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Book review: Striving and starving for justice

books Updated: Jul 11, 2013 02:20 IST
Aditi Pant
Aditi Pant
Hindustan Times
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Book: Iron Irom: Two Journeys
Author: Minnie Vaid
Publisher: Rajpal & Sons
Price: Rs 175

In her book, Two Journeys, author Minnie Vaid vividly describes the journey of Irom Chanu Sharmila, also known as the Iron Lady of Manipur. Written in a first-person account, Vaid deftly brings forth Sharmila’s painful struggle in a simple, informative and engaging narrative. The aim of the author is to help people understand and get involved with Irom Sharmila’s cause. Sharmila has been on a hunger strike since 2000, fighting against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA in Manipur.

The book details her initial days of struggle filled with self-doubt, and cynicism from a lot of sections, including the government that happily ignored Sharmila, did not urge her to stop fasting, and didn’t bother to engage in any dialogue with her. In the later half of her journey, Vaid says that Sharmila’s efforts are finally being recognised across the globe. But, the author rightly suggests that a lot still needs to be done.

The book, littered with anecdotes and pictures that add a lot to the narrative, gives a rare insight into Sharmila’s heart-wrenching struggle to fight non-violently for the cause of the people of Manipur. The author also provides disturbing accounts of victims of the AFSPA regime. A must read.