Indians in most parts of the country take a lot of pride in their hospitality. Guests just cannot leave their homes without at least a cup of tea or a glass of water in emergencies. If guests stay for longer periods they are destined to be regaled with home made snacks and lunch or dinner depending on their availability. Members within the family-joint or nuclear-cannot leave their homes without a good meal. When some members leave very early in the morning, of course with a good meal, and spend the day not eating a proper lunch the family would consider them as working the full day without food.
This, essentially, means that eating is held in high esteem here in India. Now, when we turn to ‘not eating’ things are not that confusing as you may think.
Religion and God come first in priority. Indians believe that when they worship with empty stomach they amass loads of virtues. Though it is not known at all that gods have expressed such conditional access to any in any particular part of the country, the ‘not eating’ here is supreme. Such practices are observed everywhere on a daily or weekly or monthly or yearly basis depending on religious dictates or devotee preferences.
Next comes the most crucial part-the sentimental and emotional practices. Driven naturally by the importance of ‘eating’, these responses happen at the micro level getting extended to the local regional national and even international levels. Offended members resort to it so that the ‘guilty’ family falls at their feet so that they finally eat. At the elevated levels ‘not eating’ acquires the dimension of ‘fasting’. Groups or communities resort to it alleging injustice so that the local bodies accept their demands. The progression follows naturally from here onwards to the highest level and as it goes ‘politics of fasting’ get intermingled. You decide to fast and to your consternation you find you rivals doing the same to counter fast you.
The practice of fasting or basically not eating has been resorted to in India since the days of the Independence Movement. That is to say, from Gandhi to. Anna Hazare. The targeted parties tend to call it sentimental or emotional normally and blackmail in extreme cases. More or less it is proved historically that fasting has been quite successful in its pursuits in India. You need not struggle very hard to find your reasons for not eating.
While millions in India fast out of compulsion meaning they cannot afford to have even two nutritious meals a day the expenses of not eating out of choice has been on the rise.
Happy fasting or happy eating? You decide.