This year, I decided that my brother and I would tie each other rakhis. My brother is eight years younger than I am, and so by the time he arrived, I had already spent eight brother-less years, keenly feeling left out during Raksha Bandhan each year.
Celebrating that first Raksha Bandhan excited me greatly. And I have dutifully tied him rakhis ever since, laughing at the notion that a child could 'protect' me, but enjoying the festival nevertheless. But as my brother has grown, the idea that he would protect me, doesn't seem so laughable anymore. And that got me thinking -- why is there a narrative that someone must protect me in the first place? Why can't I protect myself, and protect my brother, just as he is supposed to protect me?
So this year, my brother and I tied each other rakhis, and gave each other gifts. It is a great new tradition that I am happy we began. We both felt more empowered, and more responsible. I wanted to ask others what they thought of the festival. Many people I spoke to feel that we should recalibrate the Raksha Bandhan tradition, while others said that the traditional meaning doesn't really matter to them.
Abha Agarwal, an MBA student, told SheThePeople.TV that she views the festival as a good time to meet her family. "The historical/traditional meaning doesn't really matter to me, but it's a great time to meet my cousins and extended family, many of whom I don't see very often. It's one of the three family reunions we have a year, the other two being Bhai Dooj and Ganesh Chaturthi," she says.
Entrepreneur Mehak Goyal agrees. "I have never thought too much of what it implies," she says. She says that she just thinks of it as a festival, where you remember your brother, and he remembers you. "It is a nice occasion for the family to come together and celebrate this bond," she says.
Dharmaraj Solanki, senior associate at ConnectFor, decided that he would tie a rakhi to his sister this year. "I can never be as strong, beautiful, caring and the incredible being that she is," he wrote on Facebook. "We need more such celebrations happening all around, across festivals, not just Raksha Bandhan," he told SheThePeople.TV.
So what do you think? Should we change the way we celebrate the festival?