Rakshabandhan – I can do without both “raksha” and “bandhan”

Sacrilege is it?  Well , so be it.

I have never liked this concept of tying a thread for protection and there are many there are many other ways to express the love. The bond of love sounds like a business deal to me. The festival may have religious and  traditional significance in the past but in today’s age it nothing but a commercial activity.

Why do we need men to do our “raksha” (protection) ? I don’t need one. I have never relied on any man for protection. We were not brought up that way. For us the sibling affection, caring and love was and is a continuous  process not limited to a day. We never bartered a fancy thread for money and gift and an unsigned bond of protection from the brother.

Emotionally and mentally women are stronger than men and many a time these brothers need our “protection” than the reverse. It is time they tied the “sacred thread” if at all on the wrists on their capable strong sisters.

I understand that these festivals are normally times for all to get together and relax and I am not against that.

What irks me is the attitude of certain brothers towards their sisters when it comes to their freedom, freedom to think and make choices for their lives etc. It is actually more of a man – woman thing than sibling attitude. In the name of protection and family honor this “bandhan” becomes “bondage” instead of “bond” .  I never liked the word “bandhan” in any of its forms. There should be fluidity in a relationship I believe.

The protective big brothers smother the sisters by pushing them towards so-called socially “accepted and expected” norms . One can really do without this. We don’t need a gate-keeper, Do we ? All their lives girls face barriers and restrictions and many brothers just do not let the sisters decide for themselves. I find this contradictory that on one hand they check the very essence of the lives of their sisters on the pretext of protection and honor and on the other want them to follow tradition and worship them. Yes it is a kind of  ” male worship” in my opinion. Many brothers feel empathetic towards their sisters are  moved and driven to make a better life for the girls but  then it is an assurance that comes from an inner awakening and not by tying a thread. I have seen this in my relationship with bhai. We never celebrated rakshabandhan but there was always an unsaid undeclared understanding, respect and love between us , still is.

News like this  LINK   and this LINK  show how much brothers honor their sisters. To these brothers so-called ” family honor ” is much more important than the life of the sister who had been lovingly tying the ” thread of protection” on her brother’s wrist hoping that he will stand by her  through thick and thin. I find it meaningless to submit oneself in hands of someone be it the sibling.

It hurts me when I see my domestic help’s daughter getting a second-hand treatment from the family when it comes to choosing between her and the brothers. The boys, who aren’t very old, maybe 10-14 , believe that they are superior to the sister and have the unsaid right to dominate her. They get the best of food, clothes and unrestricted freedom which is completely denied to the sister and they approve of it by putting it under the cover of “protection and honor”. How pathetic is that.

Even in the so-called educated families I have seen the underlying partial attitude. The festival of Rakshbandhan is just another way to flaunt money, jewelry, a glam show.

In the society where relationships and in fact human life is losing its value these festivals seem like a ritualistic show to me.

I also think about all those girls whose lives were cut short before they could blossom. Killed at birth or in the womb itself. Those sisters who never saw the light of the day. Who stood for their protection?

I also hate this “muh bola bhai” thing which has come up in recent years. It also may have some past references in the mythology and history but in these times it is just a façade.

I don’t want to pass judgement on anyone or hurt sentiments. This is my personal view.

I feel the sisters would certainly feel more proud of their brothers if they stood side by side and considered them their equals. If they voiced their anger against the unjust traditions and customs, if they considered them as human as they are. It should not be a one day program.

I don’t wish to sound cynical but this whole business of rituals and religion and the paraphernalia attached to it irks me.

I feel in a country where female infanticide, honor killing, sexual and other kind of abuse, rape and molestation is rampant , where women are treated as sub humans and inferior such festivals do not hold any meaning.

I have been an atheist all my life and never followed these rituals and I feel good that my parents and brother encouraged me to  fight my own battles, to speak for myself, assert my individuality and un-warp my dreams and realize them.  Helped me become a better human being, a much more confident woman and a responsible person .

I think I have a stronger “bond ”  with my brother without the crutches of these “threads” called “rakhi”  and we feel no “bandhan” between us. Ours is a luminous lucid relationship. That’s how it should be.

11 thoughts on “Rakshabandhan – I can do without both “raksha” and “bandhan”

  1. Word!

    I send my brother an e-card every year (on my mom’s insistence) with the words “Mom asked me to send this to you.” 😀 No wishes for Rakshabandhan or declaration of love…..just the purpose of the card, i.e. to please my mom. I have cousins who continue to mail in rakhis to other cousins etc. but my brother and I both know we don’t need that cr@p, we’ll both give and arm and a leg for each other when needed.

    That said, I do wonder if it can be turned into a day when you celebrate sibling-hood without all that “protection” ka shosha, which won’t make it very different from a Mother’s or Father’s Day. But then I’m against hallmark festivals too. So that leaves me with NO festivals in life and THAT just makes me sad!!

    I much appreciate your comment. Some day for sure things will change and this whole drama of gift and glamour will give way to respect, understanding and honest support. Not just words. I am also against hallmark festivals so I guess we are sailing in the same boat. lol Nothing to be sad of the choice you made. Life itself is celebration. There is much to enjoy and appreciate. 🙂


  2. very well Thought.
    i believe the same..
    It starts from heart and ends In the heart..
    just the 2 knots you tie dont mark the respct fr a brothers relationship..
    But all that you do throughout life mark all the respct and love.

    Thanks sweetu for regularly reading and commenting. love and blessings.


  3. I agree, it is a pointless festival. True Siblings are around everyday(almost), there’s no point celebrating it. As for cousins, they generally don’t stand for you if you are in big trouble even if you tie them a Rakhi. If they will, they’ll do it without a Rakhi. A hug is more than enough to show your brother that you love him. Its just another opportunity for the Industry to make huge sales

    Thanks for sharing your views. Brotherhood and sisterhood is beyond rituals, religion, color and race.


  4. I do agree with you that tying a thread has nothing to do with the kind of relationship a brother and sister have… i am a single child, and when i was younger, it seems i used to cry because i had no one to tie a rakhi to. and our neighbours son used to cry because he had no one to tie him one! hence began the idea of me tying him a rakhi.. it was simply a convenience thing, and both our moms insisted that there be no give and take because we shoudnt tie a rakhi to get a gift! till then, we hardly used to talk, especially because i was a bookworm, and he wouldnt sit even for a minute, and hated anything to do with books! but that simple ritual of tying a thread brought us closer… we started talking a lot more and we did learn a lot of things from each other! its been years and years since then, and i dont even know where he is now, but i still remember him on rakshabandhan! it has nothing to do with either protection or love, but i do believe that the thread did forge a bond between the most unlikeliest of people!

    Anu thank you for sharing this with us. Yes some bonds develop in the strangest of situations. I was making a general statement based on what I see and feel. Each of us have a different view point. It did forge a bond but because it was based on just a ritual it may have fallen out otherwise you would know where he is. The link would not break, it doesnt if it is based on much deeper things than just a custom. I do not know if you are getting the drift or will agree with me but just trying to explain the way I see it. Thank you for your precious comment.


  5. I belong to the weird sect of people who do not follow rituals and customs specially of the religious kind.. but at the same time never oppose to those who enjoy it tremendously…

    I do the same. I let people be but then I also speak against the customs and rituals that are nothing but a shallow reflection of things which should shed for good.


  6. I don’t need a particular day to show my sister I love her most dearly. I tell her that every day almost. Tying a thread isn’t a way to strengthen our bond either, we do that by just being ourselves; the fun times, the little fights, the love and respect we have for each other since childhood. I’d kill myself before I hurt her, and she knows that too, Tiku. That said, it is a day we both look forward to. The Rakhi isn’t religious, or forced on by our parents.. its not the way she says she needs me to protect her, or my way to say I will take care of her.. we do that already.. the day in the end, it is just a day that we feel “officially” celebrates the respect we have for each other. That’s it. 🙂

    🙂 Thanks Vinay for stopping by and commenting. “officially” ? why do you want to celebrate the love and respect for each other “officially and for whom ” ? Just asking. Stay loved always. Both of you. 😉


  7. I dont want to say much on this….. except….. that i love this festival veeeeeeeeeeeeery much…………any way HAPPY RAKSHA BANDHAN to you also….dont think sooooo much …just enjoy the festival dear

    well I do not go for such festivals. Sorry .


  8. Very nice post!! True, this festival probably had some significance in the times of kings and queens and warriors, but it’s become one big commercial gimmick today. And like you, the ‘word of mouth’ brother thing is really annoying!!

    Thank 🙂


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