Encyclopedia > Fasting

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Fasting is the act of abstention from food for medical, spiritual or political reasons.

Fasting for medical or spiritual reasons has been known for ages. It is mentioned in the Mahabharat,in the Upanishads, and in the Bible.

The political fast (today more commonly known as hunger strike) seems to be an invention of Mohandas Gandhi. Some people see a difference between hunger strike, a pure political act, and fasting, a political and religious act. By fasting, they intend to take some of the responsibility of the problem in question.

Hunger strikes have been used by personalities all over the world, and among them, Martin Luther King Jr., and in France, by Lanza del Vasto[?], during the Algerian War, the concile of Vatican II and the struggle the farmers of the Larzac plateau.

Today, hunger strikes are often used by refugees seeking asylum.

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