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« Raksha Bandhan, a celebration of bondings »*

VINAY SAHASRABUDDHE

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President, Indian Council of Cultural Research (ICCR)

Raksha or Rakhi is a sacred thread and Bandhan means bonding. Raksha Bandhan is thus essentially, a celebration of bondings.

Every year on a full-moon night in the rainy month of Shrawan falls (usually August) this festival which was initially a celebration of brother-sister relationship. This year Raksha Bandhan (will be) celebrated on 11 August 2022.

It is an integral part of Indian Culture, and for ages, people have been celebrating this festival in their own way. As a part of this raksha-bandhan, traditionally like a friendship band, a thread is tied on the wrist of one’s dear ones and near ones! This is a symbolic ‘binding’, a sacred vow to ‘defend’, protect each other, with sister praying for the long life of her brother and the brother silently renewing the pledge to protect her life and honour at all cost.

With the passage of time, this festival has become gender neutral. Once a family festival, today it has become a social event. In the present day, it has come to symbolise all seeking and giving of protection regardless of relationship. Today, this festival of bonding is celebrated by one and all, regardless of belief systems, castes and creed.

In these difficult times of Covid-19, this festival gives a message of togetherness. Nobody is isolated, nobody needs to feel lonely and be left to himself/herself as we are all a part of a universal family. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is the foundation of India’s world view and today it is extremely relevant to spread it all over the world! We, at the ICCR, are happy to present an exquisite rakhi made of bamboo. This attractive piece of art is created by member of the Adivasi or tribal communities of Melghat in Maharashtra.

* Ce message accompagnait un courrier de la Haute Commissaire de l’Inde à Maurice, K.Nandini Singla, à l’occasion de la fête Raksha Bandhan.

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