Fasting still works as a powerful weapon of protest
Fasts onto death have long been used as non-violent means of protest, but there are only a handful of instances when such a fast by a public figure has led to death.india Updated: Dec 14, 2009 11:20 IST
Fasts onto death have long been used as non-violent means of protest, but there are only a handful of instances when such a fast by a public figure has led to death.
Nonetheless, the power of 'fast' as a political tool got underscored again with the Centre conceding to fasting TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao’s demand for a separate Telangana state.
There are many public leaders from history who used fasting as a means to fulfil their demands and the most revered name among those is that of Mahatma Gandhi.
However, those who died while on fast are not many.
Freedom fighter Jatin Das died while fasting in pre-independent India. The revolutionary who began his strike in Lahore Jail on July 13, 1929, demanding equal rights for Indian and British political prisoners, died on September 13.
His death is said to have fired the imagination of the Indian youth, unleashing a new wave of protests.
Post-independence, Potti Sriramulu was the first political leader to die during a hunger strike. Demanding a separate Andhra Pradesh, he began his fast in Madras on October 19, 1952 and died on December 15 after 58 days.
His death triggered off violent protests in the region that finally led to the creation of Andhra Pradesh.