Irom Sharmila is best known for her 16-year-long hunger strike, which had begun on 2 November 2000 and ended on 9 August 2016, her strike was against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Manipur.
Sharmila spent most of her 16 years’ hunger strike in judicial custody in a hospital in Manipur’s capital, Imphal, where she was force-fed a cocktail of medicines and baby formula.
Irom is said to be the “world’s longest hunger striker.”
She was voted the “top woman icon of India by MSN Poll” on International Women’s Day of the year 2014.
She has been arrested many times under the charges of “attempt to suicide.”
She was an average student and was always interested in famous personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, etc., since her childhood.
In the early 1990s, she joined a course in journalism and began writing articles and poetry.
She has also worked with social organizations like the BlindSchool for Children and Universal Youth Development Council.
In 1998, Sharmila attended a course in nature cure and yoga.
Sharmila is a voracious reader and after she reads a book, she donates it to the Imphal Public Library, which has gathered a shelf of her books over the last eleven years.
Her elder brother, Singhajit, had left his job to take care of her sister, Sharmila.
She met her mother only once since she had started her fast; as she felt meeting her mother might affect her resolution to fast, She said:
She ended her hunger strike on 9 August 2016 and announced her decision to enter politics.
She has been awarded many prestigious Human Rights Awards.
Her paternal grandmother Irom Tonsija Devi fought in the second Nupi Lan (also called Nupilan or Nupi Lal) or 1939 women’s war against the British Raj.
In 1989, her father died of cancer.
Author Deepti Priya Mehrotra has written a book on Sharmila’s life- Burning Bright: Irom Sharmila and the Struggle for Peace in Manipur.