Mary Kom's bronze medal at the London Olympics has brought a million smiles to the state of Manipur, which unfortunately faces problems like violence and lack of access to basic infrastructure.
"Mary Kom's story is a story of grit. I know how much she has gone through to go from a small village to a world level competition. Mary Kom is now a symbol of hope," said Binalakshmi Nepram, author and activist from Manipur, to CNN-IBN.
"Mary Kom has not only made India conscious of where north-east India is, but also made the world get up and ask where is Manipur," she said.
Nepram highlighted the rich history of the state in the field of sports. Mary Kom was inspired by another boxing champion from Manipur, Dingko Singh, who had won gold medal for India at the 1998 Asian Games.
"Manipur and Manipur's sports have always intertwined together. The game of polo was born in Manipur. We have a great sporting history. Mary Kom now epitomises the glory of that," Nepram said.
"I appeal to PM(of India) if he is watching, that even with AFSPA we have got luminaries and jewels, remove it and see how much talent can blossom in our country," she said.