Welcome to #ThrowbackThursday, a new series where we will revisit backlist titles one Thursday every month. This August, we’re looking at The Mothers of Manipur: Twelve Women Who Made History by Teresa Rehman.
About the book
July 15, 2004, Imphal (Manipur): An amazing scene unfolds in front of Kangla Fort, the headquarters of the Assam Rifles, a unit of the Indian army. Soldiers and officers watch aghast as twelve women, all in their sixties and seventies, position themselves in front of the gates and then, one by one, strip themselves naked. The imas, the mothers of Manipur, are in a cold fury, protesting the custodial rape and murder, by the army, of Thangjam Manorama, a 32-year-old woman suspected of being a militant. The women hold aloft banners and shout, ‘Indian Army Rape Us’, ‘Take Our Flesh’.
In this book, journalist Teresa Rehman tells the story of these twelve women, the momentous decision they took, and how they carried it out with precision and care. In doing so she connects the reader to the broader history of conflict-torn Manipur and the courage and resistance of its people, in particular its women.
About the author
Teresa Rehman is an award winning journalist, and the founder-editor of The Thumb Print, a webzine with a special focus on India’s North-East. She has previously worked with India Today magazine, The Telegraph and Tehelka. Rehman also has a personal blog, www.teresarehman.net.
Quotes from readers
Award-winning journalist Teresa Rehman tells us the extraordinary story of otherwise ordinary women. Through meticulous reporting, she brings into focus a hitherto blurred, pixelated picture of collective action. [...] Through Rehman’s stories, a “hazy geo-political riddle in a remote corner” of India comes alive. We learn of its protest songwriters and poets. The Meira Paibis who keep vigil against social evils and human rights violations. The activism around HIV/AIDS. - Namita Bhandare, The Quint
The Mothers of Manipur fills a void. Rehman gives faces to those naked bodies and turns them into real women. They are little girls who grew up wanting to go to school, daughters who looked after families, wives who earned respect from their husbands or abandoned them, women who fought against injustice and for change in their societies, and friends who supported each other and sometimes failed in doing all these. They are activists, poets, actors, businesswomen. [...] As a feminist, I thank Rehman for this book. I think that her visits to the women and hearing their stories also gave the women a sense of pride. - Banamallika Choudhary, The Hoot
She (Rehman) weaves her interviews with the Imas (mothers) along with vignettes of Manipur’s society and culture. [.....] What emerges is a series of fascinating portraits of Manipuri women, negotiating for spaces to accommodate their various shades of activism in a very traditional society. - Freny Manecksha, The Wire.in