To every politician, social activist, Yogi (Sadhu) who has suddenly taken the Fasting mode….

Dear Ma’am/Sir

No, you do not amaze me…!!! Because I know fasting has always been used as an insidious way by many of your kind. Of course, you have termed it as fighting for the common people, fighting for democracy, bringing in pro-people policies, fighting against corruption etc. Whatever be the reason, you have done it and will continue to do so….!!!

The great Mahatma Gandhi, the man behind popularizing ‘Fasting’ as a political tool also could not help, but use it in a manipulative way. He used it as a means of Satyagraha, to have the demands of the Indian met against an oppressive British regime. He used it in a manipulative way when he took the erstwhile ‘fast unto death’ against the Dalits by protesting against the Poona Pact. And today we know that Ambedkar had to give in to the coercive protests of Gandhi’s followers.

index1Of course, fasting has been used a very effective political tool by many. To mention a few, Bhagat Singh used it to highlight the pathetic conditions of the British Indian Jails. All the attempts of the British to force feed him were futile. Nelson Mandela used it against a racist South-African government to fight apartheid. But you; the ‘neo-caretakers of democracy’ and ‘fighters for the rights of the people’ do not seem to get the same results out of the overtly popularized political tool. Here are a few examples of recent instances of political ‘fast’ done by the politicians of today.

The DMK patriarch Mr. Karunanidhi is one of the increasing popular politicians who have always used this tool. He is also termed as “The breakfast to Lunch Fast” by the media. His first fast ended in six hours-but it was supposed to be a whole day long fast. He sat for his second fast, he came only for two hours and left and he even allowed his party-workers to drink water. (The question is did they only drink water…???)

Recently, one was K Chandrasekhar Rao, when he took the ‘Fast unto Death’ demanding for Separate Telangana to be cut out from the state Andhra Pradesh. The UPA government had to perforce give in to the demands, asking for boundaries to be drawn. But he apparently also had dreams of forming a government in the newly carved out state, only to have his dreams shattered.

The grand old man of Maharashtra, ex-army man Anna Hazare made the whole of India come out on the streets when he took fast unto death against corruption. Many joined him as well, demanding for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Many social activists, intelligentsia, middle class Indian men and women and even the yogi Ramdev pledged support to him. But the fate of the Lokpal bill today is akin to a pendulum….!!!

The latest addition and perhaps one of the most hyped ones is Baba Ramdev. The Yogi who rose to fame through his yoga lessons in a television channel named Aastha, since then, has circumspectly learnt the art of constantly being in the limelight. He is now spearheading the movement against ‘Black money’ dumped in the Swiss banks. What lies ahead needs to be seen???

In such situations, the government will have no choice but to give in to your demands and appease you with high but empty promises. An immediate result being one sitting back contented that the task has been completed. We Indians have always been obsessed with laws and policies. But we fail to realise that the problem arises because of faulty implementation.

But, I know you shall achieve your demands like many others have. You will make the Indian government bow before you; because neither you belong to the North-east nor are you sitting for fast against Armed Forces special Powers act. The government runs to you because, you have maintained your fan following and PR and made it a point to keep the media in the loop. But neither the media, nor the other so called ‘caretakers of democracy’ are interested in removing the draconian act of AFSPA. In fact, you justify its presence in the name of ‘Security’ of the great nation called India.

“Menghaobi” Irom Sharmila Chanu has been on a hunger strike for more than ten years now, demanding the Government of India to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) from Manipur and other areas of India’s North East. But all she and the North-East gets is a blind eye with deaf ears conveniently choosing to ignore the issue. She is arrested every year, released for a day and then re- arrested. She is termed as a person who is hell bent on ‘committing suicide’ and force-fed; while the likes of Anna Hazare and co and their fasting termed as ‘Fast unto death’ for corruption- a cause! What about the cause of the North East- the protection of women and children abused and justified by AFSPA.

Thus, you fail to raise any interest in me and I recommend you stick to ‘fasting’ to achieve as the yogi’s believe- PURIFICATION……………..!!!

Yours Sincerely
A ‘cynical’ Indian