SCFI Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India
Celebrate Rakhi on 7th Aug, 2017

Raksha Bandhan as Virtue of Protection and Symbol of Solidarity

Posted on : 13th July 2017

The fact can never be negated that Raksha Bandhan is the festival that idolizes the relentless love and devotion of a brother and his sister. It venerates the pure love of siblings who have always upheld each other in unfavorable times. All over the country siblings are noticed every year obsessed with buying of the best Rakhi gifts for each other.

Everyone knows that this auspicious festival has taken its roots on the sacred land of India. Notwithstanding this fact, it is quite evident to the people at large that this esteemed occasion has gained worldwide prominence in the thriving era of globalization. It must be proudly opined that the festival of Raksha Bandhan has served as superlative approach for the propagation of the admirable Indian philosophy of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”. This ideology has served as a trail to the western theory of cosmopolitanism.

Today, this promising festival has evolved from the status of a family ritual and has gained wider scope as being a tool to promote fraternity and secularism. This can be well perceived from the fact that it is exuberantly celebrated in all religions. Based on the devout notion of protection of the sister by his brother, it has now connoted with the idea of universal brotherhood. Here is detailed discourse on how the role of Raksha Bandhan has amplified from the vow of defense of a sister to the guarantee against worldwide hostility.

Origin of Raksha Bandhan as a brother’s vow:

This venerable festival had taken its roots on the Indian soil in the 16th century. The medieval history of India tells us that when Chittorgarh was besieged by the vicious Sultan of Gujarat Bahadur Shah, the widowed queen of Rana Sanga, Rani Karunawati had appealed to then Mughal emperor Humayun for refuge with a sacred thread as a token of her cordiality with the emperor. The Mughal emperor gladly accepted the proposal and vowed to defy her sister’s foes. From that day on wards, Rakhi has been visualized as a pledge for defense of a sister from all adversities.

Rakhi as a medium for amalgamation of cultures:

In the successive centuries, the tradition of Rakhi tying became a successful means of promoting secularism. It has been proved that princesses of Mughal emperor Shahjahan, Jahanara and Roshanara used to tie the Raksha sutra on the wrists of their brothers Aurangzeb, Dara Shikoh and Muradbakhsh. Besides, there is an anecdote that a Hindu lady used to tie Rakhi every year on wrist of the last Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar. All these facts indicate that this festival has greatly aided in the amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim cultures in India.

Propagation of the notion of universal fraternity:

In the context of modern era of westernization and colonialism, there are numerous instances of political, diplomatic and cultural hostilities among various nations. The Indian values of brotherhood have laid basis for growth of cosmopolitanism. One of the remarkable instances that prove this is of Swami Vivekananda, who in 1893 at the Parliament of World Religions at Chicago had called to the gathering by saying, “My dear brothers and sisters of America…” to which the entire crowd was thrilled. The congregation was engrossed in relentless applause for the spiritual guru.

Another noteworthy instance relates to the time during the partition of Bengal in 1905, when this festival was collectively celebrated by all Hindus and Muslims on advice of Rabindranath Tagore. This was proposed as the determination to rule out all possibilities of communal violence.

All in all, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is a legacy of solidarity to the whole world.

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