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Former employees strive to keep Gauri Lankesh’s legacy alive

The paper Gauri Lankesh Patrike will be run by the Gauri Media Trust, formed by activists who came together in the aftermath of Lankesh’s killing

india Updated: Sep 05, 2018 07:57 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Gauri Lankesh,Gauri Lankesh Patrike,Kannada tabloid
Members of Gauri Media Trust hold a discussion ahead of the launch of newspaper ‘Nyaya Patha’.(HT Photo)

Four former employees of Gauri Lankesh Patrike, the Kannada tabloid run by the journalist slain on September 5 last year, are eagerly waiting for Wednesday -- to see in print the very first edition of Nyaya Patha (Path of Justice), the tabloid they are launching to continue Gauri Lankesh’s legacy.

On Tuesday, the four were relaxing in a small, two-room house converted into an office in Vidayapeeta, a middle-class neighbourhood in the old part of the city. They have just sent their new paper to the printers.

Narasimha Murthy, one of the four, says there was no doubt in their minds that they had to continue Lankesh’s legacy despite opposition from her mother to the continued publication of Gauri Lankesh Patrike itself. “Considering the times we are living in, it became a moral responsibility to launch a paper that does not shy away from telling truth to power,” he adds.

The paper will be run by the Gauri Media Trust, formed by activists who came together in the aftermath of Lankesh’s killing. Priced at Rs 15, the weekly tabloid will attempt to capture the essence of Lankesh’s style of journalism, Murthy says.

Over the past year, support has poured in from not just from across the country but around the world. This isn’t the first attempt to launch a paper to continue Lankesh’s legacy, though.

Activists initially launched a paper called Nanu Gauri (I am Gauri), but that too ran into trouble with the family.

Eight months ago, Indira Lankesh, Lankesh’s mother, sent an injunction notice to B Chandre Gowda, asking him to keep the word ‘Gauri’ out of the venture.

“I have known the family for 38 years,” Gowda, 62, another of the four, says. “I worked for Lankesh Patrike, when P Lankesh (Gauri’s father) was the editor, for about 20 years. Subsequently, I shifted to Gauri Lankesh Patrike and worked with her for 18 years.”

Gowda adds that he was unsure why the family had moved against him, but he knew the path the new paper would follow going ahead.

“Gauri’s father was against casteism and corruption. He believed a paper had to speak truth to power and that there could be no compromising on integrity,” Gowda says. “Even in literary criticism, Lankesh was clear that we should not either overly praise a writer, so as to hinder their development, or overly criticise them, so as to affect their confidence. These are the principles we must follow.”

Lankesh tried to follow in her father’s footsteps, he says, and Nyaya Patha, too, will do the same.

Some compromises might become inevitable, Gowda says. “P Lankesh had said we should never seek advertisements. But to survive, we might have to. We had taken to the practice, under Gauri, of coming up with special features, where we made some money. Going ahead, we will have to see what business model we will follow.”

At present, the paper has a permanent staff strength of 15 and has received contributions from over a hundred people, Murthy says. “There is no masking the fact that running such a paper is a big struggle. But these are troubles everybody who starts a business faces, and so will we.”

First Published: Sep 05, 2018 07:44 IST