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A rakhi for unity

india Updated: Aug 09, 2006 13:08 IST
Highlight Story

The beauty and unity of India lies in its festivals.

Festivals, be it Diwali, Eid, Holi, Raksha Bandhan or Christmas, to name a few, have in them the mystical power to unite souls and eradicate differences. One needs no proof for this, for pictures of people embracing each other and exchanging greetings and sweets automatically come to mind whenever one thinks of an Indian festival, reinforced by years of seeing them in print and on TV.

History meanwhile, is replete with examples of how Raksha Bandhan especially helped create bonds of love between people from different cultures.

Rani Karnavati had sent a rakhi to emperor Humayun when Chittor was threatened by an invasion from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humanyun abandoned his ongoing military campaign towards Bengal and rushed to her aid. Bahadur Shah's army was duly dispatched.

Raksha Bandhan, which celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, has since colonial times gained immense significance. Rakhi was used as a symbol by Indians to unite and fight against injustice by the British. Following the partition of Bengal there was widespread anger and agitation and people (irrespective of their religions) unit ed under the leadership of Rabindranath Tagore and tied rakhis on each others' wrists as a defiant, yet strangely joyous symbol of brotherhood.

Like other festivals that compel us to take out time to meet our relatives and friends, Raksha Bandhan should be celebrated in a similar fashion. This sacred and special festival should not be allowed to grow obsolete nor reduced to being just another festival particular to one community. For Raksha Bandhan also represents an essentially traditional India of domestic and communal harmony. It also reminds us of the traditional Indian family, a way of life when the members of a family and siblings had time for each other and were not separated by great distances. It is remarkable however, how the fragile silk thread of the rakhi, or resham ki dori, continues to be sent across the seven seas to faraway brothers.

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