Irom Sharmila, civil rights activist known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, welcomed her twin girls in Bengaluru on Sunday, coincidentally on the occasion of Mother’s Day.
The 46-year-old activist, who is married to British national Desmond Coutinho, delivered the babies at Cloudnine hospital, Malleswaram, through a successful C-section surgery around 9.21 am. The couple has named the twins Nix Sakhi and Autumn Tara.
Irom had broken her 16-year hunger strike against the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) in 2016. She got married to Desmond almost exactly a year later in 2017 and the couple moved to Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu.
Last year, however, they shifted to Bengaluru after Irom got pregnant. Dr Sripada Vinekar, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, told The Times of India that it was a coincidence that the twins were born on Mother’s Day, as Irom’s expected delivery date was sometime next week.
Irom got admitted to the hospital on Saturday evening and it was decided that C-section would be performed the next day. “It was a smooth pregnancy and delivery, and the parents said that they have always wanted girl children,” Dr Sripada said.
Irom told Indian Express, “This is a new life, a new beginning for me. I am very happy. Neither Desmond nor I had any preference, we just wanted healthy children.” She added that she was too excited to sleep, and was glad that her children were born on Mother’s Day.
She explained that one of her daughters had been named Nix Sakhi after her mother, Irom Sakhi, who passed away a few months ago. ‘Nix’, meanwhile, was chosen by her husband, and it is Latin for snow. Their second twin, Autumn Tara, on the other hand, has been named after the Buddhist reincarnation of the Buddha, Irom said.
Irom Sharmila, best known for her hunger strike against AFSPA, had begun her struggle in the year 2000. She was put up in JNIMS hospital in Imphal, where she was force-fed through a tube, until she broke her fast in August 2016.