I just came back from the market after having a cup of coffee and while coming back couldn’t resist myself going near to the stalls where lots of people were busy buying Rakhis and other stuff as if shopkeeper was selling those free. Yes, it’s Raksha Bandhan; a festival of slavery is back!
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Yes, Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu festival (now infiltrated to almost all other religions including Sikhism and Buddhism) is within few hours. After coming back, I sit down to collect my thoughts over this festival and realities associated with the same festival. Do Sikhism, Buddhism promote Raksha Bandhan? What Dalit-Bahujans have to do with this festival? Do women really feel safe in India? Is it really a women’s festival? Should women stop tying Rakhis? Are there any alternatives to these festivals? There are many questions those are coming to my mind right now.
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“The man, who has no sense of history, is like a man who has no ears or eyes”.
First, there is no historical background of festival of this festival. Yes, yes! I do agree most of the festivals (Dusherha, Diwali, Holi etc) we Indians celebrate don’t have any historical background. If a lady tied a thread on king’s wrist & he won lots of battles, that’s just a fiction, not a history and there must be a strong line between fiction and history. (Ohh… not for us, for Indians it’s thin line between fiction and history and we can cross over anytime!). Nor a thread can make someone to win. There is a chanting of holy mantra in Hinduism:
Yena baddho Balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah |
Tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala ||
It means, “I am tying a Raksha to you, similar to the one tied to Bali, the powerful king of the demons. Oh Raksha, be firm, do not waver.” How this simple, annually recurring act of tying the Rakhi on one’s wrist can evoke such strong and intense emotions in a person is indeed surprising & interesting!