Friday, 8 September 2017

Killing of Kannada Journalist Gauri Lankesh, Brings Forth Once Again, the Bloody Character of the Capitalist Regime

- Rajesh Tyagi/ 9.9.2017

Killing of 55 years old Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh by unknown assailants in the evening of September 5, outside her home in Rajrajeshwari Nagar, the suburb of Bangalore city, has triggered a full blown public outrage.

Leaders from right to left have conveyed customary grief messages alongside condemning the ghastly murder.

Gauri had spent 33 years of her life in journalism, starting her career with Times of India before switching over to Sunday magazine as its Bangalore correspondent, where she worked for next nine years. She later moved to Delhi with husband, Chidanand Rajghatta. At the time of death of her father, P.Lankesh, Editor of Kannada weekly, Lankesh Patrike, in 2000, she was working with Eeenadu’s Television Channel at Delhi. Returning back to Bangalore, after break with her husband, she alongside her brother Indrajit, proposed to close down the magazine of her father, but on persuasion of the publisher of the magazine she took over as its Editor, while her brother looked after its business affairs.

Soon, around 2001, differences arose between the two over control of the magazine that finally resulted in police cases against each other in February 2005. As Gauri was close to Congress leaders, her estranged brother Indrajit, in order to mobilize support from right-wing BJP and opposing Congress factions, accused Gauri of going soft on naxalites in a report on naxalite attack in the magazine. To demonstrate his authority, Indrajit withdrew the report and made a complaint to the police against Gauri for stealing computer, printer, scanner from the office of the magazine. Gauri also made a complaint against Indrajit for intimidating her with revolver. However, the track record of the magazine, since the time of P.Lankesh, her father, makes it abundantly clear that such allegations were devoid of any material basis and were only a maneuver to isolate Gauri within the elite circles. Isolated, Gauri had to quit Lankesh Patrike. In a bid to prove her metal after this feud, Gauri started her own Kannada weekly, Gauri Lankesh Patrike. 

Well known in Bangalore for her proximity to the Siddharamaiya faction of Karnataka Congress and the government under it, Gauri derived full advantage of it, while skillfully manipulating left demagogy, to make her magazine popular.

In the last editorial of her weekly, Gauri Lankesh Patrike, which her supporters talked of frequently but shied away from publishing its contents, Gauri wrote in open and shameful defence of the corrupt Congress government of Siddharamaiya, "Purpose of Sangh was to mock at Bengaluru terming it 'Mars' so that people think that Siddharamaiya government has not done anything in Bengaluru. They rumoured of roads being in bad shape etc. Propagation of such false news was the purpose of Sangh." She further wrote, "People who remain annoyed with Siddharamaiya government for one or the other reason, deemed this fake news as their weapon."

A faithful ally to Congress, Gauri never ever uttered a single word against her mentors inside the Congress and the government under them, despite of their immersion in a series of scandals and corruption. 

On the contrary, her magazine served as a covert mouthpiece for Congress and the government under it. The magazine served as a tool in factional feuds inside the Congress as it started a campaign to expose and isolate D.K.Shivkumar, the Congress leader of rival faction against Siddharamiyya. The rivalry touched its peak after in recent Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat Assembly, from where top leader of Congress, Ahmad Patel, close to its President Sonia Gandhi, was contesting in a neck to neck race for Rajya Sabha. While Shivkumar faction supported Ahmad Patel, Siddharamiyya faction in tacit alliance with BJP did everything to subvert the election of Ahmad Patel to undercut the influence of Shivkumar and his mentor. Shivkumar’s mother made open allegation that the raids at the resort of Shivkumar where Congress MLAs were held captive to prevent horse trading by the BJP, was raided by the authorities with active support from Siddharamiyya. Despite her resiling from the statement, the fact remained that the spiraling feud inside the Congress had touched its peak after Ahmad Patel could save himself but only by a thin margin of two votes.

After killing of Gauri, Congress leaders close to Siddharamiyya faction were however prompt to derive political mileage by accusing the rival BJP for the killing. Though it may be true as on occasions BJP was opposed by her in the magazine, but the accusation by the Congress was accentuated by its sectarian motive to isolate BJP in view of approaching assembly polls in Karnataka, where BJP would be main rival to ruling Congress. Such killings are not alien either to BJP or to Congress. Both parties of the big bourgeoisie, are home to such crimes in their bid to capture power.

For her proximity to the ruling Congress, Gauri received a burial under full state honour by the Karnataka Government. Within hours of her death, Chief Minister Siddharamaiya also formed a Special Investigation Team to look into the murder.

Indrajit, estranged brother of Gauri, termed the murder to be handiwork of naxalites in a knee jerk reaction. Himself within the ambit of suspicion, Indrajit soon withdrew his allegation, as it drew no advantage to him or his mentors.

This naxalite connection of Gauri is of interest in the chain of episodes. Gauri, a double faced demagogue like Bela Bhatia and many others, who give their hands in the hands of ruling rightwing elite, mostly inside Congress, while facing towards left, was roped in by the ruling Congress into a top level state committee to derail the naxal movement by convincing its activists against violence and for adaptation into the mainstream. These committee members play a double role. Firstly, they have to have their firm and real commitments to the bourgeois democracy, without which they would serve no real purpose on such committees. Secondly, they must have a surreal left face to be able to appeal in the name of ‘democracy’ to subordinate the left to the rightwing regime led by big bourgeoisie. Gauri had accepted this role inside the Committee. This double role is in fact a tightrope walk over the knife-edge. Naxalites and state intelligence both suspect and expect tilts and bends and become hostile on refusal to comply. This may be the probable cause behind the murder.

However, the commitment by Gauri to ruling elite and its regime, did not go unpaid or without return of favours. Not only was she awarded with a full state honour at her burial after her death, but even during her lifetime she was appointed as Vice Chancellor of Kannada University at Bangalore, the top most post in academic discipline.

Immediately after Gauri’s murder, her mentors inside the Congress, started a skillful campaign to eulogise Gauri as great martyr in left-wing journalism accusing right-wing BJP for the murder, with active assistance of all pseudo-lefts, chiefly Stalinists.

The permanent bedfellows of the bourgeoisie, Stalinists have long ago subordinated and entangled themselves to the drive of the bourgeoisie to obliterate all demarcations between the antagonistic camps of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat through creation of a dubious buffer zone between the two. Behind the smokescreen of the farcical appeal to forging unity among the ‘left and democratic forces’, Stalinists have embraced the bourgeois left firmly.

On their part, the right-wing fascists cheered the murder of Gauri Lankesh, abusing her on social sites as she opposed them in her magazine. This is for her opposition to BJP, albeit from the standpoint of Congress.

Gauri, fell victim to the violence of bourgeois politics, which she had volunteered of her free will, to be the part of. Far from being a fighter journalist against fascism, as all pseudo-lefts inside and outside the Congress and Stalinist camp are claiming, Gauri was motivated solely by petty considerations for her personal promotion inside the elite bourgeois circles while simultaneously tapping the left wing pretensions, an art in which all pseudo left demagogues have acquired excellence. Her claim to adoption of Kanhaiya, Umar and Shehla alongside Jignesh, the student leaders associated with Stalinist student organizations in JNU, is part of this maneuver to pose red by clinching upon the left without any commitments and with continuing association to the parties of big bourgeoisie. 

On their part, these student leaders are of the same hue and color. In the recent JNU episode, they had played a most vicious role in subordinating students and youth to the regime of the bourgeoisie by pledging to bourgeois democracy, making repeated appeals to nationalism and unfurling the tricolor in every mass gathering.   

Such killings, violence and bloodshed, integral to all bourgeois regimes in the backward peripheries of the world, must however be condemned in most severe terms. However, this plain condemning would not absolve us of our historic task of liberating the world from the clutches of this burning hell. Marxists must actively oppose this violence, exposing its class essence and underscoring the proletarian socialist revolution as the only way out of it. Fascists, the frontline thugs in this criminal violence, must not only be condemned, but actively countered through a concrete program and policy. Alongside, the attempts of the ruling elite to eulogise its petty victims in these bloody gangwars for power, as martyrs for any salutary cause, must be opposed tooth and nail as it degrades those real fighters who laid down their lives for the great cause of democracy and humanity.

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