Kozhikode: Irom Chanu Sharmila has never had a smooth sail in her long years of passive resistance to military rule in her home state. The woman who refused to eat a morsel for 16 years in protest of the military excesses in Manipur was a picture of composure on Saturday morning as she felt the sea on her feet for the first time.
The activist, dubbed “Iron Lady” for her relentless struggle on behalf of her people, went to the Kozhikode beach at 6:15 am. She walked on the beach sand, sat in contemplation and took in the sights, sounds and smells of the sea for two hours.
The sea was only a word, a photograph until now.
She met a fisherman casting his net near the shore. She looked on for some time, reminiscing the scenes from inland fishing in a state bound by mountains and forests.
Morning strollers identified the “Iron Lady” and jostled to take selfies. A crowd had already formed around Sharmila when the news photographers came rushing in.
In Kozhikode as part of her tour of Kerala, Sharmila had heard the sea growl when she was driven on the Beach Road on Friday evening. She insisted that she will go to the beach first thing in the morning.