One Woman Play on Irom Sharmila Chanu and the struggle for justice of the people of Manipur by Ojas S.V, a theatre activist from Pune
Poet activist Irom Sharmila Chanu has completed 10 years of hunger fast. She is being force fed through the nose, by the administration in Imphal. Her demand is simple: Repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) which gives absolute powers for the Indian Army to shoot, kill, torture and rape innocent people in the name of â€˜insurgencyâ€™.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged the Indian Government to repeal AFSPA and replace it with a more humane Act within one year. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women also asked the Indian Government to do the same. The European Parliament also raised the demand for the repeal of AFSPA. Many human rights bodies like Amnesty International have demanded the repeal of the Act. National Bodies like the Prime Minister's Working Group on Confidence-Building Measures in Jammu and Kashmir recommended the same. Repeal of AFSPA was also recommended by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission. `The Act, for whatever reasons, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high handedness,' stated Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission appointed by the Prime Minister to look review AFSPA. Jeevan Reddy Committee also recommended the removal of AFSPA. However, all these never reached the dead ears of the Indian Government so far. And the hunger fast of Irom Sharmila is going on for more than ten years.
In this context,Â Peopleâ€™s Watch with other human rights defenders in Madurai have invited Ojas S.V., a theatre activist from Pune whose one woman play on Irom Sharmila has become quite famous, to perform and interact with college students in Madurai. The original play â€˜Meira Paibiâ€™ was written by well known writer activist Civic Chandran in Malayalam. Ojas has adapted the play into Hindi and English as `Bearing Torchâ€™ (Ley Mashaleinâ€™), inspired by the song `Ley Mashalein Chal Pade Hai, Log Mere Gaon Keâ€™. â€˜Le Mashaleâ€¦â€™ is the soliloquy in which Irom Sharmila narrates the anguish and aspiration of Manipur through its fables, dances and major incidences which transformed her life. The play talks about brutality unleashed on known and unknown Manoramas in the valley and the protest by determined women who do not mind their nudity over their struggle for justice. The play puts forth many questions raised by torch bearing women from the valley.
Schedule of performances in Madurai
|8th February||11.00 AM||Peopleâ€™s Watch, Chokkikulam, Madurai-2|
|02.00 PM||Lady Doak College|
|05.00 PM||Madurai Bench of the High Court|
|9th February||08.30 AM||Mahatma School, K.K. Nagar|
|1.30 PM||Mannar Thirumalai Naickar College|
|6.00 PM||Gandhi Museum|
|10th February||8.30 AM||Mahatma School, K Pudur|
|11.30 AM||Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, Arasaradi|
|2.00 PM||Fatima College|
The play will be followed by a discussion on Irom Sharmila, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and repression of democracy and human rights.