Rakhi: Brothers need to live up to their oath to protect their sisters

The festival of Raksha Bandhan is predominantly observed/celebrated throughout North India. While most brothers who have their real sister get Rakhis tied on their wrists, those guys who don’t have real sisters get Rakhi tied through their Mooh Boli Behan.

What does Raksha Bandhan mean: Raksha means Safety and Bandhan means bond. Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is an important Hindu festival, dedicated to brothers and sisters. On this auspicious day, sisters tie a thread on her brother's wrist and pray for his long and prosperous life. In return, the brother gives a token of love to his loving sister and promises to protect her throughout his life. This idea was used by Rani Karnavati.

The story of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun, one of the popular legends around Rakhi is noteworthy. During the medieval period, the Rajputs were fighting against the Muslim invasion and Karnavati was Mewar's regent during the minority of her son after her husband Rana Sanga's death. When Rani Karnavati the widowed Queen of the King of Chittor realised that she could not defend against the invasion by the Sultan of Gujarat Bahadur Shah, she sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun. The Emperor understood the sanctity of the Rakhi and set off with his troops to defend Rani Karnavati whom became his sister by this Rakhi.

Over a period of time the festival of Rakhi too has undergone a sea of change. Commercialization has hit it too. Sisters expect gifts (costly ones too).

Apart from the dilution that happened over the past few generations, an evil eye has been cast on the sacred ceremony. In the name of honouring one’s family caste or religion the brother commits honour killing of his sister apparently who was meant to protect his sister. The same brother who vowed to protect his sister becomes a maniac, kills his own sister for “Honour” of his family’s name, religion or caste superiority. The brother forgets the loving relationship he shared with his sister. So what is more important: the Sister of the Honour of his family/caste/religion?

The honour killing is committed by the brother seeking to protect what they see as the dignity and honour of their family. In most cases, the killing evolves from the perpetrators' perception or assumptions that the sister has brought shame or dishonor upon the entire family, which could lead to social ostracisation, by violating the so called “moral norms” of a particular community, caste or religion.

Can this kind of patriarchal thinking change? Can the GenX start to do away with such vain thinking?

25 views1 comment