Irom Sharmila: 'Iron Lady' Of Manipur By Subhash Gatade

Irom Sharmila: 'Iron Lady' Of Manipur By Subhash Gatade

Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head, Pretending he just doesn't see? -Bob Dylan

Irom Sharmila.*(Age 34). Does that name sound familiar?

Well, like most of us this youngest daughter of Irom Nanda and Irom Sakhi Devi has many identities. For sister Vijayanti or brother Singhajit she is their dearest sister who had the 'never say die' spirit ingrained in her since childhood. For some of her dear friends she is an Yoga enthusiast who at times also dabbled in naturopathy. For litterateurs of Manipur, she is a budding poetess who has written hundreds of poems but till date only one of her collections 'Imadi Khongdai Setlaroi' has been published. And for the vast majority of Manipuris, she is not Irom Sharmila Thanu rather she is the 'Iron Lady of Manipur' who has challenged a callous and apathetic government and its regime of draconian law with her unique struggle.

Interestingly, despite plethora of TV channels and a boom in the print media, not many of us from 'mainland' India would be able to tell what made this young girl from a lower middle class family who could not even continue her education after 12 th, a legend in her own lifetime.

It is difficult to believe the saga of struggle of Irom Sharmila Thanu

In fact it will be nearly six years that she would be on her hunger strike.She has remained without solid food since then, demanding withdrawal from her state, of one of the most draconian laws in the statue books called Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

At present she is lodged in AIIMS, New Delhi where she is being 'nasal fed' by a team of doctors.

*Read More
Jeevan Reddy Committee Report online

The full text of the Report of the Committee, headed by Justice (Retd) B.P. Jeevan Reddy, to Review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958, is now online at the Hindu website. Here is the link:
Read More Reports At :

Background Materials on Armed Force Special Power Act & Sharmila's struggle:

~ In solidarity

Anivar Aravind
GAIA (Global Alternate Information Applications)