Portrayed Low ebb of humanity in Manipur?
It was supposed to be a day of celebration, a day of freedom for Irom Sharmila Chanu when she broke her 16 years of fast. I watched the news coverage with her smiling coyly as she expressed that she would prefer to break her fast with honey rather than the water people suggested. Media from all over the world flew to Manipur to cover this important moment, a date which will be marked in the history.
With her newfound freedom, she must have expected a very different experience moving around freely after 16 years. I cannot imagine her level of excitement at that moment. Growing up in Manipur my freedom was very limited within the walls of my parents house, my school and books. My parents accompanied me everywhere in the name of the conflicts and the situations. I experienced a simple rickshaw ride alone very recently and I felt free and was very excited. So I can only imagine how excited she must have felt to move freely after being confined for such a long time.
But the reaction and harsh unwelcoming words from some small section of people that evening broke her heart leaving a very very bad taste. It’s hard to watch her break down. This video (Courtesy:newslaundry) stuck with me and it’s in my head. She doesn’t deserve to cry like this specially on her day, a day which should have been filled with celebrations. And yes, I stand in shame for such treatment and humiliation she had to go through on the day she set herself free, a day she could walk around freely after 16 very long years.
Yes, there may be a difference of opinion. Yes some of her comments and the way she said or did, might have hurt many because you truly supported her from your perspective. But your immediate action of rejection and outrage makes everyone question your kind of support. She must have her reasons for what she said or did. Can’t we all put everything aside, be the bigger one for a bit and see her as a human? Did it need to be resolved or dissolve at her moment leaving such a bitter taste, hurting even more? Where has our empathy gone? Where has our patience gone?
And the words that followed. Such mockery belittling her honest and genuine effort making many question the existence of humanity in Manipur. And the discussions comparing her with Martyr with an open disapproving note of her decision clearing inferring the preference to die? What kind of example and precedence are we setting for the youth where we glorify and elevate the dead over the living? Does one have to die for the glory and elevation?
Such intolerance drives me to seek out my quest to feature kind, strong voices and gestures to get her strength and smile. Words can make or break a person. Kind encouraging words and gestures can be very powerful elevating the strength of a human soul. I hold to many words I received giving me the strength to go through trying times.
Also the wide-spread coverage of a blanket statement that Manipur has shunned Irom Sharmila have challenged me to seek out for her well wishers and change that narrative and prove them wrong. I don’t agree with the Media reporting that the whole of #Manipur is shunning Irom Sharmila .
We come from a society where we aren’t comfortable or encouraged to speaking out our feelings but now is the time to speak out. Eche Sharmila needs us and we need to change the narrative for Manipur.
Calling out to one and all to join me in Waakhal, The people speaks up!
“You are not alone” a series of FindingTheVoices dedicated to Irom Sharmila Chanu of Manipur. #ISupportIromSharmila
I want to believe in the strong presence of humanity in the people of Manipur, let’s change the portrayed low ebb of humanity in Manipur!
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.