Iron Lady against the Law: A Study of Anubha Bhonsle’s Mother Where’s My Country?
The North-Eastern part of India is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse regions of Indian subcontinent. It has emerged from the great traditions of the Indic Asia and Mongoloid Asia and comprises seven states, also known as “The Seven Sisters” namely Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur. These states are famous for their unique patterns of culture and traditions for which they stand apart from rest of the country. These states represent their uniqueness in terms of culture, tradition, language and ethnicity of history, physicality, cuisine, dress and the ethos of life. India embodies within her fold a pluralistic, multilingual and multiethnic society, and North-East India makes a rich addition to this feature displaying numerous colors of customs, traditions and languages. Yet many states of North East India are still declared disturbed areas under section (3) of The Armed Forces Special Powers Acts (AFSPA). AFSPA was invoked by the central government to deal with the internal security situation in the country in 1947, which arouse out of the partition of India. The scope of the act was extended to all seven states of North East. Under this provision the armed forces are given special powers to maintain the peace in the region. According to different movements against AFSPA, it has been declared that the act, which was constituted for the peace of North East region, has become the biggest obstacle to peace in the region. Armed forces have gotten the right to rape, right to kill, and right to torture to the natives of this region. The heartbreaking picture of violence is also presented in Teresa Rehman’s The Mothers of Violence, and Deepti Priya Mehrotra’s Burning Bright: Irom Sharmila and the struggle for the Peace in Manipur. Many have raised their voices against it, calling it ‘draconian law’, and many even hold it responsible for the spiraling violence in areas it is in force. But a simple woman of Manipur ‘Irom Chanu Sharmila’ has become the ‘Iron lady of Manipur’ after 16 years of fasting against AFSPA. So, the present paper deals with the issues of AFSPA and the struggle of Irom Chanu Sharmila, and other women of the region against this law. The paper will also discuss the impact of her fast on the government and society through Anubha Bhonsle’s book Mother, Where’s My Country? : Looking for Light in the Darkness of Manipur.
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