Rakhi saw Pratyusha’s death as a reason to start a campaign against ceiling fans. Holding a little fan, she told a beleaguered press (who probably wonder what they’ve done in their past lives to deserve such maltreatment): “I have brought this fan with me today because, rather than saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, it is more important to remove ceiling fans from every home.”She held the little fan atop her own head, no doubt to emphasise its dangerous potential. After a few moments of a poignant, pointed pause, she continued, “Because it is from fans like these that daughter-in-laws and daughters and everyone else hang themselves to commit suicide.”
She went on to request the PM of our country to do the needful saying: “I request Modiji to remove this ceiling fan from every house. “One can keep a table fan, or an AC.” While the PM has maintained a discreet silence on the entire matter, as he is surprisingly wont to since he came to power, Rakhi would be surprised to know that even table fans, particularly electric ones, have a bad name in South Korea!
There’s a popular urban legend in South Korea, called ‘fan death’ which says that leaving an electric fan running in a closed room can cause deaths! The Korean Consumer Safety Board’s 2005 Summer Safety Guide listed ‘asphyxiation from electric fans and air conditioners’ as one of the top five summer hazards, with 20 cases reported between 2003 and 2005.
The bulletin recommends: “Doors should be left open when sleeping with the electric fan or air conditioner turned on. If bodies are exposed to electric fans or air conditioners for too long, it causes bodies to lose water and hypothermia. If directly in contact with a fan, this could lead to death from increase of carbon dioxide saturation concentration and decrease of oxygen concentration.”
In fact, many fans sold in South Korea come with the warning “This product may cause suffocation or hypothermia.” While there’s no scientific evidence to support this belief, the urban legend has been strengthened by years of coverage, even though health professionals have said time and again that the deaths are mostly caused due to pre-existing health conditions.
However, the myth refuses to die and the local media, fan manufacturers and even government agencies buy into this myth.
According to a Reuters report from 2007, “When the steamy heat of summer arrives, dying from suffocation (or hypothermia) happens every year because of fans,” the government’s Korea Consumer Agency said. It estimates that about seven to 10 people a year perish by ‘fan death’.
While the first report about a ‘fan death’ came in the early 1970s, many believe that the government has deliberately played a part in perpetuating the myth to cut down on use and conserve energy. There are various popular theories to try and explain this phenomenon. One of them believes that fans cause a chemical change in the air. Another one believes that fans generate a vortex of air which prevents breathing, while another bizarre theory believes exposure to the breeze when the metabolism slows down at night can lead to hypothermia.
Well, it’s nice to know that Rakhi Sawant isn’t alone.