The Manipur’s Iron Lady fasted 16 long years to get justice against AFSPA.

irom chanu sharmila

In November 2000, in reprisal to a radical bombardment, individuals from an Indian paramilitary organization named the Assam Rifles fired and murdered ‘ten’ innocent civilians, honest regular militants standing at Manipur bus station. Furthermore, they did so with liberty under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Statute. Alarmed by the episode, presently recognized as the 'Malom Massacre', a 28-year-old civil activist by the name of Irom Sharmila decided to proceed with the hunger strike.

Irom Chanu Sharmila (born on 14 March 1972), famous known as 'The Iron Lady Of Manipur', denied food and water for over 500 weeks, which she had kept to challenge AFSPA in her home province of Manipur and consequently went on the longest craving strike that ever seen worldwide. At last, on ninth August 2016, she finished her 16-year-long hunger strike after licking nectar. On International Women's Day, 2014 she had cast a ballot the top lady symbol of India by MSN Poll. Regardless of political restrictions, her stable will power, confidence, and assurance propped her up all through her hunger strike. Here are some hard-hitting realities about the woman who succeeded to starve long in humankind's history.

Educational background….

Her supporters stated, she was average in her studies and left out with a secondary school leaving credential from Manipur board. She completed the journalism course at the beginning of the 1990s and started publishing reports and poems. She has likewise entered charitable groups like visually impaired schools for youngsters.

IRON LADY inspired by her grandmother….

Her admirer, Irom Tonsija Devi (her grandma) battled in the second Nupi Lan or 1939 ladies' war against the British raj. She too considered Mahatma Gandhi as her role model.

She was triggered by the "Malom massacre incident", after that she began her strike…After the attack on Nov. 2, 2000, by the paramilitary units wherein ten civilians were shot in Imphal, a two days crackdown was placed in the city.  Those bleeding images of people in the headlines melt her heart, the sight of horror and desolate roads and streets evoke her emotions at the sight of destruction. She said, “I felt individuals had to think about the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act under which the security powers were working”.

Malom massacre incident

Embarked this journey on some demands..

She insisted that the administration repeal the draconian AFSPA which had come about, and kept on coming about, abuses committed by military staff in the Seven Sister States in North-eastern India. Her long fast kept going 16 long years, during which she was arrested several times. She didn't assimilate a drop of water or a piece of food the entire time, supported distinctly by a nasal feed that the Indian State had forcefully prescribed to her.

Seven Sister States in North-eastern India

Her suffering and sacrifice drove her to accomplish these….

In 2013, Amnesty International declared her a prisoner of conscience because the influence of Irom Sharmila is consistently deemed as remarkable as the effect of public figures over a prolonged period. In 2017, the Manipur State Election Assembly clashed with Congress nominee Okram Ibobi Singh (the then Manipur Chief Minister) Irom Chanu missed the election by 90 votes.

Here are a few realities behind her struggle…..

She forfeited her aspiration and set out on another excursion for the justice of innocents. Irom Sharmila dreamed of becoming a doctor, but after the 'Malom Massacre' drifted towards freedom activists to take up arms against the military uncommon forces act (Afspa) that supposedly gives fighters the "permit to execute".

She was only 28 on the day she decided to starve... In the year 2000, she was a volunteer with Human Rights Alert. It was the year when the Malom killings occurred and she chose to challenge AFSPA.

She had desserts the day before she sat on the hunger strike…She liked consuming new veggies and cakes. So she had them all day before the beginning of the hunger strike. Her pace wasn't only to withdraw from drinking or eating…..She also stayed away from brushing her hair, even restricting herself standing in front of the mirror!

Irom Chanu's average calorie consumption was 1,600 kcal. These contained fluids such as Horlicks, Cerelac, and fruit juices made up of crucial nutrients that were secretly pumped into her nasal pipe. She used to wipe her teeth with dry cotton to abstain from gulping any fluid substance.

She never saw her mom once during the sixteen years of her silence…She was assisted only by her brother at this time. She feared that visiting her mom would impact her fast. She wrote, "I'll consume rice from your hand mom on the day AFSPA is scrapped," and so, she waited too long!

Yoga enabled her to stay physically healthy during the strike ....She completed a seminar on natural healing and meditation in 1998. While she was on fast, she strictly followed the habit of doing yoga asanas and walked every day to be physically fit.

She sometimes composed and wrote a variety of poetry at the clinic……Many of the poetry based on her birthplace, Kanglei. Her only partners in the clinic was a couple of guinea pigs, affectionately called ‘Thoi’ stayed with her in the emergency clinic. …

A documentary has been published on her life story in "Burning Bright"……

Her profile is accessible in 23 distinct languages on the wiki page, rendering it the 417th most significant social activism and is written by  Deepti Priya Mehrotra describing" the iron lady.”

irom chanu sharmila - A documentary has been published on her life story in Burning Bright

She broke her strike licking honey, trailed by Horlicks.

At last, when Irom Sharmila chose to end her longest strike, the specialists were careful about her eating regimen since her stomach was inert for a long time. She broke the strike with a touch of nectar and water, which was trailed by ten teaspoons of Horlicks and Chabon (a Manipuri rice soup).

youtube video

A fresh start soon after stepping out of the hospital…..

Irom Chanu Sharmila now lived at the picturesque Nature Cure Centre on the lower regions of the Langol slope, where she was kept since the day she broke her hunger strike. She met her life partner during the strike...Desmond Coutinho, a Goa-based British resident, went over her books. He read about her battle and connected her with letters since 2009. On Thursday, 17 August 2017, Irom Sharmila Chanu wedded her British accomplice Desmond in Kodaikanal, a slope station in Tamil Nadu.

Irom Sharmila marries Desmond Coutinha

Where is she now ?

The Iron Lady moved to Bengaluru with her husband Desmond in 2017.  At 47 she brought forth two little beautiful twin girls Nix Shakhi and Autumn Tara on 12th May 2019 and is thoroughly enjoying motherhood and family life.

Iron Lady Blessed with two twin girls Nix Shakhi and Autumn Tara

She still inspires the youth through her motivational talks. Sharmila spends a lot of time overlooking the house construction, her routine household activities and of course loves her scrabble and jig-saw puzzles, gardening, walking etc.,

Be the change..

You don’t have to be highly educated, rich or powerful – you need to FEEL for the people and their sufferings, to bring about a change. Her Gandhian “Non-Violence” principle is strongly engrained in her and she propagates that only through NON Violence one can achieve Peace.

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