Accepting the real Irom Sharmila Chanu of Manipur
It’s heartbreaking to see Irom Sharmila Chanu in tears fighting for her basic right. She pleads for her right of choice, right to make her own decision. She wants to break free from the iconic image created by the people. She is more than the icon, she wants people to know her, the real her as a simple woman who loves peace. And now she is emotionally battered by the mental attack she received from the angry crowd and the reaction after she broke her 16 years of fasting. Does she deserve such kind of treatment at this juncture?
Many are showing disappointment that Sharmila hasn’t consulted them before she announced her decision and retorting back that they can fight for the cause with or without her. This will only alienate her even more widening the gap. Many are coming up quoting examples of instances of when and how they have supported her and it’s true that the people have supported her in their own way. However it’s a very long 16 years of struggle for her where she must have spent hours and hours in solitude and loneliness where her interaction with people are limited, very limited. It must be such a moment of loneliness where she saw no one around and said what she said sharing her thoughts. Don’t we all go through such moments? And don’t we expect that our love ones will stand by us during such times? By abandoning her aren’t we proving that her insecurity and fear of being alone is true? Isn’t it time to show our moral support for her?
It is a big question as to where she will be staying. It’s reported that Red Cross Society announced that they are ready to give her shelter with the condition that she cannot be involved in any political activities during her stay with them. That’s a BIG condition, considering her vision of joining politics. Can anyone accept the real Irom Sharmila Chanu without any conditions imposed?
Many are questioning on how Sharmila can succeed in politics but isn’t it an opportunity for the people to change the scenery of politics of Manipur? Why brush off with such negative criticism? Why not support and let her try? She has touched many people’s heart. She brought so much attention of the media and people at the national and international level getting AFSPA and Manipur the attention it needed. Maybe her presence in the political scene of Manipur will bring the much-needed attention of Manipur in India and internationally. In fact the Indian government should take this opportunity and offer her a platform to nurture and help her vision, the vision of a peace loving woman who have only strived for changes adopting peaceful non violent means.
As always most of the media digs and frame questions providing coverage to the sensational and controversial reaction portraying the rejection of the people. Just as Sharmila stated she knows that there are people, especially amongst the youth who are looking for change, change to a positive society, I believe that we have a lot of people who supports her and accepts her for what she is. I am seeking your voice for her. FindingTheVoices is inviting you to participate in a special episode we are making to consolidate your voice showing your stand for Irom Sharmila Chanu. Ready to change the narrative portraying the acceptance of the real Irom Sharmila Chanu? Because I know that those isolated cases reported by media doesn’t represent the overall reaction of the people.
I met Eche Sharmila just once and felt connected instantly, read and followed many of her coverage. I believe that she can bring a change, the much-needed change in Manipur. I believe that she can speak bravely and honestly on many of the topics people including myself are silenced to speak or write about.
Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it, Go for it, I am with you Eche!
Monica Ingudam, founder of FindingTheVoices, a talk show presenting voices from different parts of the globe with the vision to promote and spread Inspiring, Educative, Empowering and Entertaining stories in the violence-torn landscape of Manipur.