Diary entry of Irom Sharmila on the eve of 5th November
Shekhar Jain *
Paintings by Neogene ( a new generation of contemporary artists from Manipur) on the "Spirit of Sharmila" :: Paintings Picture courtesy of Just Peace Foundation
If I were Irom Sharmila, my diary entry on the eve of 5th November would have been:
"Tomorrow it will be 12 years. I still remember my last dinner which I ate with my mother. Now, I don't even remember how food tastes and to run for water when you are really thirsty. Seems like, I have gone past the need of these two necessary evils. But...But did I ever imagine doing this…??? Did I ever imagine my fight will be this long??? God always helped me and I always thank him for all the strength he gave me to survive. Although this nostril tube irritates me sometimes but having it for 12 years now, it has become like another organ of my body.
When I remember the day when Assam rifles had killed those innocent people, I still shudder. The face of that 18 years kid, who won the child bravery award and could have been a future for India and that 62 old year mother...They still gives me more strength to keep my fight alive.
I always read about Mahatma Gandhi and his non violence stories. I tried to follow the same path but I never imagined that my call for non-violence and peace will be ignored by the same Government whose offices are decorated with framed photo of Mahatma Gandhi. Seems like they forgotten his values of peace and non-violence.
They have not only ignored my voice but have also implicated me in a false case. Every year, I have to appear in the court for a false case. They have levied a charge which is not only false but also disrespects my step. I have been charged of committing "suicide". Even the British govt knew that Mahatama Ghandhi was on a protest and was not committing suicide. I do not wish to die. I want the Government to save me and my people. For this, I am ready to sacrifice my life. It is not suicide, it is a form of protest. And I had learnt this way of protest from my nation and keeping my faith alive in my nation, I will continue this. I am fighting for humanity and I will keep on doing this.
I never felt I was alone but sometimes. Few incidences that have come to my knowledge have been very disturbing but have given me the strength to go on. The killing of Manorama was one of them. I still feel horrified the way, i heard, she was assassinated. God knows what all happened with her before she was killed. I heard that after the incident, there was a naked parade. I must salute all the women who did that. It takes a lot of courage in doing something like this.
I tried to take my voice directly to the centre and went to Delhi in 2006 but I was not allowed to stay there and was forcefully sent back to Manipur. I have been confined to a room in Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital for 12 years. Another thing that I do not understand is that even as a prisoner, I have not been given my rights. Unlike other prisoners, I have not been allowed visitors. Why do people have to take permission from four authorities to meet me? I am not a terrorist. I am a reputed citizen of India who has faith in the Indian constitution.
Recently someone told me that I am a record holder for longest fast. Ripley's believe it or not had published my name. Though I never wanted to set such a record but my regards to them for their recognition!
I sometimes wonder...if not about my life and my people's life, isn't the Government bothered about the image of our country? What will people think about the World's largest democracy? What about the image of our diverse nation, "unity in diversity" phrase? Isn't the Government bothered? I know that many people all across the nation support me. They write to me and tell me how whenever someone hears of my plight, they are sympathetic towards me. They are shocked. If not on the grounds on humanity and justice, the Government should think about how it is deteriorating the sense of patriotism.
I demand the repeal of AFSPA. It is something which will bring peace in the mind and heart of north- eastern people. I want myself and people in my region to have a normal and peaceful life. Is it wrong? Is it such an extravagant demand? I am only demanding peace and justice. Till when will this struggle go on...Till when will I be hungry, for peace, for justice and for non-violence?
I just hope and pray may this new year bring a answer to few of my question.
"In a recent move of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC), a nationwide protest to favor Irom Sharmila, is observing 12 Article series to reflect 12 years of suppression of Irom Sharmila's fast.
Irom Sharmila is completing her 12 years of fast on 5th November. To highlight the plight, SSSC invites articles from public and selected articles will get published on its website www.savesharmila.org . In this series one article per day will be published on its website and will be dedicated to one year fast of Irom
This is the fourth article of this series.".
* Shekhar Jain wrote this article which was passed on to e-pao.net through Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC), as part of a 12 Article series to reflect 12 years of suppression of Irom Sharmila's fast
Shekhar Jain is a recent post-graduate in electronics from Delhi University. He is a volunteer of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign. He can be reached at jainshekhar36(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on October 29 2012 .
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