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Raksha Bandhan: Festival of affection & protection

India is the most culturally enriched country in the world. It is the land of religions, faiths, fairs and festivals. Some festivals are common to the masses, whereas some reinforce the bond between two particular relations, such as Karva Chauth (wife & husband), Teej (wife & husband), Jivitputrika or Jivtia (mother & child), Bhaiya Dooj (brother & sister), Guru Purnima (teacher & pupil) etc.

Raksha Bandhan: Festival of affection & protection

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Aug 2021 3:47 AM GMT

Er Prabhat Kishore

(prabhatkishore65@gmail.com)

India is the most culturally enriched country in the world. It is the land of religions, faiths, fairs and festivals. Some festivals are common to the masses, whereas some reinforce the bond between two particular relations, such as Karva Chauth (wife & husband), Teej (wife & husband), Jivitputrika or Jivtia (mother & child), Bhaiya Dooj (brother & sister), Guru Purnima (teacher & pupil) etc.

One such bond reinforcing festival between brother and sister is Raksha Bandhan, in which the sister ties the sacred thread called "Rakhi" on her brother's right wrist to pray for his prosperity and well-being and in return, the brother offers to take responsibility for proper care of the sisters. The festival is celebrated every year on Purnima (full moon), the last day of the Shravan month of Vikram Samvat

Panchang, traditionally used in the Indian sub-continent.

In a broad sense, the Raksha Bandhan festival is the symbol of seeking protection from powerful ones by weaker ones. The two Sanskrit words "Raksha" and "Bandhan" i.e. "Bond of protection" symbolize sincere and lofty human emotions. The occasion also has a pledge for spiritual, cultural and moral values.

There are several mythological and religious stories regarding Raksha Bandhan. There was a battle between Devtas and Demons, in which Devraj Indra was in fear to lose. Then Indrani, the wife of Devraj, prepared a sacred thread with her religious power and tied it around Indra's right hand with a wish that it will protect him from demons. Her wish came true when later day Devtas defeated demons and Indra along with other Devtas returned safely.

Mahabharat narrates that once Bhagwan Krishna was flying a kite, during which his finger got cut with the thread. Seeing the blood, Draupadi immediately tore a piece of cloths from her Saree and tied it on Krishna's wounded finger. Krishna promised to protect her against all odds throughout his lifetime which were fulfilled during Chirharan and various others occasions. As per another mythology, Yamraj, the god of death, has visited her twin sister Yami or Yamuna after a long time of 12 years on Shrawan Purnima. The Yamuna tied the sacred thread on Yamraj's wrist and Yamraj announced that whoever promises to protect his sister on this occasion will stay immortal; thus following the tradition of Raksha Bandhan.

Raksha Bandhan is also based on several happenings in history as well as faiths. The Sikh Maharani Jindan, wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, used to tie Rakhi to Nepal Naresh Jung Bahadur. In 1849, when the English conquered Sikh territories, Jindan was given shelter by Jung Bahadur. In 326 BCE, when the battle between Alexandar and Raja Porus was at its pick, Roxana, the wife of Alexander, sent Rakhi to Porus with a request to not harm her husband. Porus stopped attacking Alexander personally.

Around 1535 CE, Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Rana Sanga, realized that she could not protect her territories Chittorgarh from the invasion of Sultan of Gujrat, Bahadur Shah, and she sent a Rakhi to Humayun asking for his help. Humayun immediately set off, but by then the Sultan had already conquered the fortress and Rani had immolated herself as Jauhar. Humayun restored Karnavati's son, Vikramjit, to the throne. In the 18th century, Sikh Khalsa armies initiated the Rakhi system as a promise to protect peasant farmers from Afghan invaders.

Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in India, Nepal, Mauritius, Fiji, Pakistan, Bangala Desh and South Asian countries. Although it is said to be a festival of Hindus along with its other originating sects Sikh, Buddhist, Jain; but in various parts of the country it can be seen to be celebrated among Muslims, Christians and Parsis too. The brother-sister bond in celebrating Raksha Bandhan do not mean just blood relation, but cousins, sisters, sisters-in-law, fraternal aunt, nephew, and other equivalent relations. A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit and a golden thread to the meaning of life. The brother and sister try to visit each other to bring back the solidarity of the family and binding the family in an emotional bond of love.

In addition to real life, the festival has been portrayed in reel-life of movies too. The big, as well as small screens, acted as a catalyst to spread the festival vibes among the people. The scenes and songs have connected the people to understand the brother-sister relation more prominently. Numerous melodious famous songs like "Bhaiya Mere

Rakhi Ke Bandhan

Ko Nibhana ", "Bahna Ne Bhai Ki Kalai Pe Pyar

Bandha Hai", "Ek

Hajaron Men Meri Bahna

Hai", "Meri Bahna

Jaisi Na Hogi

Kisi Ki Bahna

Re", "Ye Rakhi Bandhan

Hai Aisa", "Rakhi Dhagon

Ka Tyohar", "Mere Bhaiya Mere Chanda", "Rang Birangi

Rakhi Le Ke Aayi

Bahna", "Mere Rakhi Ki Dor Kakhi Ho Na Kamjor, Bhaiya

De Do Kalai Bahan Aayi

Hai", etc., are powerful enough to make the people emotional.

As trees are the life-supporting natural system for human beings by absorbing harmful gases like carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen; so on this day, the environmentalists tied Rakhi around the trees with a message to protect it and conserve nature. In rural areas, the priests tie sacred Bandhan on their Yajman's wrist, give blessings and in return obtain Dakshina for their livelihood.

In the present era of globalization, Raksha Bandhan could not be restricted to just the bond between brother and sister, the relationship could be generalized in every sector of life, i.e. from the bond of protection between privileged and under-privileged sections of society to developed and underdeveloped nations.

The thread of Rakhi is considered a non-breakable chain and it binds the pious relationship in an inseparable bond of love, trust and care. It has social significance as it underlines the notion that everybody should live in harmonious co-existence with each other.

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