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India, have you heard of the lady named Sharmila?

(Image courtesy : reverbnation)
Have you dear reader?
Irom Sharmila Chanu … rings a bell? 
Heard of Anna Hazare / Baba Ramdev / Jan Lokpal bill ?
Of course!

Welcome to India. The country that proudly defends its photogenic National Integration. Irom Chanu Sharmila , tagged as the world’s strongest hunger striker , is on hunger strike since November 2, 2000. Oh yes she did not invite media to cover her strike and she never took the pains of creating difficulties for Delhi office goers and hence she faced consequences: Going unnoticed! Even the people who noticed were mostly unaware of her demand or motive.

She is demanding a repeal of the age-old unreasonable Armed Forces (Special Powers) act that provides Indian Army special powers in the states of Assam , Manipur , Meghalaya, Mizoram , Nagaland , Arunachal Pradesh , Tripura and Jammu & Kashmir to :

  • "Fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law" against "assembly of five or more persons" or possession of deadly weapons.
  • To arrest without a warrant and with the use of "necessary" force anyone who has committed certain offenses or is suspected of having done so
  • To enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests. (Quoted from wikipedia)

Indian army has been doing their work well indeed. Since a picture speaks a thousand words a summary of their performance is as follows:
(Source : One world)
That was the situation that led a twenty eight year old poet to sacrifice the most beautiful phase of her life for the cause. Yet her battle for a cause even after a decade has not caused any major stir in the coffee houses of Calcutta , IT parks in Bangalore or Socialite gatherings in Bandra. No politician even contemplates politicizing her fast as none of his prospective voters is concerned about some chinky female going without food for a decade! Plights of Manipur don’t concern us perhaps because it is too remote to concern. Just like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura. These are not even India!

Over the years we have screamed in global forums about how great a democracy we are. We also take pride in the fact that India stands for “Unity in Diversity”. Unfortunately we never care to validate our pride. We feed on everything that is fed to us by popular media assuming the information unadulterated. A slight detailing would open up un-healable wounds. We would realize the pain provoking Imphal Talkies & Howlers to ask:

  • Is there a dream that we share from north to south? 
  • Is there a song that echoes from east to west?

I wish I could also be proud, but then I have no answer for Imphal Talkies . I cannot answer Sharmila if she ever asks me why I became aware of her struggle only in 2011. I have no answer if somebody asks me about delicacies of Mizoram and Tripura. I have no answer if China asks me what I have done for Arunachal Pradesh!

Mixing cultures forcibly is more dangerous than mixing drinks before driving. No one has ever tried it thankfully. However what we have done is far more pervert: we have promptly trimmed off cultures and names from our history books, national museums and off-course our national anthem. Yet we expect patriotism from one and all and we spurn at criticisms of national policies. Have we done our bit to provide the ones we hate with a simple sense of belonging? We are instead waiting with fingers crossed for stone pelters to become suicide bombers. 

The lady called Sharmila is waiting for justice to have its say. Hungry yet strong she is facing the toughest roadblock : mass ignorance! 

Spread the word.

Note: Do listen to the song India I see blood in your Hands by Imphal talkies & Howlers.

Author : Anirban Sengupta.

13 comments so far..What are your thoughts?

  1. That's a really sad but strong article I read after a long time.There are many people like Sharmila quietly waiting for justice.Things like this still happen and We are all responsible for the same in some way or other,aren't we?

  2. HUNGRY YET STRONG....very true......

    i had also written a post on Sharmila few months back.......

  3. ..d states of d n-east have always been given step motherly wonder she has been on fast since d last decade and no one..d government and d media is bothered.. in our country is only looking fr stories which are spicy n sensational..which can increase der has nothing to do wid d real news..things happening around in d heart of d country..
    ..series of atrocities have been going on in d n-east..which has nt been hidden frm d public eyes..but nothing has been done as d government is acting blind..
    ..irom figting fr dos rights..
    ..any man in her shoes wud have given up..
    ..but it is d woman in her dat has kept her struggle going on..against all odds...
    ..she is really a warrior in woman's skin...
    ..we salute fr for dis kind of guts..
    ..' hell has no fury like a woman scorned '..perhaps our government will get a taste of dat in d time to come..

  4. @Avishek Kumar
    Of course we are responsible. We are India.


    Government will get a taste only when people are aware. However like you said history is favorable. Sita, Draupadi , Helen of Troy ... list is endless

  5. being genuine,i never knew abt sharmila and the cause of her strike..and apparently ur blog succeeded in passing the information to another ten ppl as i would do the job of spreading it atleas to ten ppl..very strong post indeed!!

  6. @Muthiah

    Thanks. I hope a similar effect happens on the 10 beings scheduled to be educated by you.

  7. Man, can't believe he is on hunger strike since November 2 damn man. I saw her pic once in my facebook timeline, some one shared it.

    What the hell they are waiting for? To let the women die, she is on strike from past 2 months I don't think she is going to break it and government also know about it. Then why don't they just hear her once?

  8. Deepak ,

    check the date right. Its not 2 months its over 10 years!

  9. It's too much yaar..She is suffering for the sake of others and our govt is doing nothing.

  10. Very well written. Very strong! It is sad that the govt is doing nothing. People need to be made aware!

  11. Very sad article, it's a crime governments all over the world show less and less concern for their people.

  12. @Sanjay, Philo & Debbie,

    Its we who make the government. Our voice is what can make all the difference.

  13. I've heard about her.Our govt's has really turned deaf ear to many things today.
    But as Sanjay says "Its we who make the govt.Our voice is what makes all the difference."

    I'm your new follower!! :)


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