Kathryn Montalbano: India, home to the longest-running hunger strike in the world, has a history of starvation as protest, most prominently stemming from the non-violent practices of Mahatma Ghandi who, single-handedly, turned the ubiquitous hunger strike into an Indian-specific political symbol. But contemporary criticism of the use of hunger strikes in India questions the virtuousness of the method, noting how recent protests often implement coercive, sometimes violent means to blackmail governments into compliance.
Subhash Kashyap, former secretary-general of India’s lower house of parliament, claims in an article by Ben Doherty, “Gandhi never fasted on major issues like his country’s independence, or where there was room for difference of opinion. …His hunger strikes were only for causes where there was so obvious a right and wrong ‘that not conceding would be palpably unjust.'” Continue Reading →