Gauri Lankesh was a reputed Indian print journalist who served as the editor of the Kannada language weekly newspaper ‘Lankesh Patrike’ that was started by P.Lankesh, her father and is published in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Lankesh was viewed as one of India’s most fierce and controversial journalist and was seen a Hindu right-wing critic. She was also a renowned social activist. Lankesh later established her own weekly newspaper, ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’.
Lankesh started her career as a journalist when she was employed by the Times of India in Bangalore. She also served in the capacity of a correspondent for Bangalore’s Sunday Magazine, holding the position for 9 years. She also served at the Telegu news channel ‘Eenadu’ in Delhi. Lankesh joined her father’s newspaper after his death, serving as the editor. On 5 September 2017, Lankesh was shot to death at point blank range outside her Rajarajeshwari Nagar home in Bangalore by unknown assailants.
Early Life and Education
Lankesh was born on 29 January 1962 in Bangalore, (now Bengaluru) Karnataka, India in a family of journalists and media publishers as the daughter of poet, film-maker and ‘Lankesh Patrike’ founder, the late Palyada Lankesh and his wife, businesswoman Indira Lankesh and was raised as a Hindu in the same city. She is the elder sister of her siblings, brother Inderjit Lankesh and sister Kavitha Lankesh, both of whom are film-makers.
Lankesh completed her primary, secondary and matriculation education from Bangalore and moved to New Delhi from where she completed her graduation from Indian Institute of Mass Communication with a degree in journalism.
Gauri Lankesh – Family (in pictures)
Gauri Lankesh – Young and latest photos
Lankesh started her career as a journalist at ‘The Times of India’ Bangalore soon after her graduation and later worked with Sunday Magazine, Banagalore as a correspondent for 9 years. She also served with the Telegu language news channel ‘Eenadu’ in Delhi and spent 16 years of her career in these publications and media houses, before she took over as editor of ‘Lankesh Patrike’, the weekly newspaper started by her father, after his death in 2000. Lankesh and her brother Inderjit, who was the then proprietor of the newspaper encountered differences in ideologies, which reached its peak when she published an article about the Naxalite attack on policemen which prompted Lankesh to start her own weekly ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’ in 2005.
Lankesh had a strong voice and was a fearless journalist. She staunchly criticized the Hindutva right-wing politics. Through her articles, Lankesh advocated freedom of the Press and worte several articles on the wrongdoings of several political parties including the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. While the Congress in Karnataka made Lankesh a member of a committee that aimed to enter a dialogue with the Naxalites to convince them to surrender, she was seen by BJP as a sympathiser of the Naxalites. Lankesh also criticized the Hindu caste system openly.
Gauri Lankesh – Husband and Adopted Children
Lankesh was married to columnist Chidanand Rajghatta whom she met in Bangalore while working at ‘The Times of India’ but the marriage was short lived. The couple divorced soon and did not have any children. Lankesh never remarried and lived alone. She developed a close bond with activists Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mevani, Shehla Rashid Shora and Umar Khalid whom she considered her “adopted children”.
In 2016, Lankesh was convicted for defaming BJP MP Prahlad Joshi after she published an article in her tabloid titled “Darodegilada BJP galu” which criticized the leader and claimed that a few BJP workers had duped a jeweller worth ₹100,000. Lankesh never revealed the identity of the BJP source who tipped her. She was sentenced to six months imprisonment but was released on bail.
Gauri Lankesh – Death
On 5 September 2016, Lankesh was shot to death at point blank range but unknown assailants when she was returning to her home in Rajarajeshwar nagar, from work. Lankesh was outside her whom when a first bullet was first. 2 more assailants riding a Honda Dio bike shot at her in the head, neck and chest leaving her for the dead on the spot.
The fearless journalist’s death jolted the nation, journalist fraternity and people, in general as people across the country staged marches and peaceful protests to condemn the cowardly job of her assailants.