In Sanskrit, Raksha Bandhan means a tie or knot of protection. ( Raksha = protection, Bandhan = tie. )
Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a Hindu festival celebrated in many parts of India and Nepal. On this occasion, the sister performs a Rakhi ceremony wherein she ties an ornate string (rakhi) on the wrist of her brother, who in turn vows to protect her; the sister then feeds the brother something sweet and receives a gift as a token of love.
The Patriarchal Aspect.
This festival has been used to propagate sexist notions such as that women need only physical protection whereas men need only spiritual protection. A man can back his vows with physical action; a woman can only pray.
We must realize that in the past incidents, a prayer may have been at par with actual physical defense but undeniably, this belief doesn’t hold true in today’s times.
Challenging the Stereotype.
Relationships are the essence of any festival. Raksha Bandhan is a festival which celebrates the bond of love between siblings. It is a day when they pray for each others’ well being and wish for each others’ happiness and goodwill.
But, is it only a brother who is capable of protecting his sisters from adverse situations? I think a large majority of youngsters today realize that one particular gender doesn’t need to be protected by the other. And why should one not celebrate the affection between siblings of the same sex? I believe it’s time to bring some amendments to this age old ritual. In my opinion, one should celebrate each and every kind of sibling bond on the occasion of Rakhi.
I don’t tend to question the beauty of the festival. It’s been an auspicious one for my family for years and will continue to be. But the very fact of only some people celebrating this festival of sibling love saddens me. I’ve girl friends with sisters who do not enjoy this occasion or who travel to far off places to tie a thread to their boy cousins. I firmly believe that love is the feeling of concern, comfort or protection which can be shared among people of all genders.
Frozen is my favourite Disney movie, majorly because it spreads the notion that it need not always be the ‘prince’ who would save the life of the female protagonist. A sisterly bond is of true love and compassion and that must be celebrated. Hence, I’ve portrayed Anna and Elsa celebrating this Hindu festival with joy and pride. Anna is tying a rakhi on Elsa’s hand while Elsa has previously applied Tikka on Anna’s forehead. Gifts and sweets are being exchanged by the young sisters who are merrily singing the religious and spiritual prayers for the better health and wellness of each other.
Medium – Blue ball point pen on paper.