I just heard about the Indian activist who has been on hunger strike for 16 years. Irom Sharmila who is 44 years old last had regular meals in 2000 in protest of 10 people who had reportedly been killed by a government-affiliated paramilitary group.
I can’t even remember some of the things I did way back then and that’s how long this woman has survived without food. She has lost a lot of weight and looks unwell which is not surprising. Humans need food to thrive.
Personally, I love my food and while I’m picky at times regarding what I eat, I will not pass up any opportunity to enjoy what I like as long as I can afford it and so I would never give up food for anything.
Credit to activists who make personal sacrifices but I’m not about to do anything that impacts on my wellbeing. While I would probably take part in a protest match for a good cause, I would not do anything extreme like going on hunger strike and I would certainly never set myself on fire as some protesters do.
I have suffered mild burns while cooking or ironing as I’m sure many of you have and you know how painful that is so there’s no way I’m dousing myself with fuel or whatever and setting myself alight. I think that’s irresponsible. What if you survive as some who’re rushed to hospital do after such incidents?
You’re then bedridden for months or years, scarred for life, inconveniencing your family who’re then forced to take care of you and sadly, the causes you made such big sacrifices for usually don’t get resolved so why even bother? I read with amusement that one of the fathers of the 10 victims Sharmila was starving for is angry she ended her strike.
With all due respect, how come he didn’t go on hunger strike too? Shouldn’t he reserve his anger for the killers or the justice system and not the one person trying to fight for his son? Doctors had warned Sharmila that she risked death if she didn’t eat soon and even now, it will take time for her body to adjust to solids after years of a drip-fed liquids-only diet. She can barely walk on her own and needs to be propped up.
Like I said, I would never subject myself to such discomfort. She probably doesn’t have a job and must be supported by well-wishers and relatives because where would she find the strength to do the day-to-day tasks of a demanding job? I have regular meals and yet sometimes I just don’t have the energy to do certain things. You skip lunch because of a tight schedule or budget and your stomach alerts everyone around you so I really don’t know how these protesters do it.
I’ve always wondered if some of them secretly eat when no one’s watching. If you have lived with Muslims or anyone who fasts, you know the guilty feeling when they’re not eating and you’re so you pretend that you’re fasting too and when they step out of the house, you grab a bite before they return!