The cosmopolitan cultures had crept in many cities and towns of Telangana and Andhra thus Raksha Bandhan has become a cultural festival and is celebrated on the grand scale. Essentially a festival of the North, Raksha Bandhan has arrived in the South too with a sizeable population of people from North settling down and maintaining all their cultural ties and customs. More importantly, Raksha Bandhan is the celebration of togetherness. The sacred thread rakhi signifies the bond between a brother and a sister. It is certainly a sweet occasion to tell your brother how much you love him and care for him. It’s pretty delightful to see woman visiting one house after the other and being welcomed in presence of surviving Parents and relatives.
The tying of a rakhi is not confined to a brother and a sister. It could also be tied by a disciple to the Guru. This bond does not have to be between blood relatives too. This helps to broaden one’s vision beyond the borders of one’s own family to the entire earth (vasudha) as one family – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. The scriptures of Hinduism are peppered with stories of rakhi and Raksha Bandhan. But in the entire South, it’s also an occasion for the Brahmins take a holy dip and wear a new holy thread called Yajnopavita or Janeyu that is called Upakarma. When a Brahmin boy is invested with this thread, symbolically his third eye, or the eye of wisdom, is opened. The holy festival of Upakarmam reminds one who wears the sacred thread of its glorious spiritual significance.
But on the lighter side, we do have some feminists from the leftists stable who argue that the rakhi is not a band of love; it is a knot of subordination. Why? Because a rakhi denotes the woman, asking for protection from a man. Symbolically, the ‘sister’ concedes that she cannot survive in this male-dominated society unless she has a ‘brother’ on her side. Thus, she celebrates the mighty and power of the man in society, to ensure that no harm comes to her. And that the perception is she is dependent and subservient to him. To these commies it’s intellectually exhilarating and feels morally superior to discourse on anything Hindu forgetting the fact the ideology they preach is fundamentally flawed and outdated! Misguided feminists concede that the subliminal message is that she is the ‘weaker sex’; that her empowerment comes with the man’s support and approval. Thus the festival is patriarchal and thus a man is symbol of power and has to be strong as he is protector. But Consider this!
For many a Hindu it’s the greatest privilege of being a male is that he can be a brother. The feeling they witnessed of sisterly eyes mutely blessing their brothers on this occasion. Try to gauge the emotions you will have one of the most sublime experiences of your life .The sister-brother relationship is a bond of motley experiences. There are times when your sisters look up to you as a friend in whom they can confide. They trust you for protection. They look up to you as a pillar for support. And then, there are times when they stand by as a wall when you feel like a creeper. They can become your mother when you need one.
A Rajasthani child hood friend of mine and a Swayamsevak said on this occasion, to me, my sisters are extremely tender souls to be protected from the harshness of this world. I cannot stand to see any of them in tears. Bringing a smile to their faces gives me the unprecedented feeling of satisfaction, says he who is only male in the family of eight. He has seven sisters and he reveals his sisters have always been one of the biggest sources of motivation. Thus being blessed with so many loving sisters is to me the best thing! Happy Raksha Bandan he greets!
—N Nagaraja Rao from Hyderabad