Fasting: Penance, Blessing, Hypocrisy or Me-ism. Fasting is very common among many religions except in Sikhi. Guru Nanak talks about it in the second Pauri of Jap where he criticises these kinds of nonsensical, mindless and useless rituals which bring to naught. For Guru Nanak, it is all about living in Ik Ong Kaar’s Hukam in all aspects of life. This kind of self-inflicted suffering cannot be food for a thought-Mann- but to the contrary. We offer Langar instead, the most humanitarian thing to do. There are many studies that show that Muslims gain weight during Ramadan because of the food binging before and after. The Catholics, during Lent after Easter only eat fish for a month and we see all the fast food restaurants offering the deep fried mercury laden fish to the pious ones which is very unhealthy. Fasting is also used as a sign of protest. Gandhi used it. Mastar Tara Singh did the same and so did Sant Fateh Singh, the head of Akaali Dal many years ago. During the fasting, people drank salt water only in order not to get dehydrated. My family has been Akaalis from the very beginning. In fact, Pita ji, my granddad who was a Doctor and a Lawyer at that time, which was a great feat on its own, left his practices to go to the prison in order to get the keys of the Gurdwaras from the Mahants. Once Sant Fateh Singh went on a hunger strike and I may have been 6 or 7 did the same. I was very hungry all day long but in my own little way did it for the panth as a protest and felt very proud. Mind you, I also was part of the Punjabi Soobha protest march during the same time and was behind bars for 10 minutes which made me feel happy for some reason. My mum used to keep Karva Choth fast (a Hindu ritual) once a year but the best part of that was what we as kids used to love it were the goodies being gorged both before the sunrise and after the sunset and we were part of the goodies all day long Many prisoners at Gitmo who have never been charged of any crimes have been on hunger strikes for many months but are force fed by our government. Let’s start a conversation: 1. Do you fast for any reason? Please express why. 2. Is fasting for religious purposes a good or bad thing? 3. What does fasting mean in people’s lives? 4. Does fasting make them live in an honest manner after taking part in this ritual? 5. Is force feeding the prisoners at Gitmo right or wrong? Please explain your reasons.