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Irom Sharmila, the hunger striker and political prisoner from Manipur, in northeastern India (very far northeastern: it's in the portion of India that's on the other side of Bangladesh), has announced that she is going to give up her hunger strike in August and stand for election.

I think this is a very good decision. She has been on a hunger strike for sixteen years. As a means of accomplishing her goal (ending the law that lets the Indian military take the lives of Manipuris with impunity), the hunger strike has exhausted its usefulness. By entering politics, Sharmila shows she cares enough about the cause to work with others. She'll no longer be isolated in a hospital ward; she'll be able (required, in fact) to speak with others, listen to people's concerns.

She'll also get eat again. Imagine tasting food after sixteen years.

This news story includes comments from people in Manipur. The BBC also covered the story (that's how I heard it), but the report there is bare bones.




Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
heliopausa
Jul. 26th, 2016 03:19 pm (UTC)
This is stunning news - a huge change in her ongoing struggle. Strength and grace and wisdom and courage to her - and may she get real and heartening support from now on, especially from those close by in Manipur.
asakiyume
Jul. 26th, 2016 06:39 pm (UTC)
Amen--echoing your prayer.
pdlloyd
Jul. 26th, 2016 03:54 pm (UTC)
She must have extraordinary strength of purpose to have maintained her fast all these years. I hope she will be an effective leader in the political sphere, which will be very different than the life she has led for so long.

I will admit to being very curious about her in marrying. That opens up so many questions. Has she met someone from inside her constrained life? If so, who, and in what context? Did they initiate the idea that she change her strategy, or are the two choices completely separate.

This story makes me think of your novel. I'm glad Sharmila has found a way to leave the volcano.
asakiyume
Jul. 26th, 2016 06:39 pm (UTC)
There is a man who has been writing to her since, I think, 2011. He has also visited her a couple of times and, indeed, was jailed in Manipur last time he was there. He currently lives in Ireland, but that's the person she's thinking of.

Yes, it made me think of my novel too.
sartorias
Jul. 26th, 2016 06:24 pm (UTC)
Good for her. I wish her strength, health, and a VOICE TO BE HEARD!
asakiyume
Jul. 26th, 2016 06:39 pm (UTC)
You and me both! It will be hard, but it's at least a way forward.
rachelmanija
Jul. 26th, 2016 09:49 pm (UTC)
That's great. She'll get to continue working for her causes, but with less cost to herself, more connection to her community, and maybe more effectiveness.

I imagine she'll have to make the transition under medical supervision and it won't be easy, but yeah. I can't even imagine.
asakiyume
Jul. 28th, 2016 09:52 pm (UTC)
but with less cost to herself, more connection to her community, and maybe more effectiveness.

That is exactly what I'm hoping for. She's been so isolated for so long.
amaebi
Jul. 27th, 2016 12:30 am (UTC)
Hurrah!
asakiyume
Jul. 28th, 2016 09:59 pm (UTC)
^_^
queenoftheskies
Jul. 27th, 2016 04:11 am (UTC)
With determination like hers, just imagine what she'd be like in official office!
asakiyume
Jul. 28th, 2016 10:00 pm (UTC)
Indeed! And I think she, and the people she meets, will be so mutually energized.
mnfaure
Jul. 28th, 2016 11:22 am (UTC)
Wow, what a change this will be! I wish and pray for all the best for her in her continued fight. It won't be easy, but at least she has shown already that she has tenacity and staying power.

I wonder what one's first meal is after so long without food. Not exactly whatever she wants (or in whatever quantity), I'm sure, since her body might revolt.
asakiyume
Jul. 28th, 2016 10:03 pm (UTC)
Agreed on all counts. I wonder. I think they'll be very careful at the hospital.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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