'Hindu chauvinism'

Cold-blooded killing of Indian journalist fueled by culture of bigotry and intolerance

Indian demonstrators hold placards with the picture of Indian journalist during a 'Not In My Name' protest in New Delhi on September 7, 2017. (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

A journalist known for being a harsh government critic was gunned down in her home this week by three unidentified suspects. The killing of Gauri Lankesh left her supporters shaken and many grasping for answers after a crime that was described as an assassination against a woman who was an outspoken opponent of Hindu majoritarianism.

In a column for The Daily O, journalist Shoma Chaudhury cuts straight to the heart of the aftermath and draws parallels between Lankesh’s slaying and the killings of three other dissidents, M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, in recent years. She worries that Lankesh’s killers, like the killers of the other three who were assassinated before her, won’t be brought to justice in this tumultuous time in India — or even identified as suspects.

And she gets right to the point about what is ailing Indian culture these days.

“It’s crucial, therefore, to say this even more unequivocally than ever before: India cannot afford Hindu chauvinism,” Chaudhury writes. “It does not need it. The Hindu gods do not need it. Hinduism does not need it. This civilization and culture has survived perfectly for millennia without pygmy armies to protect it with country pistols and political vitriol.”

Chaudhury paints a bleak portrait of the state of affairs in India right now — Lankesh’s slaying is “proof that violent bigotry and intolerance have already put a fatal tear into our national soul,” but that “bow[ing] to the tenets of good journalism” should be their north star — and their hope.

Read the full column at The Daily O.

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