Some Lesser Known Facts About Irom Sharmila
- Her ongoing 16 years hunger strike began on 2 November 2000, her strike is against Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
- Her strike began after “Malom Massacre” on 2 November 2o00, ten people were shot at the bus stand by Indian Army unit operating in the state.
- She was being fed via nose during her 16 years of hunger strike.
- She is said to be “world’s longest hunger striker”.
- She was voted the “top woman icon of India by MSN Poll” on International Women’s Day of the year 2014.
- She was approached by several political parties to stand in the national elections but she denied their offers.
- She has been arrested many times under the charges of “attempt to suicide”.
- In 2011, Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign (SSSC) was launched.
- She was an average student and has always been interested in famous personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, etc.
- In the early 1990s, she joined a course in journalism and began writing articles and poetry.
- She has also worked with social organisations like the BlindSchool for Children and Universal Youth Development Council.
- In 1998, Sharmila attended a course in nature cure and yoga.
- Sharmila is a voracious reader and after she reads a book, she donates it to the Imphal Public Library, which has gathered a shelf of her books over the last eleven years.
- Her elder brother, Singhajit left his job to take care of her sister, Sharmila.
- She has met her mother only once since she started her fast as she feels meeting her mother might affect her resolution to fast, She said: “The day AFSPA is repealed I will eat rice from my mother’s hand.”
- She ended her hunger strike on 9 August 2016 and announced her decision to enter the politics.
- On 18 October 2016, she announced her new political party- People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance ( PRJA). This date was significant as the 1st session of the Manipur Assembly was held on the same date in 1948.
- In 2017, she fought the Manipur State Assembly Elections against the Congress candidate Okram Ibobi Singh (the then Chief Minister of Manipur) from Thoubal constituency. However, she lost the election as she got only 90 votes.
- She has been awarded many prestigious Human Rights Awards.
- Her paternal grandmother Irom Tonsija Devi fought in the second Nupi Lan (also called Nupilan or Nupi Lal) or 1939 women’s war against the British Raj.
- In 1989, her father died of cancer.
- Author Deepti Priya Mehrotra wrote a book on Sharmila’s life- Burning Bright: Irom Sharmila and the Struggle for Peace in Manipur.
- After reading the book written on the struggle of Sharmila’s life, Desmond Coutinho, a British origin Indian man felt in love with Sharmila and wrote letters to her. Sharmila confessed that she is in love with Desmond Coutinho and they are planning to get married after the end of her fast.
- She considers Mahatma Gandhi as her idol.
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