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Hunger Strike

Hunger Strike is a peaceful political action resorted to by labourers or politicians to force the factory owners or government to meet their demands. Hunger strikers threaten to starve until death unless their demands are duly met. They do it with a public announcement and create moral pressure on the authorities for settlement through dialogue. Almost all organised religions have prescribed some form of fasting. The political hunger strike has in effect grown from religious fasting. Mahatma Gandhi was the first South Asian to use the hunger strike as a political tool. His philosophy of Satyagraha, or passive resistance, assumed that, in a conflict against the forces of evil, it is possible to raise the conscience of the evil forces by employing the fast as a political weapon and at the same time inspire the silent segment of society to rally behind those who fight for rightful causes. Hunger strikes have proved effective against many social and political evils. Gandhi resorted to hunger strike many times to fight such evils as Hindu-Muslim communalism, untouchability, and unacceptable laws made by the British in India. Maulana abdul hamid khan bhasani went on hunger strike many times in support of the rightful cause of the people. [Sirajul Islam]

See also ramadan; upavasa.