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Rakshabandhan came into being, because women needed protection from foreign invasion in olden times. But times have changed. Do we really need a Rakshabandan day now?
I was pregnant with my second baby. During a function at home, some ladies, who believed they were showering me with their good wishes said,” May both your kids celebrate all the festivals properly.” I didn’t like the word ‘properly.’ Anyway I knew the festival they meant was ‘Rakshabandhan’ and their wish was specifically for a ‘ boy child.’ I said, “God has blessed me with a baby second time and certainly this itself is a celebration for me.” It was obvious that they didn’t like my reply the way I didn’t like their so called ‘ wish’ but I simply cannot see someone disrespecting the baby in my womb. I mean we don’t breed children to celebrate festivals. Bad thing is, a family of two boys isn’t considered incomplete the way a family of two girls is considered supremely incomplete in our society. What a pity!
Coming back to ‘Rakshabandhan’, I think the name ‘Rakshabandhan’ for this lovely festival must have been given when India faced massive foreign invations, women were abused, molested and exploited. They seeked someone’s protection (Raksha) all the time. Protection from invaders was the primary urge of women. But in today’s context the whole concept of womanhood in India is changing slowly. Our country is still conservative and stereotypical in the way they see women but the expectations of women from the society is surely changing.
The word ‘Raksha’ is a little demoralising for women who believe they deserve equal rights.
The word ‘Raksha’ is a little demoralising for women who believe they deserve equal rights. According to me the word ‘Raksha’ should be replaced by ‘Sneh’. It is time we redefine Rakhshabandhan to ‘Snehbandhan.’ ‘Sneh‘ has no discrimination, no boundaries and no protocols. It’s eternally pure and divine. In my version of Snehbandhan, all the siblings would tie strings of ‘Sneh‘ to each other. All the children would tie the same to their parents and grand parents without any specific protocols of boy or girl, brother or sister.
After all these festivals were introduced to bring happiness and change in our monotonous life. There can not be any precondition for happiness. How can someone be deprived just because she / he has no brother or sister. That’s the first step towards equality and respect. Our children deserve to be happy in every possible way.
The time when Rakshabandhan actually evolved, boys were taught martial skills, skills to earn money and girls were taught only the core household work.
The time when Rakshabandhan actually evolved, boys were taught martial skills, skills to earn money and girls were taught only the core household work. In today’s scenario, things have changed drastically. Society doesn’t have to live in the fear of attacks and so the girls are free to try their hands on various skills which would make them earning members too. An equal upbringing desires, respect for both the sexes. Now our girls too can afford to buy gifts for their siblings and parents. It’s high time people get over the mindset that we don’t accept gifts from a girl child.
Women expect ‘Respect’ and ‘ Equality‘ as human beings in true sense. What’s the meaning of ‘touching the feet’ and ‘Kanya Bhojan’ if you don’t desire one in the womb. Try to consider her a human instead of a ‘devi’, try to be equal in your behaviour as parents and she’ll be liberated in real sense.
There is nothing wrong in restructuring the traditions and rituals in a way they can cover a larger circle and bring happiness and equality without specific boundaries. As far as my story is concerned, I am blessed with a sweet little angel and my two darling daughters would be celebrating ‘Snehbandhan’ from this year onwards.
Cover image via Shutterstock
She is a blend of Patriarchy of Rajasthan and Matriarchy of Kerala. Her dad is
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