Love In The Time Of Civil Disobedience

September 11, 2011 at 9:15 PMSep (Activism, Letter, Media, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

A national daily, recently, broke the news about Irom Sharmila’s love life. Few months ago, in the month of February 2011, her love Desmond Coutinho had blogged about his ‘engagement’ with Irom, which seldom did make news or did people believe. But finally Irom herself has spoken about it and media has spoken about her.

Desmond is said to have first written to Irom after reading the book Burning Bright on Manipur resistance. This was almost a year before they first met in the month of March this year. A series of letter exchanging between the two let love flower in their hearts for each other.

Irom, who is on fast from the past eleven years to pressurize the Government to repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act- a draconian law, while speaking of her love to the media has said that her supporters in the battle of fighting AFSPA are not in support of her in her love life. The reason, as Irom tells, for her supporters to not support her in this affair is because Desmond is “of Goan origin but a British citizen.” She also said that her supporters did not appreciate their relationship but also were very possessive and mean.

It is not surprising that Irom fell in love. It shouldn’t be a surprise. When one has distanced oneself from the people, physically, for (the cause of) the people the loneliness can be heart breaking. As she herself said once earlier, probably in the interview which has been reproduced in her collection of poetry Fragrance of Peace, she craves for human interaction and wants to be with the people.

The objection of the supporters could not be just because Desmond is of a different culture and nationality, as it might appear from what is told by Irom. It is also, as pointed by, Lakshmi Chaudhry, because we rarely allow our leaders behave in a human manner, especially when we have made a saint out of them.

Human Rights activist Babloo Loitongbam raises objection on the media focusing on the personal life of Irom and not on the issue that she is fighting for. True, in a way. Social activist R.K. Anand says that Irom’s love affair is not the central issue but her battle is and adds joins the voice with Mr. Loitongbam. Very true. He, Mr. Anand, later says that an attempt is being made to divert the attention from the burning issue. Well, I will not credit the state with such intelligence and smartness. But the matter is not of conspiracy by the state, to me, but the way in which the entire battle is being seen. It appears like the burden of the battle against AFSPA has been put on the shoulders of Irom alone and everyone is comfortably backing her, forgetting that she has a personal life too. Else there is no reason to feel that a shift in the focus on Irom’s love affair can divert the focus from the issue. It is our battle too for it concerns us also. Irom has sacrificed way too much for this battle and it would be extremely selfish on our part to expect her to sacrifice more of her personal life. Its high time we all sacrificed more than some virtual space and some coffee table time to support Irom. So, if Irom is given a choice between continuing to fight the battle against AFSPA and Desmond, she should choose the latter and not the earlier, i think. But Irom says she will marry Desmond only after her battle is won.

In one of her poems, Hyderabad based activist Mehazabeen writes:

Not just ozone, but
Love also is vanishing
From the surface of the earth.
What we all need, right now, is

The battle of Irom from the last eleven years, at its heart, now appears to me, as a battle for love itself. It is to repeal AFSPA, yes. But it is, at its heart, asking the nation state to love its people, asking India to love the North-East, asking India to mother its people as a motherland. It is a demand for love. But sadly those who stand with her for the demand of love by the nation state do not stand with her for the love that she is seeking/ sharing from/with Desmond.

Irom remembers how Desmond was not allowed to meet her when he came first to meet her. Later, to meet her, Desmond had to go on a fast for two days. Similarly for the love of the Nation state and of the mother land Irom has been fasting. Pray, her fasting, like that of Desmond, succeeds in reaching the desired destination. She has said that she will marry Desmond only after achieving success in her battle. Pray, soon Irom will be with her love and will be loved by the nation state… For love is the necessity of life. May be one can survive without food but not without love.

Nafrat Kay Saaye Main Palti Hai Mohabbat ‘Faraaz’
Hathon Main Haath Ho Toh Lakeerain Mil Hee Jaati Hai

(The title of the post has been borrowed from the article on the same Irom Sharmila’s love published in the website: firstpost)


  1. Hestia said,

    Beautifully written. And true indeed. Love is all we need.

  2. chetana Teerthahalli said,

    Thanks for the good write up.
    – Che

  3. swaroop said,

    Love is all we need…. cheers…..

    Awesome chetnakka…

  4. deepak said,

    “The course of true love never did run smooth”.

    William Shakespeare………
    nice article….. expecting more n more articles from your pen…..all the best

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