In normal parlance, the act of fasting is deemed to be a day-long practice either for religious reasons or for activism purposes. In recent years, activist Anna Hazare has defined the “modern art of fasting” in this country, by sitting on various indefinite hunger strikes to pressurise the incumbent governments for enacting anti-corruption measures.
Famously Hazare had managed to go through a 12 day fast during the 2011 anti-corruption protests. Current Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too had indulged in high octane fasting 2006, when she supposedly went without food for 26 days.
Such long fasts have meant that the bar has been raised when it comes to fasting, and any small time activist who wants to use similar protest techniques, might need to make a similar effort for being taken seriously. This might create a lot of hurdles for budding activists, as who would want to go hungry for so many days.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the Congress though have now pioneered a new form of fasting which might make this act reachable for the common activists.
As per reports, Rahul Gandhi was all set to participate in a five hour fast in Rajghat on Monday from 11 AM to 4 PM to promote communal harmony. The announcement of the same was made by senior Congress leader Ajay Maken:
To protect & promote communal harmony-and against the ‘caste violence’;
— Ajay Maken (@ajaymaken) April 8, 2018
As this “rapid fasting” initiative might usher in a new era of fasting in the country, thereby benefiting millions of millions of budding activists, it might be almost certain that the complete credit for the initiative will be given to Rahul Gandhi.
Predictably this unusual act of normalising quick fire fasting resulted in a lot of jokes on social media:
Just In : “People nowadays like short versions. Like T20 cricket is popular compared to ODI & Test Matches, Rahul Gandhi ji today will introduce T20 Fast by doing it only for 5 hours. A new revolution has begun.”
– Randeep Singh Surjewala (File pic) pic.twitter.com/xn9eBsaj3S
— TIMES HOW (@TiimesHow) April 9, 2018
Rahul Gandhi to go on Fast from 11am to 4 pm
Anna Hazare: pic.twitter.com/R3hJfCoV7G
— InGenious (@Bees_Kut) April 9, 2018
BJP: Tell aus one single RaGa achievement, if any..
Congress: Our Rahul ji has introduced new terminology, now time interval between lunch and dinner will b known as “Fast”
— Neeki (@imNeeki) April 9, 2018
Day fast from 11AM to 4PM = 5 hours.
Gandhi total fasting days – 150 days.
Bapu ko tribute mein bhi itna corruption? https://t.co/s7gjN0P5WM
— Vivek Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) April 8, 2018
Observe a fast or pull a fast one on gullible public ? https://t.co/FxiYxPWuSE
— Roshi CBG-san (@OnlyNakedTruth) April 8, 2018
After the news of this fast spreads, it remains to be seen whether some activists take things further by fasting at night when they would pass the time by sleeping or fasting between meals like lunch and dinner. This action by Rahul and Congress might also deflect attention from AIADMK activists who recently had decided to take a lunch break between their fast.
This five-hour fasting wasn’t incidentally the only goof up when it comes to Congress’ communal harmony initiative. The “communal harmony” protest venue also saw the arrival of 1984 Sikh Riot accused Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, which led to the party getting attacked for reducing the issue to a farce.