Know : Irom Sharmila – The world’s longest hunger striker

This solitary hunger striker is about to cross 15 years without food!

Irom Sharmila

Iron Lady of Manipur” – Irom Sharmila (born 14 March 1972) is a civil rights activist, political activist, and poet from the Indian state of Manipur. On 2 November 2000, she began a hunger strike which is still ongoing.

On 2 November 2000, in Malom, a town in the Imphal Valley of Manipur, ten civilians were shot and killed while waiting at a bus stop. The incident, known as the “Malom Massacre”, was allegedly committed by the Assam Rifles, one of the Indian Paramilitary forces operating in the state.The victims included Leisangbam Ibetombi, a 62-year old woman, and 18-year old Sinam Chandramani, a 1988 National Bravery Award winner.

Sharmila, who was 28 at the time, began to fast in protest of the killing, taking neither food nor water. As her brother Irom Singhajit Singh recalled, “It was a Thursday. Sharmila used to fast on Thursdays since she was a child. That day she was fasting too. She has just continued with her fast.”

She has not met her mother since the start of the fast as seeing her mother’s anguish may break her resolve. She said “The day AFSPA is repealed I will eat rice from my mother’s hand.

The Manipur High Court has ordered Rs. 5 lakh compensation for each of the families of 10 people killed by the Assam Rifles in November 2000, in what was later alleged to be a fake encounter. But for the families of those who were killed 14 years ago, compensation is just the first step towards justice.

Three days after she began her strike, she was arrested by the police and charged with an “attempt to commit suicide”, which was unlawful under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at that time, and was later transferred to judicial custody. However, Amnesty International and the World Medical Association both dispute that a hunger strike is equivalent to suicide as hunger strikers “generally hope and intend to survive”. Her health deteriorated rapidly, and nasogastric intubation was forced on her in order to keep her alive while under arrest.

And her hunger strike continues still…

The following documentary by IBN talks about her life and the politics around her.

The sad thing it is 15 years now. Will the Indian government answer her? This is the land of Mahatma Gandhi who remarkably contributed towards the Indian Freedom via non-violence! Will the government consider her request? What is their answer to her?

You can buy her book Fragrance of Peace here at Amazon


Courtesy & Credits : IBM via Youtube, Wikipedia and Sakthivel

Tribute : Helen Keller (1880-1968)

481px-Helen_KellerAHelen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become widely known through the dramatic depictions of the play and film The Miracle Worker. Her birthday on June 27 is commemorated as Helen Keller Day in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and was authorized at the federal level by presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

A prolific author, Keller was well-travelled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of Americaand the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffragelabor rights, socialism, and other radical left causes. She was inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1971.

Keller wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles. 

When Keller visited Akita Prefecture in Japan in July 1937, she inquired about Hachikō, the famed Akita dog that had died in 1935. She told a Japanese person that she would like to have an Akita dog; one was given to her within a month, with the name of Kamikaze-go.

 Keller wrote in the Akita Journal:

If ever there was an angel in fur, it was Kamikaze. I know I shall never feel quite the same tenderness for any other pet. The Akita dog has all the qualities that appeal to me – he is gentle, companionable and trusty.

 

Posthumous honors

A preschool for the deaf and hard of hearing in Mysore, India, was originally named after Helen Keller by its founder K. K. Srinivasan. In 1999, Keller was listed in Gallup’s Most Widely Admired People of the 20th century.

USPS-issued stamp of Keller and Sullivan, 1980

In 2003, Alabama honored its native daughter on its state quarter.The Alabama state quarter is the only circulating US coin to feature braille. The Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama is dedicated to her.

There are streets named after Helen Keller in Zurich, Switzerland, in Getafe, Spain, in Lod, Israel, in Lisbon, Portugal and in Caen, France.

A stamp was issued in 1980 by the United States Postal Service depicting Keller and Sullivan, to mark the centennial of Keller’s birth.

On October 7, 2009, a bronze statue of Helen Keller was added to the National Statuary Hall Collection, as a replacement for the State of Alabama’s former 1908 statue of the education reformerJabez Lamar Monroe Curry. It is displayed in the United States Capitol Visitor Center and depicts Keller as a seven-year-old child standing at a water pump.

The statue represents the seminal moment in Keller’s life when she understood her first word: W-A-T-E-R, as signed into her hand by teacher Anne Sullivan. The pedestal base bears a quotation in raised Latin and braille letters: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.” The statue is the first one of a person with a disability and of a child to be permanently displayed at the U.S. Capitol.

Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy (April 14, 1866 – October 20, 1936), better known as Anne Sullivan, was an American teacher, best known for being the instructor and lifelong companion of Helen Keller. Anne Sullivan contracted an eye infection when she was eight years old which left her blind and without reading or writing skills.Anne received her education as a student of the Perkins School for the Blind where upon graduation she became a teacher to Helen Keller. Anne Sullivan was an exceptionally good teacher whose work is still recognized and spoken of today.


Courtesy : Wikipedia and Youtube (jancy and batangusboy)