The (Em)Power List 2018: Binalakshmi Nepram
While the larger part of our country doesn’t face the unpredictability of gun violence, in the North-Eastern state of conflict-ridden Manipur, it’s not abnormal for ordinary civilians to be senselessly gunned down. As the discourse on gun control grows louder in the West, closer to home, activist and humanitarian Binalakshmi Nepram is answering that call to arms by addressing the gun culture of Manipur. In her fight to counter arms and provide for the families afflicted by gun violence, Nepram has set up institutions like Control Arms Foundation of India, which is India’s first civil society organisation dealing with disarmament issues, and Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network to help women affected by gun violence. What’s more, she is also an advocate of women who are victims of systemic racism and sexual assault — something that has earned her the title of ‘the face and voice of the North-East’. Just last year, she openly expressed her outrage at the victim blaming and shaming that followed the horrific Hauz Khas rape of a 24-year-old North-Eastern woman in Delhi. For her pioneering contributions to her home state and her powerful stance on arms, Nepram has been bestowed with many an honour, including the Dalai Lama Foundation’s WISCOMP Scholar of Peace Award for her work on conflict resolution.
“I’ve got to give it to her for her guts and willpower. Taking up a cause as polarising as gun control could not have been easy, and I admire her strength and resolve to make Manipur a safer place.”
– Shruti Anand, 28, Writer, Mumbai
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