It's that time of the year when we are reminded of the sacred bond between brothers and sisters. Back from work, I was surprised to read on the Net several posts which said Raksha Bandhan was a demeaning tradition for women and lowered their status in society.
As per the posts, the festival was just a ceremonial affair with a piece of thread as a woman did not need a man to protect her. In the Sikh religion, all forms of idolatry are shunned and rituals are frowned upon, but I'm a Sikh and have grown up with this beautiful festival whereby I tie rakhis to my brothers.
I know they don't need my reminder to save me! It's not about commercialisation of the festival. We are well established, we are confident and strong and tying a simple thread just re-affirms the bond. Why have we gone from simplicity to complexity in every little thing we do? This overanalysis of every aspect of our lives has taken away all the romance.
For me, Raksha Bandhan is a symbolic ritual in which I tie a rakhi on my brother's wrist, affirming all the childhood memories, love and affection. By doing all this, I don't go against the tenets of my religion, but rather go by my Gurus' teachings, who said tolerance is vital and we should respect other religions.
The so-called custodians of faith are the ones who end up dividing society into cubbyholes of religions. We need to stop being swayed by these subtle but deep fissures which threaten our fragile bonds.
I don't need to be reminded of my religion and also not made to feel that if I tie a rakhi on my brother's wrist, I'm committing religious harakiri or being unfaithful to my Gurus. Man is a social animal and we live in a society where we all coexist.
That's why this intermingling of cultures, traditions and festivals makes India unique. Imagine, if we had segregation of festivals and the divisions which the so-called preachers want, we would be a fractured country, unlike the spirit which binds the common man and gives him hope.
Love does not see the colour of one's religion; in fact, it teaches tolerance, humility and acceptance. So, all you super sisters, go ahead and tie the rakhi. Trust me, this will make you stronger, rather than demeaning you!
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