This section is from the book "The Hygienic System: Fasting And Sun Bathing", by Herbert M. Shelton. Also available from Amazon: The Hygienic System Vol III Fasting and Sun Bathing.
Hunger strikes have become very frequent during the past thirty years. Perhaps the most famous of these have been the protest fasts of Ghandi and the hunger strike of McSwiney and his co-political prisoners in Cork, Ireland, in 1920. Joseph Murphy, who went on the hunger strike with McSwiney, died on the 68th day of his fast; McSwiney on the 74th day.
Older readers will recall that some years ago when the suffragettes of England would go on hunger strikes, they would be forcibly fed by a painful process, while, at the same time, there was much talk of letting them "starve" in prison.
Ghandi's frequent fasts were usually protests against some British policy, although sometimes he fasted to purify India because of some wrongs she had committed. He was, however, fully acquainted with the Hygienic value of the fast and was fully conversant with the literature on the subject. His longest fast seems to have been about twenty-one days. Many men and women in all parts of the world have staged hunger-strikes of longer or shorter duration.