Gauri Lankesh’s Martyrdom In Global Context

Gauri Lankesh 2

We lost Gauri Lankesh to terrorism on 5th September 2017. This terrorism has a context. In this article  I’ll be trying to put Gauri’s martyrdom into global context.

When I started in 2002, the CO2 level in atmosphere was 370 ppm (parts per million). 17 years later now it is at 420 ppm. Recently scientists released a data that said CO2 and CO2 equivalents that causes global warming has reached 496 ppm. CO2 levels in the atmosphere is rising 3ppm yearly. Climate scientists warn that we have only a decade to save the planet from runaway warming.

co2 equivalent ppm

International Energy Agency (IEA) in its World Energy Outlook Report 2010 made a startling revelation. The conventional oil ie, the easily extractable oil peaked or reached its maximum output in 2005 or there about.

iea report2010

We must remember that it was the easily available oil that built the modern civilization.  Once the oil is gone, so will the civilization too. That means billions of people will perish for no fault of their own. Same is the case about other natural resources like water and other minerals that make modern civilization possible.

Now that we’ve set our premises, let’s put our future in perspective.

We are heading on our way to collapse.

  1. Ecological Collapse

An international team of scientists has published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showing that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of Earth entering what the scientists call “Hothouse Earth” conditions. A “Hothouse Earth” climate will in the long term stabilize at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures with sea level 10-60 m higher than today. The report warned “Avoiding this scenario requires a redirection of human actions from exploitation to stewardship of the Earth system.” In a Hothouse Earth scenario most of the species on earth will including most of humanity.

  1. Economic Collapse

With our earth on ventilator and most of our resources gone we are facing an economic collapse. No, it’s already happening.

  1. Social Collapse

Both the above mentioned collapses will bring in a social collapse of unimaginable proportions. Yes, it is already happening. This collapse will witness social disharmony, hatred, wars, riots and billions of avoidable deaths.  It will also propel authoritarians who cater to the basic instincts of major sections of the population. We are already witnessing it. If it is Narendra Modi in India, it is Donald Trump in USA. This trend is there to stay and only going to spread to other parts of the world. We will see the sprouting of seeds of hatred like Sanathan Sastha which took the life of Gauri Lankesh. I fear many will face the fate of Gauri in the near future.

What do we do?

Educate, Organize, Agitate and Act!

Seeds of resistance are springing up in many parts of the world. Most important of them being the school strike led by the Swedish girl Greta Thunberg. After all it is the next generation who are going to pay the price for the profligacy of the older generations. Extinction Rebellion is another protest mode that is getting popular in Europe. Transition Towns are another alternative that is getting popular around the world.

With global warming, resource crisis, environmental degradation taking us down the path of economic,social and political colllapse, it’s time for us to have a re-look at the way we do journalism, art, literature etc. Everything that doesn’t take into consideration of these realities is empty for me. What’s going on is like the blind men and the elephant story.

We are all slow boiling frogs. When we realise what’s really happening it will be too late. It’s time to jump out of the slow boiling water and realise the calamity we are facing. We need a complete new paradigm to tell our stories,organise our resistance or else we are lost.

The old world is dead. We should hear the birth pangs of the new world!

Binu Mathew is the Editor of

This article was published in a commemorative issue of Gauri Lankesh Patrike




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