Thursday, December 17, 2009
The spirit of today's Iron women
Women have always been the centre of many a debate. Some have been to poke fun at and some to salute at. While I have accomplished the former I have always been in quest for finding a woman who is par resilience par charisma and most importantly a WILL to prove herself among a male infested society. In my quest for such a woman I came across two outstanding women.
Asma Jilani Jahangir, is a Pakistani lawyer and a human rights activist. I came across her in a book titled ‘Countdown’ written by Amitav Gosh. A brilliant book talking about the race India Pakistan conflict and the hunger for nuclear weapons. It was startling enough to see an activist criticizing the Pakistani government but being a woman and doing it in a country like Pakistan talks about the mettle of the lady. As I read about her activities I realized that the woman of today needs no sympathy. Today, women are creating their own niche and doing it with some style. It’s no longer patronizing to say that women will script the future of the world. They are already doing what men could not do for ages.
Asma is one of the few women or probably the only woman who condemned the nuclear powers of Pakistan. She hoped that Pakistan will not nuclearize itself just because India did. She has often been a persistent fighter for human rights and equality for women in Pakistan. Amidst many death threats she remains unfazed and the desire to see her country bloom has made her an iconic figure for women around the world. Women like Asma to me, symbolize the role today’s growing girl child has to play. The role of an empathizer and a giver of hope, to eradicate the oppression faced by women around the world. Her fight for justice include the possibility of introduction of the Sharia law in Pakistan. She argues that if the Sharia were to be implemented then she would be arguing before a judiciary that has already given a judgment by clerics and government officials.
Despite her bleak prospects she has remained as an ardent activist in the hope for reform and peace.
Irom Sharmila Chanu, ‘The Iron lady of Manipur’, is a poet in Manipur or at least was a poet in Manipur until the Indian government came up with the (AFSPA) Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act which gave powers to the army to quash the insurgents demanding a separate country detaching itself from India. Such is the plight if the Eastern states in India and the government is to blame for all the problems. For a long period the government has neglected these regions and has always been indifferent to its problems. If you want your views and voice to be heard you have to make a lot of noise in the forms of riots and strikes. Sharmila adopted a far more peaceful method and went on a fast in the year 2000. Till date her voice has never been heard because the media refuses to broadcast for too long as the voyeuristic viewer’s demands diminish. Owing to this Sharmila has been on a fast ever since and vows to continue doing so until the AFSPA is removed.
The cycle of violence between the insurgents and army has left no choice to the citizens who live in constant fear for whom death is just a casual remark. Recently in Bangalore there was a small protest (around 20 people) against the government to address Sharmila’s problems. I went there the next day in hope to be of some assist only to notice that it was over within 3 hours. Her fast until death spirit is just another thing as far as New Delhi is concerned. When she does die the government will wake up with catastrophic problems in Manipur only to realize it was just 10 years late.
A heartfelt salute to these two women. As I write this article I am unable to form sentences for I am overwhelmed with such power and will these women have showed. I pray sincerely to spread the message and hope that fair justice (Justice is a long forgotten abused and clichéd word) will be delivered.