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Fast for better Health

 article about Fast for better Health

This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.

           Fasting is one of the most popular forms of democratic protests in India.  The late Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, is perhaps the originator of this modus operandi


           Several leaders in my land India resort to this practice in order to achieve what they want, if the normal methods of negotiations have failed.


          There are several kinds of fasting;  some people fast just for a day from morning till evening;  the purpose here is merely to draw the attention of the Govt or someone in authority, to their cause.  In this model, the number of people who participated,  matters for the Govt to attach any importance to.


          The next one is ‘relay fast'.  The protest starts with say some 100 people;  they would be replaced by the same number  or in sub multiples every hour or so.


           The  variety which is most cruel is,   ‘fast until the demand is met'.  This is usually for a fixed period – may go even upto  21 days  A two prong attack is applied in this

technique.  While the fast-er, who may be just a single person,  is fasting on a dais  at a public place, his supporters may bring pressure on the Govt through the Parliament/State Assembly or through direct talks with the  concerned Minister.


           The above type  may also take a  modified version such as "Fast unto death".  This is  declared  so by the fast-er before he/she enters  the fasting mode. He/she will not touch any kind of eatables  except water occasionally. The authorities concerned will show no reaction whatever for the first 4 or 5 days like they expect the fast-er to give up the ordeal within this time period. From the sixth or seventh day onwards, doctors will appear at the scene and give a medical bulletin about the faster's state of health.  When it starts deteriorating, the authorities concerned would appeal to the faster to give up the fast and save his/her precious life, which is so vital for the future of the Nation.


          Roughly on the tenth day, the Govt will relent and say that they would look into the demand(s).  Obviously this will not satisfy the faster.  The Govt then will offer some more concession such as, "we will appoint a commission to go into the case."  Many fasters may give up the fast at this announcement. The real reason could be that the guy cannot stand an empty stomach any longer ! 


          If the faster has greater will power and has reached the length of 17  or 18 days and the medical bulletin shows that the ‘patient' may not last long, the Govt will send an emissary to personally appeal to the fasting person to give up and save the Nation from any kind of chaos.  Some may abandon it  based on one or two ambiguous assurances from the emissary. From the 20th day onwards, it will  become the final stage of a  tug of war match; more concession from the Govt which may be nothing more than the earlier concessions with a little bit of sugar coating.  And the faster would take advantage of this offer and a big ceremony would be held at the ‘breaking' event.  The faster will take a glass of orange juice right in front of the public and TV cameras and thousands of admirers and onlookers would applaud  at the victory achieved by the faster.  The supporting newspapers will glorify the Govt for saving the life of an important personality. 


       Do remember, nothing substantial or noteworthy or remarkable may have been achieved  by the feat.  But it gives an opportunity for both side to take credit.


        Of all the versions, the one that appeals to me  most is the ‘ fast from morning till evening'.  You know the participants have to miss only one meal – the midday lunch.  You come to the  arena after a heavy breakfast and you go back and have an equally heavy dinner. Not much physical burden is inflicted  on the  participant in this technology.  The only trouble is that you may be forced to take part in the demonstration

much against your personal will.


       Here is the case of  one George.  He was compelled to sit in the fasting crowd.  He was reluctant but the leader concerned threatened him with a threat that he wouldn't be considered for his  promotion if he didn't.  All his plea that he was a BP and  diabetes patient etc,  fell on deaf ears.  So George, after an extra sumptuous breakfast joined the multitude and spent the day outdoors.


         On the following morning, on his way to the office, he just casually dropped in at his doctor's  chamber because he had some extra time at his disposal. The  family doctor after the usual pleasantries, and as casually checked his BP and  Diabetes sugar count.  He was astonished and asked,  "I say, this is a miracle.  Your BP is normal and so is your blood sugar.  How come?"


        George was equally astounded. "Is it so  doctor?"  Then he scratched his head.  He knew that he had done nothing the previous day.  "Ah yes, the dawn to dusk fast…?"

He clicked his fingers.  "Could that be the reason, doctor?" he asked.  The physician was dumb-founded. In his heart he reflected, "I  must prescribe this method to all my patients."


        Readers may please take note.  If ever it comes to your notice that there is going to be a twilight to twilight fast, do remember to take part in it. You never know what diseases may get healed by this strategy.

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