Skip to main content

#JusticeForGauri: There is only one way forward, more power to the word. Therein lies our hope for tomorrow

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
Exactly one month after the brutal murder of Gauri Lankesh, the well-known journalist and activist, thousands of citizens gathered for a massive rally in Delhi on October 5th. It was truly a ‘March for Democracy ’ demanding #JusticeForGauri and for intellectuals and journalists like Narendra Dabholkar, M.M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare , Shantanu Bhowmick and several others, who have been killed in recent times, because of their courage to stand up for truth and justice.
The massive crowd comprised a large spectrum of civil society and included media personalities, human rights and social activists, students and academics, grass root workers and intellectuals. Their refrains were loud and clear ‘Protect Dissent and Democracy’, and say ‘No to Fear and Hate’. Posters and banners with slogans like “we are Gauri” and the words of Pablo Neruda “you can crush the flowers but you cannot stop the spring”, were carried by the marchers.
As if on cue, most of the so- called ‘mainstream media’ hardly gave this massive march the coverage it deserved! Several of the journalists and other media folk in India, are coopted, bought up or bamboozled into silence. Some are just frightened. Huge corporations that are in sync with a corrupt Government, through dubious ways, have taken over some of the major print and electronic media. More are apparently in the offing. There are a good many media ‘guys’ who scream themselves hoarse on their channels in efforts to mouth lies, half-truths, ‘feku-isms’ and toe the line of their political bosses.
Freedom of speech and expression is systematically being throttled in India; the marchers in Delhi, made this evidently clear to all. Few of the major newspapers in India are able to demonstrate the freedom, the courage, the objectivity and the intellectual depth which some of the US dailies do today, as they take on President Trump and his policies, incessantly. Fortunately, we still have some excellent journalists, in India today, made in the mould of Gauri, who are articulate and fearlessly take on the fascists and fundamentalists who are trying to deny the citizens of their legitimate rights.
Very significantly on October 5th ,it was announced in Stockholm that the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2017 was awarded to English author Kazuo Ishiguro "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".Ishiguro has written several best-selling novels. He also speaks plainly on critical issues. Writing a powerful op-ed in the ‘Financial Times’ (July 1st 2016) a little after the United Kingdom had decided to leave the European Union, he raises a critical question as to whether Britain had voted for xenophobia; he concludes his article saying, “we need a second referendum, for or against a “Brexit Light”, that will unite Britain around its traditional humane instincts. And to isolate the racists who today deludedly believe they have won the backing of the country’. Words certainly very applicable to the situation in India today!
More than 175 years ago, novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his historical play of 1839, ‘Cardinal Richelieu’ wrote those immortal words, "the pen is mightier than the sword" Richelieu who was the Chief minister of King Louis XIII, discovers a plot to kill him; but he is a priest and therefore unable to take up arms against his enemies. His page, Francois, points out to him, “but now, at your command are other weapons, my good Lord”. And Richelieu readily agrees, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword... Take away the sword; States can be saved without it!”
Across the world today, several dictators, fascists, fundamentalists and totalitarian regimes are afraid of the pen and use the sword to throttle freedom of speech and expression. Journalists and others who are visible and vocal in taking a stand for truth and justice, are harassed and incarcerated; brutalized and murdered. There is, however, only one way forward: more power to the word! Therein lies our hope for tomorrow!
---
*Indian human rights activist

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.