“The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore.”
—Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese explorer (1480-1521)
The word assassination is anathema to a civilised world. It cannot happen in a world of light and warmth. It can only happen in a society with dark areas where evil resides and eliminates its own member for no reason except a difference in the ideal of life she or he professes. This is apparent in the assassination of Gauri Lankesh.
In a mature society, neither one should kill for a cause, howsoever noble, egalitarian or socialistic it may be nor get killed. This way the professed cause can never be helped either by the killer or by the one killed. Even if there is a provocation, assumed or otherwise, for the killer to act in a violent manner, the question remains:
How one can take law into his or her own hand when there is a lawfully established government to take action against such provocation?
I am told by many who are disturbed or hurt by verbal or physical provocation that the government, in such cases, fails to act on its own, despite the Police intelligence report. And worse even when the person or persons hurt by such provocation give oral or written complaint to the Police or the Chief Minister himself.
The citizen can make two common sense inference from the government’s failure to act effectively against such provocateurs or killers. One, the Government is in complicity with the provocateur or has vested interest in not pursuing the perpetrator of the evil.
When the State (Government) fails in its duty, this kind of assassination will happen from the fringe elements of our society. Questions about political ideology or economic and social justice cannot be answered through the barrel of a gun. It needs TIMELY wisdom on the part of the government to engage the dissenter and the disgruntled in a dialogue and then deliver the promises — whether it is Maoists, Naxals, Militants or the social and religious reformers.
To a mature man to kill or to get killed, can never be the ideal. His attitude is of cool, constructive one. He takes a silent, not violent, scrupulously planned path that would take time but ultimately take him to victory. As is said, he who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword. Gandhiji has succinctly yet eloquently rubbished the idea of ‘an eye for an eye and a jaw for a jaw’ propounded by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and the Old Testament repeating the same with some mercy demanding a ‘tooth’ instead of the ‘jaw’, saying that should one follow this religious instruction then the ‘whole world will become blind.’
How wise and how true. After all human society, as we know, evolved with fits and starts around the idea of liberty, equality and fraternity to live in peace and happiness.
Be that as it may, one is left wondering at the unedifying spectacle of exasperation on the part of the Karnataka Police under the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to crack this sensational case of assassination. One learns that even the CCTV cameras may not give required information in some cases, like this one for example. And the Rs. 10 lakh amount of reward for informants who provide the clues or the identity of the assassin seems too small an amount these days with the risk of the identity of the informant being leaked.
The proverbial long arm of the law has so far failed to catch many killers, including the killer in the famous Kalburgi murder, in Karnataka. Now, let us keep our fingers crossed about arresting the assassin of Gauri Lankesh which seems a challenge as daunting as that of Kalburgi’s. The majesty of law may lie in the principle that no one is above the law. But the effectiveness of law lies in the success of the law-enforcing authority in catching the culprit or arresting the murderer. Otherwise, the majesty of law becomes a joke and ceases to be an instrument for the safety and security of our society. Thus one is destined to live by the decree of fate and not by the law of the land!
We are hearing in the news channels and reading in the newspapers that there could be an unseen hand of many organisations behind this assassination, among them the Maoists, Naxals and according to Sitaram Yechury, Ramachandra Guha and Rahul Gandhi, RSS and BJP. We also hear about her support to the ongoing agitation to establish a separate Lingayat religion — with a messiah (Basavanna) and a Holy book (Vachana) that may have ruffled the feathers of some members of the Veerashaiva religion. But no one has the clue so far. She has also criticised Hinduism saying it has neither a founder like other religions nor a single Holy book and worse.
Gauri Lankesh has had a rumbustious life as an individual, smoking included, as her divorced husband Chidanand Rajghatta writes, but she certainly belongs to that rare breed of editors who are crusaders, stars and philosophers. She was all the three — a crusader for many causes, a star editor who dared and challenged the high and mighty but a phoney philosopher. The last attribute needs a clarification: To wit, she was like a blind philosopher, looking for a black cat in a dark room where there was no cat at all ! I do not know. I doubt if her admirers know.
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