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.