Most of the time of our childhood is spent on remembering (or rote memorizing) the dates of different battles that were fought in the Indian history. Our history books was filled with the battles fought in the medieval times, namely Battle of Panipat, Battle of Chanderi, Battle of Plassey and so on which took place for one reason or the other. If that was not enough, the Hindi literature books had some random chapters of historic personalities such as Ashoka, Akbar & Arjuna or some historic events such as Mahabharta & Ramayana which again covered the battles that happened during that era.That phase of school life can be considered to be one of the most toughest time for any student because we were made to understand or know something at that age which probably we were not prepared for mentally or we weren’t aware what can be the takeaways from this learning.
Though the battles which interested us the most were those which were fought between alien crusaders and our favorite superheroes such as Superman & Batman. Or the one that was fought between the Avengers and Chittauri force. When similar battles were showcased on 70MM with Hollywood movies like 300 or even the Bollywood counterparts such as Jodha Akbar & Bajirao Mastani, it somewhere was able to trigger a warrior within us while watching the movie on screen. And possibly while witnessing these, there was one key take away that was taken from these visual experiences which was ‘it is always the Good that defeats the Evil in the end‘. One may definitely feel a little patriotic as well after watching movies like Border or LOC. But no one could even imagine the difficulties that a soldier has to go through in a war-like situation. And our imagination may even go for a toss when we have to think of a soldier being stuck in the frozen glaciers of Siachen for 6 days while serving for the nation near the border. Needless to say that our Indian military deserves the respect and love of every Indian who is able to sleep comfortably in his home because our soldiers had to sacrifice their sleep every night away from their home. But it is not that these wars and battles takes place only across the border and between two countries. If at present we look into the reality then definitely there is something more that is involved in the everyday battles that we see around us. These battles are being fought without the use of weapons and without the backing of any army but it is the one which is taking place between the individuals with the system, the society or sometimes even with themselves. Even if you were on the good side and you fight with all the determination but still in the end it becomes difficult to realize whether in the end you are on the winning side or not. One such prolonged battle that went for 16 years and was presumed to be ended some time back was fought by a woman who is popularly known as Iron Lady and is known by the name of Irom Sharmila.
In the complications of today’s world, it may seem that every individual is fighting a battle every single day with their own life decisions, with the challenges that life throws up to them and with the hurdles that may come across during this journey of life. Such is a scenario that we get so much engrossed in our own problems that we evade the things going around affecting the people around us and the society as a whole. Despite of such kind of prevailing attitude of general public, here is a lady who became the face of activism in India and all alone initiated a non-violent protest against the system that lasted for 16 years. Much before the term Anshan became popular because of the Anti-Corruption Movement by the social activist Anna Hazare, it was this lady who went for fasting in order to protest against the government decision of deploying Armed Forces in Manipur. According to her, it was a question mark that was raised against the freedom and liberty of the people living in the state which led her to sit on an indefinite hunger strike. She took a pledge that she will also not even meet her mother till the time AFSPA is repealed. She had to be jailed for this action of her on charges of attempt to suicide year after year without consuming a single grain. Despite of the struggle she faced for 16 years, there wasn’t any progress in the movement leaving little scope that her demands would be met that led her to change her method of protesting. On 9th August 2016 at 4:25pm, she broke her fast with a dab of honey with the announcement she would want to contest for the Chief Ministerial post of Manipur in order to continue with her struggle.
I am sure that all this stuff must have been captured in all the major newspapers but I don’t think anybody can explain that what could be the source of strength for the Manipuri lady that allowed her to single handedly fight such a prolonged battle. A battle that led her to stay away from her family. A battle due to which surviving every single day was no less than a pain in the soul. A battle that led her to engage in regular court hearings in which everything gets discussed apart from the one thing that she has been demanding for years. It takes a huge heart to devote your life into something that is not for your personal welfare but for the betterment of the people around you making you go even against the government. Nobody knows what will be the future of the movement that she initiated and whether she will be ever be able to see the kind of Manipur in which she believed in. Some may say that she might have lost this battle after going through so much that led her to breaking her fast after 16 years without getting any decision in her favor. And its true that she had lost almost half of her life so far in search of freedom. She might have lost a life that every regular women would want to live. She might have lost the comfort that every human being aims for in his/her life. But when it comes to being a symbol of courage, determination & conviction, it is definitely difficult to keep her under the category of a loser. Because that old wrinkled face with a tiny smile and a feeding tube stuck to the nose will continue to inspire the generations in the times to come for the contributions she has made for her people.
P.S.: The blog is not intended to disrespect any of the decision declared by the government or the Indian judiciary. The main purpose of it is to celebrate the spirit of an individual who went against all odds with the ambition of achieving her goal and is continuing to do so.