Last week I got a ping from Sajida on Facebook and she informed that she directed a new play which is been played during weekend. I have extremely happy to know that and planned to visit National School of Drama with Vibha and Ankita. Till the point we hit NSD, we were not really aware about the name and theme of this play, but all of us were excited about it. Especially Ankita, who was going to watch her first Theatrical play at National School of Drama.
The play started at 6:30pm sharp. This 1 hr play is taken care by two brilliant actresses of NSD – Sarika Pareek and Titas Dutta.
Have you heard of 'Irom Chanu Sharmila’? I was not familiar to this name before I entered Sammukh auditorium at National School of Drama.
Irom Chanu Sharmila is popularly known as "Iron Lady of Manipur" or “Mengoubi”. She 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. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks, she has been called the world's longest hunger striker. On International Women’s Day, 2014 she was voted the top woman icon of India by MSN Poll. I highly recommend to know more about her through - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irom_Chanu_Sharmila
Sharmila grew up and lives in Manipur, one of the Seven Sister States in India's northeast that are geographically, ethnically, and linguistically distinct from India, and has suffered from Insurgency and intra-tribal warfare, including terrorism and government-sponsored violence, for decades; from 2005 to 2015 about 5,500 people died from political violence.
In 1958, the Indian government passed a law, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 that applies to just the seven states and grants security forces the power to search properties without a warrant, and to arrest people, and to use deadly force if there is "reasonable suspicion" that a person is acting against the state; a similar Act applies to Jammu & Kashmir. She was already involved in local peace movements with regard to human rights abuses in Manipur when, 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 time she started her hunger strike, he had to go to jail multiple times and she was not allowed to be contacted other folks. Even in the jail, non-manipuri had high probability of getting permissions to meet her.
This play also has good compilation of some videos from Manipur and Sharmila sharing her thoughts etc.
I loved the part where both the actresses come to the audience and ask their views about Sharmila & her struggle. Their questions made everyone ask themselves about the ways each of us can help her making her missions stronger.
I am sure lot of people were touched by this play and at least, some of them would do something to make people aware about Sharmila’s struggle.
I congratulate Sajida and her team to come up with such great play. In my opinion, such play should be shown in different parts of the country. At the same time, I would say that before making any strong opinion all of us should read & know more about this law, why government came up with this, is this still needed, do we have a good alternative etc. But questions need to be asked and that’s how we evolve as society & country.