“She was a warrior woman.”
Revathi stopped at the first line of her tribute. She choked, unable to go any further as she wrote those words. This was a tribute to a woman that she wished was dead all her life
Malini´s greatness lay in her strong ethics and call to fight for truth and justice. The truth is something that Revathi would never fathom because her own relationship began on the foundation of lies.
Revathi fell in love with her boss, Srijan at the publication house. She knew about Srijan´s marriage to Malini but that didn´t stop her from pursuing the much older man. He had an aura of intellectualism around him that Revathi found irresistible. His salt and pepper hair was a complete contrast to his toned and fit body. Srijan fell for Revathi who was a younger, slimmer and non-threatening version of Malini.
Malini and Srijan were college sweet-hearts who studied journalism together. The natural progression was marriage and career. Malini was the more successful journalist of the two. While this didn´t pose a problem in the beginning, the cracks in their marriage started to widen as time went by. The final straw was the knowledge of his affair with Revathi.
Though bitter about the new turn of developments and Srijan´s betrayal, Malini chose to let go off all contempt. Having earned a name for herself in the field of journalism and enough money, Malini started her own printing press. Her newspaper ´Malini Patralekha´ became the No.1 newspaper daily in the state of Karnataka.
Malini was a fearless journalist who staunchly believed in the freedom of speech. She was a big fan of the ´servant leadership´ style and advocated equality and justice for all. She was anti-establishment. Even though she came from a privileged background, Malini detested the idea of dividing people on the basis of the work they do, skin colour, religion etc. She fought passionately for the rights of the Dalits and against the Brahmanical hegemony in the country.
When the fascist right-wing government came to power, Malini had lots of fodder to publish in her newspaper publications. She blew the top of many government officials, openly challenged the clandestine terrorism against the minorities and exposed all devious motives to ´divide and rule´ the country.
On the other hand, Srijan and Revathi pandered to the majoritarian politics played by the government. They worked as government stooges and their printing press was the voice of the government. Despite the hand of support from the government, their news publications could never rival the ´Malini Patralekha´.
´Malini Patrilekha´ was the voice of the people. It gave them a platform to talk about their issues, vent their frustrations and suggest new solutions. Malini had a grand vision of a unified India that stood tall in its ´Satyamev Jayate´ principles. In an ardent bid to erase all dividing lines, she started polarising sections of her Brahmin community to give up their supremacy and power. Some of the high caste sub-sections divorced from their parent community and join the mainstream. This came as a major blow to the ruling government which banked on the votes of the high caste community. Malini, in her role as a social reformer activist posed an imminent danger to the government.
Even though they were rivals in the professional sphere, the news of Malini´s death shook Srijan and Revathi. While their side of the camp celebrated the news, Srijan and Revathi were completely devastated.
“Srijan! Let me please write the tribute to Malini. This will be my Moksha.”
Revathi´s fingers shook as she started penning down her tribute to Malini Hegde.
“She was a warrior woman.
Not the kind that you imagine her to be – No chariots, breastplates, helmets, blazing guns and duelling swords!
Those were built for cowards. Not her!
No hurling abuses or war cries yet her voice traversed and broke all seams and boundaries!
Fighting for truth and justice in the most righteous manner. Her truth was deadlier than any of their masked lies combined.
She knew they would come for her. ……….
Hiding behind veils and guns, they greeted her with bullets when she stepped into her home. As she collapsed into the chair, her deadliest weapon slipped from her fingers – The humble mighty little pen!
´Hey Ram! My battle is over. But, the show must go on´, she smiled looking heavenward.”