BENGALURU: I was 16 when I heard of Gauri Lankesh for first time. It was at a Ninasam (Neelakanteshwara Natya Seva Sangha) cultural camp. I very well remember her reaction. She called the camp a gathering of Brahmin intellectuals and Neenasam, a mutt. She stayed there for only two days and returned. That was new to me. I wondered how dare she question U R Ananthamurty and Shimoga Subbanna. Liza pointed me to a slim, smart woman in stylish outfits and whispered, “Look, she is Gauri Lankesh”. “So headstrong!” she added.
Almost a decade later, I heard her name for the second time. And it became common to discuss her. During those times, I used to live with Chakravarthy Sulibele, a budding right wing youth leader then. Whenever I raised a question or objected to his point, he used to shout at me saying I am “Gauri Lankesh’s agent”. Later, when I realised my path is Left, they started to call me Gauri Lankesh Junior. Right-wingers started trolling me along with Gauri though I am much younger and new to social media activism. Though I and Gauri never interacted personally, right wing people created the impression that we two are very close.
This is how she became part of my identity. And I was happy about that it. I admired Gauri for being daring. I share a very strange relationship with her. I had even filed a defamation case against Gauri and her reporter for publishing an ugly article against me once. Though she was unhappy with me for it, she stood for me whenever I faced trouble. They may have killed Gaury Lankesh in the body, but they can never kill the Gauri in me.