It's not like Sharmila figured out how to exist without nourishment, or that she was ridiculously obese when she started and is now really, really skinny. She began her protest in the year 2000, after 10 innocent civilians were (allegedly) killed by Indian soldiers. Her issue was with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, or AFSPA, which, among other things, lets soldiers shoot people on sight. And you thought the Patriot Act was sketchy.
Since governments think it looks bad if you die while peacefully protesting their policies, Sharmila was arrested and had a feeding tube stuck up her nose. They gave her an out, though: All she had to do was agree to start eating again, and she would be released. But she was all, "Nah, I'm good." Her actions were impressive enough that after five years without real food, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She didn't win, but that's maybe for the best, since the stuff at the awards dinner would probably be hard to resist.
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"We poured the champagne in her nose and she was like 'Stop! It burns!' So ungrateful."
So why did she call it off? Basically, "lady is still being force-fed" was becoming old news at this point. Sharmila realized she could more effectively make a difference by running for office and changing the laws herself, without relying on other lazy, full people to do it. Let's just hope they manage to get off their big butts and vote.