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A Tribute To Gauri Lankesh

Posted: September 30, 2017

This beautiful poem pays tribute to Gauri Lankesh and to all those who refuse to stay silent even when answered with abuse and threats.

She was born with a voice
like all of us are
but sooner or later
sell it to fear or favour
either of the two

but she held on
to this voice of her soul
this calling
a spade a spade
in the dark times
of abuse and troll

She owned this voice
and gave it fiercer words
her dissent was her arrow
her armour and swords

but who likes a voice?
A woman with a choice
A newspaper with questions
Enquiries and allegations
It is not in the great culture
To speak against the great
Quietly accept their follies
as their greatness or fate

She stood alone in the storm
Holding the flag high
The resistance grew stronger
And the attacks more sly
Bitch, whore, traitor
The commonest labels
To silence the dissent
In ideological battles

She the brave one
was still undeterred
courage is often feeble
never bartered
even when battered

She used her words to
Write their crimes
As Brecht said once
The dark songs
for these darkest times
when institutions become weaker
and dissent a pantomime

A brave warrior woman
who speaks her mind

was so unbearable
for a dictatorship blind

when force or coercion
could not stifle the outcry
a bullet for the truth
that had dared to defy

It is not pen against a gun
or gun against a pen
It is violence against us
One by one

but one final day
The dictator will not
have the last laugh
Her voice shall live on
Even in her epitaph:

“Tolerating an injustice is as bad as committing one.”

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Pooja Priyamvada is a columnist, professional translator and an online content and Social Media consultant.

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