“What can women of Bengaluru do to reclaim their rights to live the way they used to? The way they want to? What can they do to lay claim to public spaces without fear of lecherous goons, fundamentalist fanatics and brainless men? I don’t know. All I know is that the Bengaluru I knew is no more.”
Today, three days after her murder, the country is walking with a mysterious limp; protesting, exasperating, and flooding social media with innumerable “right to freedom” quotes. Needless to say that there are some who are smirking ‘behind the helmet,’ renouncing the “murder,” whilst the politicians are playing - pass the pillow – game.
Sadly, whenever there is mention of a woman’s murder, the word vulnerability echoes in everybody’s mind. And if at all she is a potent symbol of women’s empowerment, courage, tenacity, and a free-mind, then there is absolutely no doubt that she is surrounded by people (both men and women) who strongly disapprove of her. Gauri Lankesh was one such brave soul, whose views and sharp opinions on politics, religion, in India were highly debated.
When it comes to opinionated women, the society conveys a sentiment that such a woman is too argumentative or bossy; too picky or judgmental, or just too combative. In other words, it means too intimidating, rather than easy-going. However, if you draw a positive sketch of her, you’ll see that an opinionated woman is always pushing forward the world forward with innovation, with words (in case of Gauri).
But when people fail to understand her vocabulary, they label her pseudo-feminist, forward thinking (which is a positive trait for men though), dominating and a nation hater.
Probably she was not murdered for shouldering a feminist tag, but that is definitely one of the reasons why Gauri was silenced to death. As the theatre person, Arundathi Nag said: “It is not easy to be a woman, an activist and a fearless person in this country. She was a strong social and political voice, and this is what we need — people who can speak out. This is not how you deal with someone who is anti-establishment.”
Historian Ramchandra Guha too believed that “Lankesh earned the ire of the assassin, which is particularly offended by independent women.”
But now, after her death, the entire country will call her a hero. Her name will be added to the list of all those fearless women who were killed fighting for the betterment of the society. So history books will narrate to our children, the stories of ‘war of words’ and her conquests.
…because Gauri Lankesh has now become a history!