Strong reportage, wide range of issues and no ads: What made Gauri Lankesh Patrike tick
Gauri Lankesh, a critic of Hindu extremism was shot dead at her house in Bengaluru on Tuesday.india Updated: Sep 11, 2017 00:13 IST
It began as a small weekly tabloid in 2005, born after a family feud over a legendary newspaper.
Over the next decade, Gauri Lankesh Patrike carved a niche for itself in Karnataka owing to its acerbic style and a wide variety of issues it wrote on, rooted in its editor’s Left-leaning ideology.
Gauri Lankesh, who was gunned down at her Bengaluru home on Tuesday night, started the weekly after falling out with her brother Indrajit over running their father’s legendary tabloid Lankesh Patrike.
Her weekly, which she named Gauri Lankesh Patrike, did not carry advertisements and had an average subscription of 75,000, as per the paper’s manager. It also differed in tone from her father’s paper, which Indrajit runs.
“P Lankesh was a writer more than a journalist and hence there was a literary quality to the weekly. Gauri was a political journalist and, under her editorship, the weekly leaned towards political reportage,” said her friend Chandan Gowda, a teacher at Azim Premji University.
The last issue’s cover story was about the violence in Panchkula after the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. Titled “political Anatomy of Baba Dandhale” (political anatomy of Baba’s rampage), the article targeted the Haryana and central governments. In the same issue, Lankesh’s editorial column “Kandahage” (As witnessed) dealt with fake news.
In the issue before that, the cover story reported on the “illegal denotification” of land layout by BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa when he was the chief minister.
In her editorial in that issue, Lankesh wrote about two Supreme Court verdicts. On the verdict holding instant triple talaq unconstitutional, Lankesh wrote, “At the time of writing this column people are celebrating the Supreme Court across the country.” She, however, criticised another judgment that ordered a National Investigation Agency probe into the marriage of Hadiya, a Kerala woman who converted to Islam. She said the judgment undermined women’s rights and gave life to “the Hindutva construct of love jihad”.
In an earlier edition, the cover story dealt with BJP chief Amit Shah’s visit to Karnataka ahead of state elections. Lankesh’s editorial in that issue dealt with the death of children at Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, where she hinted at a conspiracy against Kafeel Khan, the head of paediatrics unit who was later suspended for negligence.
With focus on politics, Gauri Lankesh Patrike acquired a mass connect with its tone. Satish, a senior editor at the weekly, said the style of the tabloid was dictated by the niche market. “There is also a change in the readers, who prefer this style now,” Satish said this was also the style she preferred.