The post-Sharmila-decision : Random thoughts


The Sharmila supporters who deserted her the moment she decided to end and ended her FAST are neither her well-wishers nor genuine crusaders against AFSPA. If they were/are why else should Sharmila be shown the door when all she wanted was/is to be with her people.
Here is a woman who has sacrificed 16 precious years of her prime life for a people’s cause. Here is a woman who has single-handedly galvanised international support and awareness for human rights violations in Manipur and the North-East.
Here is a woman who has put the biggest Question Mark on the nature of Indian democracy.
This is something that no one, before Sharmila, has ever been able to do/achieve. She has done much more than what she could. She does not have to prove anything to anyone.
Here is a woman who, of all the social/human rights activists in the country, is the one and only ACTIVIST who have chosen the Gandhian path of non-violence as a means to fight injustice oppression and suppression for so long a period. Here is a frail young woman who is arguably the best known ‘Rebel Democrat’ in the contemporary world. Here is a woman who silently but steadily fought for an out-of-this-world-period of five thousand eight hundred and forty days without a single piece of morsel on her stomach. Here is a village grown woman who stood her ground, and stood up, against all odds, to free her fellow natives and country(wo) men from the demonic and draconian arms of AFSPA.
Here is a woman who has no parallel in any known history of the world colonial and/or post colonial to have had succeeded in arousing the conscience of every right thinking person. Here is a woman who made the world sit up and take notice of how an Act, more inhuman than inhuman, more archaic than archaic, more infamous than infamous, have dehumanized and continue to dehumanize the peripheral Indians. Here is a woman to whom Malala Yousafzai cannot hold a candle (I mean no disrespect to the Nobel laureate) if greatness is to be measured in terms of courage, will power and indomitable spirit. Here is a woman about whom Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Winner had cautioned the Indian State in 2006: “lf Sharmila dies, Parliament is directly responsible…..the PM and President are responsible……” Here is a woman who is more deserving than any other living person on earth to get the Nobel for Peace. Here is indeed a woman who is the only MAN in the entire country to wage such an unparalleled battle against an Act which should not find any place in any civilized world.
For the last sixteen years, Sharmila has been speaking the language of silence. Hers is not the language of silence that Anasuya Sengupta so movingly described about “Too many women/In too many countries/Speak the same language/Of silence”. Hers is the language of Protest. Hers is the language of Courage. Hers is the language of Indomitable spirit. Hers is the language of Humanity. Hers is the language of John Donne:” No man is an island/Every man is a piece of the continent/Any man’s death diminishes me/Because I am involved in mankind/And therefore never send to know for whom/the bell tolls;/lt tolls for thee”.
Now Sharmila has spoken when she ended her fast. She wants to, wanted to live one more day. To fight another battle.
We respect your decision Sharmila. Live one more day to fight for what you believe in. Every piece of plot on planet earth is your home.
If Tagore be alive today, the humanist in him would empathize with Sharmila and urge/encourage her to “walk alone”:” lf no one responds to your call/walk alone……If no one talks for fear/speak out alone……./If all turn away/walk alone……./over the thorns and along the blood strewn track/ walk alone”.
(The writer is Professor of Sociology at Manipur University, Imphal and could be reached at aardhikshetri@


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