criticalvoices

On issues that matter …

Fast and Furious November 5, 2012

As I sit to write this, I am filled with immense sadness over the state of the Indian democracy. Every once in a while we see or hear of events that defy sane explanations. And they make us question our own ethical reflexes, which seem to slow down owing to existential compulsions or simply insensitivity to reality in a mass media induced mass society.

Okay, I am riveted by the story of Irom Sharmila, a social worker and former newspaper columnist from Imphal in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur. Known as the ‘Iron Lady’ – not for her physical stature, but for her unflinching determination – Sharmila, has apparently, completed today 12 years of an indefinite fast she has been on, to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

I do not need to go into the local political history to understand the situation. Because, somehow, I am unable to wrap my mind to comprehend how a young woman could be so dogged in her resolve, how strong of her convictions, and how resistive to the simple temptations of hunger for 12 long years.

Sharmila, who began her fast unto death to protest against the killing of 10 persons in an alleged encounter with security forces in the year 2000, is routinely ‘arrested’, produced in court on charges of attempted suicide, besides being force fed (through a tube) in a hospital ward that has been converted into a prison cell.

The whole situation to me is bizarre, if not morally disturbing when I think of the state of the Indian democracy, the almost criminal negligence of the state and federal governments, the indifference of the Indian media in not finding her story sensational enough to focus their attention on, and just the fact that a human being could be subjecting herself to such physical torture for a larger social cause beyond any personal gain.

We know Mahatma Gandhi has fasted during his lifetime, for a larger good, but we do not know if he would have survived it for such a long period. More recently, we saw Gandhian and social activist Anna Hazare undertaking a fast to demand legislation against corruption, but we know he could not keep it up beyond a few days.

12 years is a long time. And to not have eaten for so long, it’s not even civilized anymore.

Someone, anyone who matters, please just let her eat.

 Srirekha Chakravarty

 

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4 Responses to “Fast and Furious”

  1. Ramgopal Says:

    Yes, I appeal too… Please, anyone who matters, please let her eat.

  2. Raj Says:

    lets begin with appealing to arvind kejriwal to get her to accept that its better to live for a larger good, than die for an ungrateful nation !!

  3. jkchaturvedi Says:

    Its is really sad to know he state of Sharmila. In this Country, people like Kejriwal talk of issues related to power and money but they are in actual not concerned with social justice or any other field other than power.

    I am amazed that even the NGO’s and human rights commission has yet not intervened in her case. The lady has continued her solitude fight but its time we do something to help her get at least the right to be heard.

    Media is definitely looking for soaring TRP’s. They are neither concerned with Kejriwal or the nation. What matters to them is the sensation and the novelty value of mob gatherings after long. Sharmila is not an instigator likw Kejriwal and I think that gives her a much more elevated place. She is not looking for recognition either, all she wants is justice.

    Whether she is right or wrong in her stand needs to be investigated but I do believe that this is not an Ungrateful nation because it has kept her alive in which ever way be it forced or any other.

    She would have been left to die and nobody would have found out also.
    The fact that she is alive shows that somebody somewhere is wanting her to be alive but more than that she deserves attention and highest regards!!!

    • srirekha Says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Mr. Chaturvedi, I hope more people think and feel the way we do… your last line is what gives hope for this country.


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