Sharmila is a symbol of courage, strength and determination. Seventeen years after starting her hunger strike demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, Irom Sharmila has decided to end her fast on August 9 and contest the Manipur Assembly elections as an independent candidate. Sharmila’s decision took everyone by surprise. She is the one who is respected a lot among women leaders. Sharmila is born for a cause and she has a perennial power to do it. Her non-violent resistance inspired collective protest against the act in the northeastern states. She could make foreign media and human rights activists to recognise the problem of Manipur and small states in the north east. While the atrocities, rapes, murders, harassments and illegal detentions may continue, her struggle has brought positive results. She has achieved much by her act though much remains still to be accomplished. India’s journey to nationhood has not been painless or free from blemish, but the bar for public accountability must continuously be raised. Her fast was a shame to us. The fact that she is choosing to end her fast now is just the last straw, it means our failure. Sharmila is an inspiration for India. She is a great lady with huge fighting spirit. Let us hope her dream comes true.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)