Irom Chanu Sharmila, “the fair one” (2/2)

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Matteo Ariano

Irom Chanu Sharmila, “the fair one” (2/2)

Irom Chanu Sharmila is an activist for civil rights and poet from the Indian state of Manipur, also known as “The Iron Lady of Manipur” or “Mengoubi”, "The fair one”.

In March of 2013, speaking before the Court of Delhi, she said: “I love and respect life. I have the right to live as a human being. Mine is a nonviolent protest to ask the government to meet my demands”. She is fasting for the people of Manipur. Shortly thereafter, summoned again in court, when asked to plead guilty in order to avoid jail, she denied an attempt to commit suicide. Quite the opposite: she explained she was conducting a non-violent protest, like Gandhi, and asked the Court not to be summoned each year because of his health.

On 19 August 2014, after yet another arrest, the Court of the State of Manipur acknowledged it was not a suicide attempt and ordered her immediate release, but on August 22 Sharmila is arrested again. Shortly after, the Indian National Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party asked her to candidate at the general elections. Sharmila rejected both offers (in India inmates are stripped of all voting rights) she voices her proximity to the latter party, which is more credible fighting corruption and because it is inspired by the concept of “swaraj”, as developed by Gandhi, notably self-government and decentralization.

On 3 October 2014, Sharmila condemns the violent acts occurred during a riot in Manipur, stating that those who aspire to lead the masses should first of all have clearer thoughts and actions. Over the last few years Sharmila has never stopped fasting and lives on a nasogastric intubation. Next November 4 she will be fasting for fourteen years.

Translation: Matteo Angioli


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