Gauri memories green for many

Gauri memories green for many

September 5 marks the first death anniversary of Gauri Lankesh.

She was shot dead for her political views in what investigators say was an elaborate plan, with conspirators spread across many cities.

Here is how she is remembered in Bengaluru:

She had friends across ideologies

Sreedhara V S,
Retired professor, Vijaya College and NLSIU

When I met her: It was at a party about 20 years ago. She was a young, energetic party sort. We had common friends. I met her again when the Baba Budangiri agitation began in 2003. We decided to take a team to the shrine and Girish Karnad suggested Gauri be invited too. She joined us and was moved by what she saw there.

Close connect: A month-and-a-half after this, we planned a procession in Chikkamagaluru but the government arrested all of us. Gauri and I spent two days in jail there. That is when we connected.

What I miss about her: She had a sense of humour. She always knew how to strike a balance and retain friends who didn’t share her ideas.

She encouraged me to speak out

Najma Nazeer
Medical student and activist  

When I met her: At an event in 2017. I was instantly impressed. She is one of those who always inspired me to be an activist.

Close connect: “Whenever I wrote posts on social media, she would appreciate me for being bold and voicing out. She would often tell me that ‘You are the ‘diya’ of this community. You will definitely head a revolution.’ She also helped me when I got into trouble for a post about MP Prathap Simha.

What I miss about her: She strengthened me from the inside and always told me I should be strong enough to face anything. She was emotional and loved interacting with youngsters. Whenever I feel drained out, I think of her a lot. I had so many more questions to ask.


She used to call me Sleeping Beauty

Asha Devi
Writer and professor, Maharani’s Science College

When I met her: “In the early ‘90s at a culture workshop at Heggodu. We went out to make phone calls to our families and I was making a call to my son Chidanand when she told me her husband’s name was the same. We were in the same room and gradually became close friends.

Close connect: We shared many personal stories. She was humane. Gauri, my son and I would hang out, especially on her birthday. Whenever I prepared her favourite dishes ‘akki rotti’ and ‘yennegai’ and ‘holige’, I would send them to her office. If she had any doubts about Kannada literature, she would contact me. She would address me as ‘Sleeping Beauty’ as I sleep early. We had many differences politically but we never had to hide anything.

What I miss about her: Though she has been gone for a year, I still talk to her. I feel strength and clarity to deal with any situation.


I told her to stop smoking

 Akkai, Transgender activist

When I met her: “I knew her for 20 years. She was the first woman journalist to support sexual minorities’ movement. As a woman and activist, she was very close to people like us.

Close connect: “Many times, I would share my plight with her about how my family didn’t support me and my experiences on the streets. We also had our coffee meets. There was a time when she was smoking a lot and I remember asking her to stop smoking. We shared a deep bond.

What I miss about her: Her perspectives stay on.


Firebrand outside, caring inside

Kavitha Lankesh,
Film director and Gauri’s sister

Thoughts about her: “While she was known as the firebrand outside, she was the most sensible person in the family. Everyone would go to her. She took care of the entire world and rarely of herself. She would share feedback on my scripts. I would consult her for any speech I had to give which was political.

What I miss about her: Everything happening since last year is around her.


Events today

Writers, activists and artistes from across India are paying tribute to Gauri on Wednesday. A protest march begins from the Gandhi statue at Maurya Hotel at 10.30 am and culminates at Raj Bhavan by 12.30 pm. Tributes and cultural events are slated at Central College from 2.30 pm to 7 pm.

Book extract: My daughter Gauri
Book extract: ‘Yesterday Basavanna, today Kalburgi’

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