Irom Sharmila, the feisty Manipuri lady who shook the world for her 16 year old hunger strike, gave birth to twins on mother’s day.
Known across the world for her 16-year hunger strike against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the state, gave birth to twin girls on at Cloudnine hospital in Bengaluru.
Sharmilla had moved to Kodaikanal after breaking her fast in August 2016, and moved to Bengaluru last year for the pregnancy. Sharmila and her husband, Goan-born British national Desmond Coutinho, have named their daughters Nix Sakhi and Autumn Tara.
“This is a new life, a new beginning for me. I am very happy. Neither Desmond nor I had any preference, we just wanted healthy children,” Sharmila told media . Both babies weighed 2.1 kg each at birth
“I have had a couple of visitors and the nurses here have been celebrating with me. My daughters have been born on Mother’s Day and I am doubly happy because of that. I feel that is significant,” she said.
Sharmila said her first daughter, Nix Sakhi, has been named after her mother, Irom Sakhi, who died several months ago and with whom she shared a close bond. “I am missing my mother terribly. I wish she could have known. I wish I could have picked up the phone to tell her,’’ she said.
“My husband chose the name Nix, which is Latin for snow. He wanted our daughter to be cool and calm like the snow,” she said. Their second daughter has been named after “a Buddhist goddess, the female reincarnation of the Buddha”.
After she began her protest in November 2000, Sharmila was lodged as an undertrial at Imphal’s JNIMS hospital where she was force-fed by a Ryles tube, which was to become symbolic of her struggle.
In 2017 August, she ended her fast, saying she would enter politics and try to get the Act lifted. But she left Manipur soon after the assembly election in 2017, when she was defeated by Chief Minister Ibobi Singh from Thoubal.