Politicians in our country i.e. “Humara Bharat” are on a fasting spree. Everyone wants to fight for a cause, go on a fast-unto-death (Though I never understood the concept behind this theory) Damn! The very concept of democracy which the Indian constitution is based on, justifies fasting, protests or any other form of expression under Article 19 which states the right to freedom of speech and expression, while clause (2) of the article has few limitations. (Let’s not get into the law here)
In a democracy, every citizen has the right to express his or her views through different means (unless they are not a threat to the state or incite violence, etc). Fasting (in Indian politics) has been a tradition of the past that has crept into the present and still continues to be.
Fasting for a separate state of Telangana was brought to the public domain by K. Chandrashekar Rao, (Mostly known as KCR in Andhra Pradesh), founder of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), a political party fighting for a separate state within Andhra Pradesh. Iron Sharmila
is the best live example for anyone to know what fighting for a cause means in India. She has been fighting for almost a decade now for the repeal of AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) but is unheard. For almost ten years, she has been force-fed through an IV line Similarly, many unheard voices go unnoticed in this country,
The purpose of writing this article is not to underestimate the whole concept of fast-unto-death or overestimate it. The point is that the “fasting syndrome” is not serving the purpose.
For example: During the Telangana Bandhs in Hyderabad, many people who were in favour of a separate state were “fasting” by having bananas, snacks, soft drinks and sometimes, having had breakfast at home (early in the morning) and pretending to fast amidst the public’s presence. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. were the timings decided by the members who were on a “fast”. It was like a regular 9 to 5 job, with a few tea breaks and snacks time included in the fasting period or rather feasting time. To feast on so many things during fast became a trend. One member fought with the other on who would pay the bills for snacks, soft drinks and other food items purchased. For being a part of the “united fast” (throughout the state), women were given Rs.250 and a Biryani packet and men were given Rs. 150 with liquor and Biryani packet.
KCR was made to drink lime juice during his fast while the media claimed he was “fasting” through an IV line. (Did you know: IV line is provided when a patient cannot take solid food and nutrients are provided through this line)
Another example: Recently, when I was covering an event in Bangalore, one of my colleagues told me that a group staged a protest against some accident that took place a day before the protest. Similarly, when I was asked to cover a BJP (bharatiya Janata Party) protest in Bangalore against fuel prices hike , I was contemplating on how to go about it. But, when my friend and I got there to cover it, I heard nothing but the members of that party blaming the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government which is in power at the central level. I realized that it was absolutely NOT newsworthy. But, had to dig a story out of it and managed to do it.
The whole purpose of a cause is lost if people take to such despicable activities in ubiquity. Every corner, every street, every city is full of protests (not that it is wrong to protest) but, the reason for which the protest is staged becomes secondary in such cases.
Therefore, one needs to be aware of the cause and fight for it (may be through fast or otherwise) rather than feasting on cakes, pastries, soft drinks during fasting.
(P.S. If you cannot fast …have food and protest…No one is STOPPING you from having food)