Iymon Majid (class of 2014), a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science, Jamia Millia Islamia and a staff writer for Jamia Journal, has been awarded the first Irom Sharmila Scholarship of Rs. 50,000.
The official announcement for the same was made at a national seminar on “Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act: Nation’s, People’s and Women’s Security” held at the Indian Social Institute, New Delhi on Saturday, April 6, 2013.
A press release officially announcing the award read:
“The first Irom Sharmila Scholarship 2013 has been awarded to Iymon Majid. He is in the second semester of MA in Political Science at Jamia Millia Islamia. He was uprooted from his home in Sopore by the army as a child, and has been writing about Kashmiri experiences under AFSPA and militarism.”
Irom Sharmila Scholarship:
The scholarship was instituted early this year (2013) by Professor Nandini Sundar, Department of Sociology, Delhi University (DU) in honour of Irom Sharmila, the Iron Lady of Manipur, who has been on a fast unto death since November 4, 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
The scholarship, a lump sum of Rs. 50,000, is to be awarded once a year, and is open to any post-graduate student pursuing studies in Delhi and coming from an area with internal armed conflict. The candidates were shortlisted on the basis of their Curriculum Vitae and a cover letter explaining why they should be considered. Out of over 50 students who applied, four were shortlisted and called for an interview at the Department of Sociology, Delhi University on 5th April. In awarding the scholarship, preference was given to those coming from AFSPA affected areas, or having suffered under it or similar laws, or demonstrating financial need. It has been given to continue the democratic struggle against AFSPA keeping in with the spirit of Irom Sharmila’s struggle.
“The idea is to honour Irom Sharmila’s contribution in the fight against AFSPA,” Sundar is quoted to have said.
The jury comprised Prof. Nandini Sundar, Department of Sociology D.U; Prof. Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Department of Political Science, D.U; Prof. A. Bimol Akoijam, CSSS, JNU; and Sameer Yasir, Islamic University of Science and Technology, Kashmir.
Iymon, who hails from North Kashmir’s Sopore town, has countless stories to narrate of how AFSPA has affected his life. Here’s an excerpt from his cover letter based on which he was shortlisted:
“In 1995, I was stamped with an agonizing experience on my memory. Indian army commandeered our house and threw us out. In the next two years, we changed four houses, with us finally migrating to the main town of Sopore in North Kashmir.” (Read Iymon’s story in his own words on Jamia Journal here)
Speaking to Jamia Journal, Iymon expressed his delight on being awarded the Irom Sharmila Scholarship, 2013. “It’s a moment of pride for me to receive this scholarship. But I believe that AFSPA affected areas need to be cared for more, for they have seen the worst. People in these parts, especially students, should be helped not only financially but in every possible way.”