Manipur:Irom Sharmilla ending fast and join politics could mean a loss of industry for many associates
Its been over 16 years or atleast close about to the incident now famously known as the m?
A young idealists woman then decided to take on the might of the Indian Army and the law called AFSPA by the collar.
Many before had opposed this AFSPA , a law which gave the security forces impunity for operations in the Indian soil against largely many Indians who were 'posing' a threat to the Indian state, but none despite their opposition had the will and tenacity to take on the Army.
Today Irom Sharmilla has realised one thing after all these years of 'symbolic' opposition to the AFSPA,that it is actually quite lonely on top when it become a responsibility of an individual to fight the system.
16 years later having been nasal fed, deprived of love ,Irom Sharmilla would be forgiven if she is more angry towards her fellow idealists and strugglers than the Indian State.
Yes it is True that the Governments have jailed her,force fed her and kept her in an illegal detention but what he so called supporters and sympathisers have done is far more deeper .
Having candle light vigils,printing T shirts ,caps,posters Irom Sharmilla has perhaps become the most marketable face in most college campus across india .As a matter of fact she is almost akin to being called the 'Che Guevara' of the east by many followers for her.
Foreign trips ,seminars at 5 star hotels overnight TV personalities on AFSPA were some of the perks of being 'seen' on the same side of Irom Sharmila.All this while the Iron Lady languished between her hospital wall .
But the truth is there to be seen , in her 16 years of protest 4 general assembly elections have been held and people who support her have continuously voted for the same narrative in the state of Manipur.Irom Sharmilla when she eventually did give up her fast did not tell us in simple words 'ours is a selfish society' and for most of the champions who made her a rallying figure in the fight against AFSPA she was simply a marketable face and a cottage industry for those around her.
In her decision to stand as an independent she conceded a fact that despite the common person's disdain against politicians ,this was a medium where legislative change could be made.Perhaps she learnt a lesson from her neighbouring state Tripura where it is believed that behind closed doors the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar,Former Ultra turned leader BK Hrangkhawl and the head of the Royal house of Tripura Pradyot Manikya Debbarma ,who is a known anti AFSPA activist got together and decided to revoke the draconian act.
Even the Governor who was initially wary of the idea quickly jumped into this idea pence he was convinced that this was a way ahead
For some of Sharmilla's supporters her end of struggle also marks an end of their 15 seconds of fame to many.
The Centre would only but agree as as all stake holders in Tripura – The ruling,opposition and the civil society had set aside their differences to bring about the end of this law.
Perhaps Irom Sharmilla will look beyond her present set of advisors and become a leader who shall be less emotional than the 27 year old woman she once was and realise pragmatism is the answer ahead,
It took 16 long years for Irom to understand she was fighting everyone else's war but she was the sole frontline.Its about time the people started making this distinction ,its not just one person's fight to win or lose ………in Manipur this resistance had become an industry.
R.K Sanakhya (Name Changed on request , this view is entirely of the author and does not represent that of the website www.thenortheasttoday.com)