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On Raksha Bandhan, being a single girl child can be tough! Lectures on how important it is to have a brother and how she's ‘unguarded’ without him are just some of the things they have to hear!
On Raksha Bandhan, being a single girl child can be tough! Lectures on how important it is to have a brother and how she’s ‘unguarded’ without him are just some of the things they have to hear!
As rakhis begin to be sold in the market, homes begin to be decorated, sweets begin to be made at homes, many single children especially girls, begin to isolate themselves. They nurture anxiety in their hearts and a fear of once again hearing the pitiful remarks of relatives and neighbours for being a solo girl child and having no brother ‘to protect her’.
Single kids are made to feel sad about something not in their control, for being the only child to their parents. They are made conscious of a void in their lives that might end up affecting their mental well-being. Instead of involving them in the celebrations of this day, they are left out in the ritual of tying the rakhi and feel lonely and excluded.
Our society asserts a peculiar emphasis on having siblings, and this importance becomes exaggerated as Raksha Bandhan comes around the corner. They have their definition of a perfect family, involving parents, a brother, and a sister. All other sets of family, lacking any one of these three are by default labeled ‘imperfect’.
“My parents have always been asked, ‘why didn’t you have another kid, she would feel lonely on Raksha Bandhan?” says Lisa Kukreja, an undergraduate student from Delhi University.
Living in a patriarchal society, every girl has gone through the lecture of how important it is to have a brother, how she would be left ‘unguarded’ without him, and how much she should value and respect him. Emphasis is also drawn on the importance of having a sister, but not so much, for reasons well known.
Having a sibling always by your side is an amazing feeling. From stupid fights, calling each other names, endless gossips, late-night drives, tying rakhis to playing pranks together, they are like pillars that you can always rely on.
But those who do not have siblings should not be looked at with sympathy. Rather, they should be encouraged to go out on Raksha Bandhan and celebrate it with their favourite cousins or friends.
We are all aware of the patriarchal ritual that Raksha Bandhan subjects us to. Putting tilak on the forehead of the brother, doing his aarti, and tying rakhi on his wrist with his promise that he would protect the sister. But wait, does she need his protection?
It is society’s gendered approach towards this festival that makes it difficult for single kids to enjoy this day. This protectionist angle of Raksha Bandhan needs to go away, and what must follow is a day full of love, friendship, and genuine care, not protection.
“Raksha Bandhan for me has become the protection of myself because what is better than self-protection,” says Priyanshi Mathur, a 21year old single child to her parents. This day should be celebrated as a festival of love between all and any platonic relationship.
No one should have the right to make you feel less because of something not in your hands. Those who do not have siblings have cousins and friends, and the bond between them is no less precious.
It is high time that we normalize sisters/brothers/friends tying rakhi at each other’s wrists and celebrating this day of love in the best possible ways. Heck, why not tie yourself a rakhi and vow to be your own protector like Priyanshi?
This Raksha Bandhan, let us all pledge to spread love and not make this day a burden for someone with our unnecessary sympathies.
Image source: Still from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
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Muskan is an undergraduate literature student, an avid reader and a writer. Her areas of interest include gender, sexuality and psychology. She feels strongly for the things around and does not shy away from voicing read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, indivisual posts do not necessarily represent the platofrom's views and opinions at all times.
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One may say these are 'just customs', but why maintain sexist, patriarchal customs? I want to tie a rakhi to those who stand by me, who support me through every low, and encourage me through every high.
One may say these are ‘just customs’, but why maintain sexist, patriarchal customs? I want to tie a rakhi to those who stand by me, who support me through every low, and encourage me through every high.
I genuinely believe the fight against patriarchy begins at an individual level first.
For any traditional Hindu household, Hindu festivals are obviously an integral part of life. With Raksha Bandhan barely a week away, I am sure every woman or girl who has a brother must have begun preparations for it. Even if she is the older one and hence, in a better position to ‘protect’.
Short film Siblings on YouTube on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan seems to move with the times, showing the sister as the 'protector', but still panders to a ton of stereotypes that makes one cringe.
Short film Siblings on YouTube on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan seems to move with the times, showing the sister as the ‘protector’, but still panders to a ton of stereotypes that makes one cringe.
Raksha bandhan; a bond of protection — there are multiple tales but they all turn in the same direction, that the rakhi ties the siblings together.
While quintessentially raksha bandhan has been a brother and sister festival, now it applies to all, for good. In the end, no matter who protects, it’s the sibling bond that gets stronger with that tie.