By Zaheeb Ajmal
01 November, 2012
Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign 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. This is the 8th in the series. This article is dedicated to Irom by a group of students from Patna
Irom Chanu Sharmila, the crusader against AFSPA, who has been on hunger strike since 4th November 2011, is still unknown to the major part of India. On 5th May 2011, the day when we got to know about the Iron Lady of Manipur through a play, “Le Mashale”, performed by Ojas SV, we were in deep shock. It was an eye opener of the unexplored land of India. We have never been told about the problems and the torture the people of Manipur face each and every day. The play was heart touching and moved us so much that it instigated us to gather more knowledge about it and this consequently resulted in us joining the fight of the Iron Lady.
We decided to campaign in and around Patna and let people know about the North east and its problems. We slowly and steadily came to know about the hardcore realities. The draconian law has been imposed in the northeast since 1958, but it is shameful that very few among us knew about her. The media which is termed as the “fourth pillar of the democracy” has been partial in the case of Manipur. We had rarely seen any news channel reporting or any print media reporting about the protest going on in Manipur every day. We were stopped and questioned by senior countrymen, why are we bothering about Manipur? Are we from Manipur? We were advised to worry about our city and state problems. Some were worried and lost their enthusiasm but it was Irom’s struggle that refilled the enthusiasm. They came back with more passion and dedication. These kids are from those groups who generally “don’t care” about the society and its worries. They proved us wrong and work day and night for the campaign because they think that the fight we have joined has to be fought till end and they think that AFSPA should be diluted.
After watching the play, Le Mashale, these students formed a group, named “Le Mashale” and organized an event on 1st July 2011 to aware the people of their city about the atrocities faced by people of Manipur. The number of people who attended it was unbelievable. It drew attention of media, activists of Patna. When asked about how they managed it, they said it is Irom struggle which gave us inspiration. They added, Why has society became so insensitive, where you care about a person who in 12 day fast but not even pay any heed to a person who is on 12 year hunger strike. Why we discriminate our brothers and sister from Northeast .They also said that everyone should about her struggle and the government should listen to her. These students also joined the “SAVE SHARMILA SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN”, which they coordinated in Bihar. At the last, Irom’s struggle has ignited a passion in our soul, we salute the lady and we are in support for her till the battle against AFSPA is won.
This article has been written by Zaheeb Ajmal on behalf of the students. He is the patna co-ordinator of Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign. He is also a member of Samar and of the students’ group for Irom, Le Mashale. He can be mailed at [email protected]