Who is Irom Sharmila?

Not very long ago, Irom Sharmila was the name of a hero in North East India. She was Manipur’s Iron Lady who singlehandedly fought an unjust system that sanctionedterrorism at the hands of the army. But as they say, you die a hero or live to see yourself become a villain. The later is exactly what she is being subjected to, ever since she gave up her hunger strike, which is believed to be the world's longest such strike.

Why has Irom Sharmila been forsaken by her people?

A 'prisoner of conscience' for the last 16 years, who went on a hunger strike against laws such as the Armed Forces Special powers Act (AFSPA), Sharmila has now been reduced to a homeless social reject.

Why? Well, ironically she chose to lead a perfectly normal life and people who should have welcome her choice, after a hard fought battle, have instead pounced on her and labelled her a traitor.

One is forced to think, what did her people wantfrom her? Were they waiting for her to die so that they may have a martyr? As soon as she ended the 16 years of fasting, Manipuris outcasted her. They just could not digest the fact that the scapegoat for a cause for had finally decided to choose a different route.

Sharmila has suddenly become the face of betrayal, so much so, that even the ISKCON temple has no place for her. The people who cheered for her and idolised her for her personal sacrificesuddenly forgot the higher cause and all of a sudden, the sacrificial animal who was accidentally set loose became the topic of ridicule.

Irom Sharmila wants to join politics to fight draconian laws that unjustly empower the Army

Sharmila has made a conscious of ending her hunger strike and leading a better life. She announced her decision earlier this month and rumours were rife that she might even decide to marry. However, the hatred started pouring in after she announced her decision of carrying on her fight against AFSPA by joining mainstream politics, maybe even becoming the Chief Minister of her state.

That, for the public in NE India, resonates with being a traitor.

Irom Sharmila has been thrown out of her home

Sharmila was offered a makeshift shelter by Indian Red Crossafter much discussion and deliberation. After all the 16 years of suffering, the lady had finally earned herself an accommodation “on humanitarian grounds”.

However, her expectations from society have been ruthlessly shattered since she was barred from entering the gates of the locality where she was offered the home.

A homeless Sharmila went back to the hospital that force-fed her from time to time all these years. An unsung hero for years, prisoner of her own conscience, a lone ranger in the fight against State Terrorism, she now questions everything including whether it was all worth it.The harsh reality of how ruthless, selfish and shameless Indian society can be is graphically depicted in her story.

The people have failed to understand the intentions behind Irom Sharmila's decision

Although the woman has tried to convince her people that she has not given up on her struggle, but merely changed her tactics, her family has disowned her while close friends and neighbours are not ready to even shake hands with her.

Having started her struggle at 28, the prime of her life has vanished into oblivion and now with death threats ringing in her ears, she sits in the hospital thinking of why she was stripped of her right to choose what she wanted to do with her life. She stood up for people who were now threatening each other against providing herwith a shelter. She became a traitor by asking for a right to live.

As the people she stood up for are threatening each other against providing herwith a shelter, Irom Sharmila becomes a traitor by asking for a right to live.