OPEN LETTER

We are with you

Irom Sharmila (File) Irom Sharmila | AP

Dear Irom Sharmila

Welcome back to everyday life—sunrise and sunsets, hope and despair, familial bonds, mother's care, children's laughter, songs of birds, to the taste of food, to a life of daily chores, in short all that the rest of us take for granted in our lives and from which you were bereft all these years.

We, the common people standing in the background cheering you from afar, extolling you to the pedestal of the goddess and depriving you of even the basic human need of companionship; we, the people who, during all these 16 years when you were on the hospital bed intubated and force-fed, finished our education, secured jobs, got married had children and saw them growing up, have now a duty to perform. It will be as much for the repeal of AFSPA as it will be a tribute to you Irom Sharmila, who sacrificed the best years of her life to a cause, and who is still fighting for the same cause albeit in a different manner.

We owe it to you and to your resilient fighting spirit that we don't let any of your so-called supporters become a hindrance to you leading a normal life, to marry whom you wish to and have children and lead a normal life while continuing your struggle from the political platform.

We have idolised your human form and worshipped your mission; it is time we helped that idol humanise, so that humanity achieves, what remained unachieved by idolatry.

…....................................

Ignore the vultures

I fully subscribe to your decision to shun the ‘path of submission’ and lifting the ‘sword of determination’. Because although I am a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and his ideology of satyagraha, it is also true that his satyagraha alone could have not ensured India freedom. Had radicals like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Azad, Bose and many more not given a taste of India’s strength to the British.

You dedicated 16 golden years of your life to fight for the abolition of AFSPA. Then you were like mercury, which is the indicator of soaring temperature around. However, when the system failed to move, this mercury turned into steel to take on the system with the baton of Constitution.

Why should one question your decision of going the political way to get a long-time demand fulfilled? Since you want it to pass through the law of the land there is no harm in joining the lawmakers to make them look at it in a constitutional manner.

And as far as criticism is concerned, all I can say is that the hardest thing to digest is other’s success. These people are those who only wanted to feast on your commitment and sacrifice. They are no better than vultures, hence without bothering too much about them, go ahead with your new innings.

Rajneesh Batra
Delhi

…....................................

Think before you act

Everyone knows that on November 2, 2000, you started a hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and ended it on August 9, 2016. I believe that those 16 years of hunger would be very painful to you. But more pain was felt 16 years ago in "Malom Massacre" incident in which 10 civilians were shot dead by the Assam Rifles while waiting at a bus stop.

You, as a social activist, fought for them by going on the world's longest hunger strike and were given a name, "Iron Lady". You did your best against the AFSPA. Those 16 years didn't yield any results (only Rs 5 lakh compensation), so you ended the fast. Society doesn't need compensation, but justice. Now, you want to join politics and become the chief minister of Manipur to work for human rights.

Do you think it will be successful? What if you failed to become the chief minister? Even if you became the chief minister, do you think that you will handle politics properly? Aspiring to be a chief minister and working as a chief minister are poles apart. Your steps can impact positively or negative, so, think about your decision again. I wish you all the best.

Harsh Chopra
Gurgaon

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