In recent years, 55-year-old Gauri Lankesh was among the strongest critics of Hindutva politics in Karnataka.
A writer, publisher and editor, she took on the mantle of journalism from her father P. Lankesh. While her father founded Lankesh Patrike, known for its fierce anti-establishment stances, Gauri — who started out as an English language journalist in Sunday before taking over after her father’s death in 2000 — took it in another direction under a different masthead, . There were threats, defamation cases and controversies galore, but she fought them with courage. Gauri called herself an “activist-journalist” without hesitation and took up issues that went beyond her calling as a journalist and hard-hitting stories she published.
In recent years, 55-year-old Gauri was among the strongest critics of Hindutva politics in Karnataka and was an active member of organisations such as Komu Sauharda Vedike that fight right-wing groups.
She led the Bababudangiri movement from the front when the Sangh Parivar tried to storm the hill. Gauri was associated with several Dalit and farmers’ groups as well and, with freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy and others, was part of the group that tried to bring Naxals into the mainstream.
In an interview with an online portal, she once said: “… my criticism of Hindutva politics and the caste system, which is part and parcel of what is considered ‘Hindu dharma’, makes my critics brand me a ‘Hindu hater’. But I consider it my constitutional duty to continue — in my own little way — the struggle of Basavanna and Dr. Ambedkar towards establishing an egalitarian society.”