Boots and Bullets
FRAMED AS A TERRORIST Northeast India, despite its armed conflicts and the complex struggle for identity, has mostly been ignored by the mainstream media for a long time. Manipur in particular has seen the wrath of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) of the Indian Army and the civilians in the state continues to struggle under the clutches of the armed oppression.

In 2006, Anubha Bhonsle, a highly acclaimed journalist, went undercover to meet Irom Sharmila, the extraordinary activist who continues her protest fast against the AFSPA. It was from that point that she started her investigation into the conflict zone where ‘there is neither war nor peace, but people die often brutally, and both despair and courage have a long history’. In her latest book, ‘Mother, Where’s my country?’ Bhonsle succeeds in bringing out a story of a society ravaged by the violence of armed forces, police and faction-ridden insurgency. Her work is particularly significant as it draws upon over two hundred interviews and numerous documents, reports and court testimonies to tell this poignant story.

The book is unique in many ways. It has attempted to include all the possible dimensions of the conflict with interviews from rebels and soldiers on all sides, and the civilians who are caught in the crossfire. In her words, “Not all peacemaking has led to truce”.

Looking for Light in the Darkness of Manipur
Speaking Tiger, Pages 247

— Anubha Bhonsle


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