Chidanand Rajghatta was speaking at the launch of his book ‘Illiberal India: Gauri Lankesh and the Age of Unreason'.

Long way to liberal India Journalist Chidanand Rajghatta
news Books Saturday, July 21, 2018 - 11:05

Chidanand Rajghatta, author, columnist and ex-husband of Gauri Lankesh, reminisced the life and work of the slain journalist in an interaction at the launch of his book ‘Illiberal India: Gauri Lankesh and the Age of Unreason' in Bengaluru on Friday. 

The theme of the interaction was around the question, "Is India illiberal?" In response to the question, Chidanand measures his answer carefully. "The Indian Hindu middle class are almost living in a comfort zone, something like the white Americans who don't think racism is prevalent in the US. But India is unique in the amount of complexity we have and that is an achievement. Considering that, we are liberal but if you ask religious minorities, gays or lesbians, we have a long way to go," observes Chidanand. 

He was joined by journalist and radio host Vasanthi Hariprakash, journalist and winner of this year’s Karnataka Sahitya Academy Book Prize Preethi Nagaraj, in the interaction. "Gauri struck a chord with many people during her lifetime. I don't think she was attacked because she was a woman holding opinions but rather what she was opinionated about," says Vasanthi Hariprakash. 

Chidanand fondly remembered his ex-wife Gauri Lankesh, a fierce critic of the communal forces in Karnataka. He says, "The discourse today is very different from the 70s and the 80s. We met people a lot more back then. There was no social media, so people did not get this anonymity to express their opinion. It is a different beast altogether now and I don't think we have yet been able to tame it," says Chidanand. 

The changing patterns of discourse in the country is central to the book, which was being launched. The author admits that it is no biography of Gauri but a story that traces two people who came of age politically and in terms of awareness together and continued on that journey for many decades together. The book is available in stores.  

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