Yet another voice stamped out by the forces of fascism and farce in India.
This hits a little closer home.
The city of my childhood is beautiful Bangalore no more, but is now officially McTrumpuluru, clad in saffron, choking on it’s own polluted contradictions, infused with an abominable lack of humanity.
But the cold-blooded assassination that took place yesterday in Bangalore, is part of a violently depressing pattern across towns and cities in South and South West India; Bangalore just marks another nail in the coffin of the fascists; the assassination of yet another great voice of progress and reason. The martyrdom of a warrior-poet who never took a step back in her glorious fight against the venomous right-wing forces that plague our times, Gauri Lankesh’s legacy will blaze a path forward for many, many others who will rise in her stead.
The forces of fascism and farce keep martyring great minds in various cities and towns around the Southwestern coast and inland in a curiously similar fashion. They seem to target those who light the way for others in life and death, particularly those who work utilizing vernacular media forms and are involved as rhizomatic figures in regionally strong, grassroots progressive movements in South and South West India, particularly Maharashtra and Karnataka (both states that the central, ruling BJP party, curiously enough, has established regional presences in but not as dominating political forces, which is what they desire.)
All the martyred warrior-poets were those who could clearly influence large numbers of people.
Narendra Dabholkar, anti-godmen and anti-superstition activist, martyred August 20th 2013, Pune. Shot at point blank range by gunmen on a motorcycle while on his morning walk.
Govind Pansare, leftist activist and best-selling regional author, martyred February 20th 2015, Mumbai. Shot at point blank range by gunmen on a motorcycle on Feb 16th, 2015 along with his wife, Uma Pansare, also a leftist activist, while returning from their morning walk. She survived the assassination attempt and continues to do courageous work in the area.
M.M. Kalburgi, progressive literary scholar and anti-superstition activist, martyred August 30th 2015, Dharwad. Shot at point blank range at his home in the morning by gunmen on a motorcycle.
And now Gauri Lankesh, progressive activist and editor of an influential regional weekly, martyred September 5th 2017, Bangalore. Shot at point blank range when returning home at night after work by gunmen on a motorcycle.
Oh, and did I mention that there are reports of cops thinking that the same fucking weapon might have been used in more than one of these murders? Not to mention the fact that they already have an organization as a prime suspect in the first three of them? Yeah, the Sanatan Sanstha, a fringe, Goa-based Hindu nationalist organization (with the most benign fucking website on the planet) but with direct ties to the mothership of Hindu nationalism, the RSS, via some militant group called the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.
If this doesn’t smell of some larger conspiracy to bump off voices of freedom and reason, I don’t know what does. And it took me all of two Google searches to get the above information.
I don’t have all the answers. Clearly the authorities who seem to move at the lightning pace of thick, viscousy molasses when it comes to these investigations don’t either. Or maybe they do and are just corrupted by majoritarian fascism – something the South Asian subcontinent is well susceptible to.
But at least I’m part of a growing majority in India and within the diaspora who will not allow ourselves to be cowed down by the ignorance and malevolence of the Hindu nationalist supporters infesting the diverse and gorgeous global ethos of the subcontinent. We will follow, in our own humble ways, the paths that have been blazed by our great warrior-poets.
Indeed, if I may cynically paraphrase the breathtaking lack of vision and intellect shown by the Hindu fascists and their running dogs as they keep martyring our great lights…
How dumb are they?
What the hell were they thinking?
That fear and intimidation would actually work?
Right now, as I write this, there are thousands upon thousands of budding journalists, activists, intellectuals, truth seekers, and bearers of free thought who are fired up to be the next Gauri Lankesh, the next Dabholkar, the next Pansare, the next Kalburgi across the length and breadth of India – with a spark lit in their souls that no text or philosophical thought could have ever achieved.
Hindu fascists, like fascists everywhere, are too stupid and cowardly to realize that by martyring our lights, they do nothing but sow the seeds for thousands more to rise in their stead, super-charging the advancement of social and cultural progress.