A lonely mother`s long wait for Irom Sharmila`s victory

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By Phaomei Ganmeilu

Manipur, IMPHAL, September 12:

“I had promised myself not to go see her as she is on ‘hunger strike’ for a good cause and I could not follow her also but will continue to wait for her victorious return.”

This was said by iconic hunger striker Irom Sharmila’s mother, Irom Sakhi during an exclusive interview with IFP at her residence today.

She continued that she is also very proud of her daughter, but at the same time she feels pity seeing her daughter’s condition.

“Like other people she cannot eat good food or wear good cloths,” she said.

Sharmila’s mother have not seen Sharmila since the time she left home on her hunger strike protest demanding the Indian government to repeal AFSPA from the state, except for some twice or thrice at the hospital when she was admitted for some sickness, she said.

She also said that they have stopped celebrating most of the festivals and especially Ningol Chakaoba even though their family have four daughters of which Sharmila is the youngest.

Sharmila left home without letting her family know that she is going for the hunger strike, nonetheless her full blessing are with her daughter, she continued weeping.

She said that she misses her so much and she does not sleep much thinking of her and often get sick also.

She also expressed her gratitude towards ‘Sharmila Kanba Lup’ for their support to Sharmila and her cause.

Her childhood days were mostly spent under the great care of her brother Singhajit as she had to go to work.

Sharmila’s elder brother, Irom Singhajit, was also present during the interview.

Irom Sharmila Chanu recieving the first ever prestigious Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Peace Prize. Photo By: Ph Santosh (From our Archives: Pic used for presentation only)

When asked on how often they get to see Sharmila, he replied that they do not go visit her anymore as they do not want to distract her. He also added that it takes a long process to see her; normally it takes 30 to 40 days to complete the process.

The jail term booked under Section 309 of IPC is only one year so they release her after the completion of every one year, but she do not come home instead goes straight to Maira Sang and continues her hunger strike, he said.

Expressed his unhappiness towards the national media, he said that the national papers have never promoted her cause but they have published the story of her boyfriend as headline news.

He further shared her suffering days of struggle. He said that in the year 2000-2006 they had to struggle a lot with most of the time she felt quite isolated and helpless. But from 2006, it is another stage. They went to Delhi in October 4, 2006 and return back to Imphal in March 4, 2007. After coming back from Delhi, she changed her mind as the issue has been acknowledged at national and international levels and with that achievement she no longer fear death thinking she has done her part of struggle.

Sharing some of Sharmila’s childhood days, he said that from class 8 or 9 she had stopped having non-veg food, she is more into eating of raw food. She have always shown great interest in social work and participated the Nigol Chakouba festival organized by civil society organizations like UCM, AMUCO etc. whether she gets invitation or not.

She used to be a regular columnist at Huiyen Lanpao. Since childhood days, she has always taken active part in extracurricular activities. Her motto in life is “what I have done for the society.”

He said that he had to sold his house and quit even his job, to support her cause.

He further continued she does yoga every 4 hours a day. While taking bath she make sure that even a drop of water does not goes into her mouth, as she promised herself that until her demands are fulfilled she will not eat or drink a single drop of water.

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