forward in the right direction.
After Killing one person, they are killing the other and the next. This is the way they have dug up. This has now turned into a battle. Our prior demand is to punish the killer, arrest him and punish him. This is our first action programme. If you kill someone, you cannot end up the thought or ideology. We are organizing protest morchas, agitations and trying to intensify the demands. But the killers are themselves at the power, so it is a naive hope that they shall do justice.
It is necessary that we must therefore, come out of the syndrome and stop giving reactionary responses. On the other hand, by understanding the cultural politics of the Sangh, we should connect it to the material needs of the common people. Gauri Lankesh was a part of such mass movements. Saluting her, we must follow our road and fight a battle ahead courageously.
Translated from the Marathi by Deepak Borgave.
© Dayanand Kanakdande.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author. This website and its editorial department need not necessarily should be in agreement with same.
All legal responsibility of the statements in the article belongs to the author.
Photo Courtesy: The Hindu