In the land of martyrs, rakhis are tied to statues
Women of Shekhawati region of Rajasthan celebrate Raksha Bandhan by tying rakhis on the wrists of the statues of the martyred.Updated: Aug 06, 2017, 19:16 IST
Raksha Bandhan is a little different in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Not only do sisters tie rakhi on their brothers but also to statues of martyrs.
In Shekhawati region — which comprises Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu districts — people keep memories of martyrs alive by erecting their statues. The statues are worshipped as deities in the villages. On Raksha Bandhan, women tie rakhi on the statues as a token of remembrance.
Shekhawati is replete with statues of martyrs. The three districts account for the maximum martyrs in the state. In Operation Vijay, also known as Kargil War, this region lost 32 of its sons. After that war, 182 more people from the region have lost their lives while serving the nation.
In almost every home in Shekhawati region, there’s at least one man in the armed forces. For instance, in Jhunjhunu’s Bhirr village, there are 2,230 army men from 900 houses.
In these villages, martyrs’ statues are erected to inspire the young. Newlyweds visit these statues to seek blessings.
On Rakshabandhan, not just sisters of the martyrs but also other women from the village tie rakhi on the statues. Sonia Singh of Malsisar, whose brother-in-law was martyred five years ago, tied rakhi on his statue on Sunday.
“Such scenes are common across Shekhawati. Women come with a thali and put vermillion on the statue’s forehead before tying a rakhi on its wrist,” said Pooja Joshi of the village.
Sunil Kumar, son of martyr Sheeshpal Gadhwal of Khanara Ka Bas village in Jhunjhunu, said his father’s statue is worshipped in the village. Gadhwal’s niece tied a rakhi on the statue’s wrist to remember him.
On other festivals too people throng these statues. Sushila Garhwal said people of the Shekhawati remember their martyrs on every important occasion in their lives.