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This weekly newspaper was started on the lines of ‘Harijan- a newspaper published by Mahatma Gandhi’ by P Lankesh in 1980. The weekly to this day remains true to its principles and has never published a single advertisement or generated any ad revenue; surviving these last 37 years on subscription from its readers.
The weekly aimed to be a platform for the Oppressed, Dalits, Women and Marginalized sections of society. It popularized a brand of journalism that grew to be the voice of these sections playing an important role in the Raitara Chaluvali – or Farmers Agitation, Dalit movement and Gokak movement started by the Founder P Lankesh. He led the newspaper from 1980 – 2000 until his death. It is still recognized to this day for its true secular outlook. The weekly at its peak enjoyed a readership of 2.5 million with a circulation of 4.5 lakhs.
Lankesh Patrike introduced a number of new writers to the Kannada literary scene. Some of them, like B.T. Lalita Naik, Vaidehi B.M.Rasheed, Sara Abubakkar and Banu Mushtaq, later went on to win accolades as writers.
Founding Editor; 1980 – 2000: P Lankesh
A writer himself, P Lankesh was the editor of Lankesh Patrike from 1980 until his death in 2000. He won the Kannada Sahitya Academy award and is the only Kannada director to win a Swarna Kamal award till date.
Lankesh quit his job as an Assistant Professor in English at Bangalore University in 1980 and started Lankesh Patrike, the first Kannada tabloid, which went on to have an enormous impact on Kannada culture and politics.
A staunch socialist and Lohiaite he was known for his secular, anti-caste and anti-Hindutva views. Before starting Lankesh Patrike, he along with his socialist friends Ramdass and Tejaswi, had toured the length and breadth of Karnataka, mobilizing people to vote for their new socialist party. This trip, he recounted in one of his editorials, which took him to the remotest parts of Karnataka opened his eyes to the plight of the poor, the Dalits and the Muslims and made him realize his responsibility as a writer and an intellectual towards the society.
The weekly followed this as its mission and continues to fight for the Oppressed class, Dalits and Muslims with a firm focus on secularism in these challenging times under his son Indrajit Lankesh who is associated with this paper for 25 years now.
Managing Editor, Publisher -Indrajit Lankesh, 1992 – till date
Indrajit Lankesh joined Lankesh Patrike in 1992 as a sub editor. He worked under his father gathering the nuances of the journalism he followed and imbibing his legacy in spirit and kind. He took over as Managing Editor and Publisher of Lankesh Patrike in 2000 after the death of his father. His sister Gauri Lankesh was the then editor.
Indrajit Lankesh’s 25 years of association with Lankesh Patrike has stood the test of time and to date runs on the no advertising and subscription only model, continuing to strive for the downtrodden factions of the society with high consciousness for social justice.
Indrajit first tryst with publishing began early in his life. During his college days, as sports man and champion cricketer. He published a Kannada sports weekly All Rounder – the then highest circulated Kannada sports weekly in Karnataka. He chose to keep his father’s legacy alive and closed it when he joined Lankesh Patrike in 1992 as its Sub editor.
Much like him, the weekly is fuelled by their loyal staffs who continue to be a part of this 37 years old institution growing from strength to strength, working both under father and son to uphold the ideals of the Patrike in these changing times. The Patrike continues to support new writers and has been a platform to writers of repute like Gangadhar kushtagi, donehalli gurumurthy, habeeb dandi, Rajashekar Naidu, Honnachar and N.raju amongst others.
Indrajit himself is a Film maker; both a Producer and Director of films across Kannada, Telugu and Hindi languages. He has done ten films till date. He has launched many an actor including Deepika Padukone who have made it big in the world of Bollywood. He presently anchor a TV Program on Colors Kannada keeping him connected to the common man and his various fights in life.
He continues to journey as a creative thinker and intellectual; responsible to a legacy of the people of Karnataka – The Lankesh Patrike.
Director Indrajit Lankesh, P. Lankesh's son, has directed a Kannada film with the same name. It was released on 16 May 2003. The film features Darshan, Vasundhara Das and Aditi Gowitrikar in the lead roles along with Ananth Nag, Devaraj, Lokanath in other pivotal roles.