Thursday, August 25, 2011

Unsung Hero

Today, any TV channel or newspaper is all and only about Anna Hazare and his fast. While the initiative and venture is definitely laudable and much required, there are a couple of unrecognised heros who have, in their own ways been trying to make an impact.

One among them is the 38 year old "Iron Lady Of Manipur", Irom Chanu Sharmila. Since November 2000, she has been on an indefinite fast demanding the withdrawal of the AFSPA (Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958) which allows the armed forces full right of action, with full immunity for their actions in the "disturbed areas" (states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Jammu & Kashmir).

Irom Sharmila started her fast on November 2nd, 2000. She is under arrest and is being force fed by the Manipuri Government in a hospital in Imphal. Every year, she is released, and re-arrested.

Manipur, like other disturbed areas is a war torn land, with arm carrying militants and the army having the final word. the AFSPA act might be a necessary evil in Manipur. Not living there, it is difficult to judge. Though opinions vary about the effectiveness and the necessity for the AFSPA act, Irom Sharmila's courage and determination is something to be applauded and respected.


P. Venugopal said...

Beautiful mature writing, if I may say so, Deeps.

up↑take said...

Welcome back, honey

Anonymous said...

Dear Deepa,
Armed forces should have full powers for them as they arre the ones who will be daring death and facing the anti-national eliments.

I sometimes see the so called Human rights comission shunting the Army doing their job in War torn areas for the actions of the army. If I, a ruthless anti-national element aim a gun on your head and then somebody ask me to play by the rules, what would you do?

Same situation with this so called people who argue for limited powers to the army.

Once a point of fighting for lives is reached, there won't be any rules. Its the survival of the fittest in the battle field.

You should avoid going inn to that situation in the first place, instead of getting in to that situation and then crying foul againt the Army.

Remember, Indian Army is working for the nation. We have to support them at any cost, even if it means some mistakes done by them. There are laws concerning the Army which the army will enforce them with in to have an order in the army, but no one should interfere with them, wheen guns are aimed at their heads.

What do you say?

ashok said...

I have read about her. But we dont connect with her as her cause is regional. Anna's cause is national and hence people everywhere easily connect with him.

Priyankari said...

Hey Deepa, great to see you blogging still...I've come back after quite some time to this world again and I found almost none of my blogger friends writing anymore. :)

Coming to the post, it's really nice that you brought her up. I too respect this lady a lot and salute her for her courage and determination.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for using the time and effort to write something so interesting.

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~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Venugopal :
thank you maashe !

Uptake :
thank you :)

Anony :
Well .... pure power in anyone's hands is not good ... the line between good use of power and arrogance is very thin ... so raping in the name of AFSPA is not good !

Ashok :
that is true too !

Priyankari :
yo gal ! long long time
i had taken a break too ... now back !

Anonymous said...

"so raping in the name of AFSPA is not good".

You are right about above thing in the normal curcumstances, but when a person is facing the intense pressure of life and death, and living like that, you cannot expect any fair treatment by them.

I remember you becoming upside down for some problems that you faced sometime back, and you were getting upset about them. If we behave like this for the general trboubles that we face, then, what can we expect from an average army personnal who are putting their life on threat for others. YES. They are getting money as the salary, but this is not worth their life. Hence they feel the intense pressure and frustration in the system.

We cannot make them accountable for their actions, while we watch the fun.

Bikramjit said...

this is how Indian politics work.. Anna goes on hunger strike for 10 days and look what happens
whereas there are other genuine people who are fighting for something and yet no one knows ..

I had no clue about this ...
yes she needs to be applauded but is the rest of the country thinking about this .. or are we as usual running what is shown on our TELE's


Sorcerer said...

All it takes is a bit of courage to change the world.Corruption, regional troubles, and simple things like keeping our own city clean...All it takes is individual initiatives.
Some people stick on to a cause, they are hailed Heroes for their selfless act.
AFSPA ,any rule if not implemented with strong force feedback or checks can be used for political or any advantage otherwise.Such is the nature of RULES.

AFSPA should be regulated by democratic fundamental rights.keeping the Human Rights watchdogs in the loop.
I do agree that Armed Forces dare death to keep us all safe.
We don't want our beautiful free country to be like one of our neighboring country.

Anything if not implemented with correct check and balance fails miserably.

I don't really know how many of you had the chance to see the video clips of armies intervention in these eastern states. But those who did will agree to my point here.

Army should be given rights, but should be highly regulated.

Power has a way of corrupting the system. it's addictive..insanely addictive.

Jack said...


Not only she but there are many more. I at least can speak about one more who died unsung death with very minimal media coverage. He too was a saint who was on fast for more than 7 or 8 months, hospitalised by Government and forcefed. His cause was stoppage of illegal mining along river Ganga. His death too is a mystery. And as far as AFSPA goes, it is needed under some extreme circumstances for a short period while simultaneously solution should be found by negotiations. Take care

Anonymous said...

Dear Deepa
I am grateful for your support. And even for the comments of your anonymous friend my email is and my name is Desmond Coutinho. I get upset and lose my temper but that doesn't give the British Army the right to rape or murder its own citizens with impunity. But I don't wish to mock if he/she meant something else. They sound a little creepy but if they know you I guess they can't be all bad. I assume they must mean something else. Perhaps it is that soldiers are given a tough job and need the support of the nation. Would it not be better to support them by ensuring that they act like Indians and not like as the Sorcerer put it like soldiers of neighbouring nations which do not claim to be democratic. The effect of the AF(SP)A has not been to protect troops. It has endangered their lives by making the whole area ungovernable. The knock on effect is that no one with a gun feels accountable to anyone and increasingly in Manipur more and more get their hands on guns. It is an abusive law and first and foremost abusive of the young men who have been called to serve their nation. And like soldiers everywhere these are poor young men who sign up for service as economic slaves, press ganged. These are not IIT graduates who sign up out of a sense of duty honour and service for the motherland. It is an unnecessary law. In mainland India the IAF have for over a year been given permission to use helicopter gun ships equipped with sidewards mounted machine guns against Indian Citizens and the defence minister rightly argues that they do not require a special law to protect them they have the right of self defence. If you are stupid enough to attack a passing helicopter gunship they will respond robustly. But if they don't need AF(SP)A there and they don't need the AF(SP)A when they gang rape or murder tribals in other parts of mainland India then why do they need it in Manipur? But these things are never won or lost by mature arguments. Please though send Sharmila your thoughts at Irom Sharmila Chanu, Security Ward, Jawaharlal Nehru I M S, Porompat, Imphal East, Manipur 795001. My hope is that Anna-ji will come to Imphal, a couple of lacs of Manipuris will join him, and he was a war hero in his previous life before turning to Gandhiism. With his support AF(SP)A can be repealed and I can live with her in Manipur. I agree with you her courage and determination is something to be applauded and respected and if you can flush out what the objections to AF(SP)A repeal are that doesn't hurt either. May you be happy. Sabbe Satta Sukhita Hontu.

urban butterfly said...

Thanks for sharing this. Lately, I've been doing research on human rights activists. You just gave me another person to research. :)