The Hindu festival of “Raksha Bandhan”, which strengthens the bond between brothers and sisters, was celebrated in a unique way by the women from the Tibetan community in McLeodganj - the abode of the spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
Activists from the Regional Tibetan Women's Association (RTWA) celebrated Raksha Bandhan by tying the sacred thread around trees, pledging to protect them and hence the environment.
The women, dressed in their traditional Tibetan attire, stepped out of the periphery of the town to tie rakhis around trees. With a motto to save trees, environment and the earth, officials from the Tibetan Welfare Office and the Himachal Pradesh forest department also utilised the occasion of Raksha Bandhan to tie rakhi around trees here.
“The protection of trees is the need of the hour to save environment and protect the world from natural disasters,” said divisional forest officer (DFO), Dharamsala, Basu Kaushal after tying a rakhi to a tree.
“Developing emotional bonding with the natural resources, especially trees, make people more sensitive to the issues like environmental protection,” she added, exhorting the people to save the ecosystem.
“Green colour and greenery give a calming effect. So more plants and trees would have a healthy impact on the human body, mind and soul,” said Tsring Yangzom, general secretary of RTWA, Dharamsala.
She said the Tibetan plateau - her homeland - was staring at the ecological destruction due to extensive mineral extraction, deforestation and unscientific construction of highways and railways by the Chinese in the name of development and there was a need to make the roof of the world an exploitation-free international observatory zone.
Meanwhile, the Tibetan women also tied rakhis to their Indian brothers in a programme organised here not only to seek protection for themselves, but to garner support for half-a-century-old Tibetan freedom movement, protection of their culture and tradition.
Present on the occasion were intellectuals from the local Indian community and representatives from all walks of life, including, traders, taxi drivers, auto drivers, hoteliers and representatives of the youth club and trekking association, who vowed to protect their Tibetan sisters and continue the support for their cause.
The event initiated by RTWA five years ago is aimed at enhancing the level of interaction with local Indian people and at the same time to build a strong connection.
“We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the festival of Raksha Bandhan with our local Indian people, and to wish them our heartiest greetings in the true spirit of goodwill and brotherhood,” said Yangzom.