As the nature of war and weapons change, so must the archetype of the warrior. The soft-spoken Binalakshmi Nepram, secretary general of the Manipuri Women Gun Survivors Network, has in recent years emerged as one of the most strident voices against the trafficking of small arms in India, particularly in the Northeastern states.
A student of history and Southeast Asian studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, in the course of her research, Nepram discovered 57 different types of illegal small arms that had flooded Northeast India from China, Pakistan, Belgium, Afghanistan, US, Russia, Myanmar and Israel. In 2004, she founded the Control Arms Foundation of India to address the proliferation of arms, as well as the impact a trigger-happy nation has on civil society — particularly women, children and the elderly.
Through her work, which includes the rehabilitation of women whose families have survived gun violence, Nepram highlighted the need for a women-led disarmament movement in India. The organisation, Action on Armed Violence, names her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in a list that includes UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Malala Yousafzai. Nepram is also the recipient of the WISCOMP Scholar of Peace award by the Dalai Lama Foundation, and the Sean McBride Peace Prize conferred by the International Peace Bureau in Geneva.