‘The Iron Lady of Manipur’, Irom Sharmila has been fasting since 14 years now for her protest demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. She began her fast on November 4, 2000 and has shown unperturbed spirit to free her homeland from the unjustified activities of the army in that area. As for the bollywood’s latest trend of biopics, Sharmila’s story of ongoing struggle provides a perfect plot to inspire, acknowledge and applaud the heroism showed by her. Irom Sharmila or ‘Mengoubi’ is a civil rights activist from the state of Manipur where she was deeply influenced by the “Malom Massacre
“, supposedly committed by the Assam Rifles. In this massacre, ten innocent people lost their lives and in reaction to this, Sharmila pledged to continue fasting until the government gives in to her demand. Government, in response to her hunger strike, took her into custody and force-fed her through her nose in order to keep her alive. But adamant as she is, even after more than a decade now, she has refused to break her fast. Earlier she participated in peace rallies only to realise that, “There was no other means to stop further violations by the armed forces against innocent people. I thought that peace rally and inquiry commissions would be meaningless. Unless I do something to change the situation.”
This incident has made her both the legend and the victim of government policies and in the course of her journey, she has managed to emerge as a strong and powerful woman figure not just for her state but for our country, India. Sharmila has even overtook Mahatma Gandhi, the undisputed leader of the Indian National Movement and the global icon for peace and non-violence, with her fasting credits.
Her struggle has been undaunted and unaffected even in the absence of food and water. Due to her strong will, she has been consistently seeking support and writing letters to the Indian government and international agencies to press for the revoking of AFSPA. Though like all human beings, she says “I love life. I do not want to take my life, but I want justice and peace.”
But certainly she cannot deny to agree that after so many of her struggle, her life cannot be normal. In her decision to willingly take on the burden of Manipur’s struggle, she has also let her life slip away from her. This dedication will not be fulfilled and meaningful until she gains what she has desired and owed to her motherland.
Therefore as a tribute to her audacious spirit and dedication, Bollywood should make an attempt to picturise her life on screen which will portray her life as a carefree child to an adulthood incident which changes for her the purpose of living. This story will not only provide a source of inspiration to the youth but also idolise her self sacrifice by bringing her contribution in the eyes of the masses just like the movies on Mary Kom, Milka Singh, Paan Singh Tomar and others.