One special Rakhi.

Today the siblings tied Rakhis on each other’s wrists (though Brat Three was looking at her gift while tying the red and gold thread). Then, when her brother asked for one more thread I was puzzled for a moment, “One more?”

“Tejaswee’s” He said.

I tied one Rakhi for each from Tejaswee.

This was taken on Raksha Bandhan, 2000

Rakhi 2000, Sangli Apartments

Four years ago I was still hoping, against all hopes, and praying on this day.

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Raksha Bandhan…

“The pain will never go, but you will smile again.”

Introducing a new family member.

On 19th Jan 2014.

38 thoughts on “One special Rakhi.

      • So it’s not Rakhi that you are celebrating but some other ritual of your own creation, isn’t it? I know my comment is perhaps not going to be published (as with several other comments of mine in the past) or it will get ‘plenty of thumbs down’ but my point is why twist something that’s religious and call it by the same name (Rakhi)?

        As far as I know there is a defined set of rituals with this Hindu festival (a mantra to be recited too). So why change that? You could have gotten your kids to do it on some other day, may be a day after Rakhi and call that day by some other name of your choice. It’s like taking someone’s belief and twisting it. Afterall there are 365 days in a year and you could have chosen any other day to make the ‘pledge’.

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        • I am not aware of any rigid rituals or mantras for celebrating Rakhi – and that’s the beauty of it. All one needs to do is tie a thread – cotton, silk, nylon, synthetic, plain or embellished with anything from plastic flowers, coloured pieces of foam cut into shapes, diamonds.

          I am not even sure if it is a rigidly religious festival – the famous story of Humayun – a non Hindu, being sent a thread by the Rajput queen makes it clear that there was no such rigidity involved.

          Who can a Rakhi be tied to?

          Brothers – who are seen as protectors of sisters.
          To wives of brothers – who are also seen as responsible for the welfare of the sisters (and families) of their husbands) – or maybe simply so that they encourage the brother to protect the sisters.

          To those in positions of power – for example – on the wrist of the Prime Minister of the nation.
          To others in positions of power and authority by those who serve them and hope for their protection or support.

          But I am not aware if sisters were ever viewed as capable of being in positions of power or capable of taking care of their brothers or of anybody.

          Sisters with many brothers were considered fortunate. Sisters without brothers were seen as those ‘without anybody to look out for them’ – which is one of the reasons why Indians want male children – and sex-select to avoid girl children who are viewed as incapable of protecting anybody, and in need of constant protection themselves.

          By tying Rakhi on each others’ wrists, the siblings acknowledge that they are all capable of taking care of themselves and being there for each other. It takes some of the responsibility (forced by patriarchy) off the brothers’ shoulders and lets the sisters shake off some of the dependence and helplessness (forced by patriarchy).

          This also means that it is not felt that families where there are no brothers (male children) should have ensured they had a male child so that Rakhi could be celebrated – or that every family needs to have atleast one brother to celebrate the festival.

          And why choose another day? Why not continue to celebrate an inclusive festival just the way it has been celebrated for generations – each family and each individual adding their own little personal touches to make it special for themselves?

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        • With time, everything around us adapts to change, including festivals. As long as sentiments are not getting hurt, people are not disrespecting the inherent message of that festival, there is absolutely nothing wrong in adapting new ways to celebrate it.

          Thousands of Hindus keep Roza in the holy month of Ramzan. And Lokmanya Tilak made Ganesh Chaturthi a sarvajanik (public) festival in honour of the Hindu God Ganesh. People from all walks of life and religion come together to celebrate it now. Do you think even that is “taking someone’s belief and twisting it”??

          I am a Hindu. For me and many others Raksha Bandhan is not strictly a Hindu brother-sister festival.

          And for your love for rituals and mantra, try reciting Gayatri Mantra. It talks about removing darkness from our hearts, enlightening from within, leading us on the good path, imbibing wisdom, and purifying mind.

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        • Dude caaaLm down, Rakhi isn’t even a religious festival! South Indians don’t celebrate it at all. It’s more cultural than anything. Muslims and Christians tie it as well.

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        • Good. measured response by IHM…Abhi, my question is, why should something be considered off-limits simply because it has a religious connotation? How does it affect you if someone celebrates Rakhi differently than you do? Religion, for those who believe in it, is supposed to be a personal guide…it is not the be-all and end-all of life…don’t impose your limited view of religion on other people.

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        • Dear IHM. First of all, thank you for sharing this precious picture and the rakhi celebration description with us. May God bless you and your loved ones.

          Secondly, I love how you turned someone’s narrow-minded, bigoted-bordering-on-spiteful rant into an opportunity to objectively analyze and educate – and politely too. Thank you.

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        • “As far as I know there is a defined set of rituals with this Hindu festival (a mantra to be recited too). So why change that?”
          Many reasons why we change festivals –
          1) the reasons IHM outlined – when a festival has a partly good, partly undesirable element to it, we retain the good part and delete or update the undesirable connotation to reflect current times
          2) all festivals all over the world have evolved over time and have never been the same as the day they were invented. Case in point – Christmas was a pagan festival celebrated by the pre-Christian Romans. Christ was not born in December – the pagan festival was transferred to Christianity because the first Roman emperor who converted still felt sentimental about his rituals. Nor is there any concept of a sledge or snow or the North pole as Jesus was born in a desert. These were added on later as people of different traditions embraced Christianity.
          3) Rakhi is hardly a religious festival. In the South there are many Hindus but Rakhi is not part of their traditions. In fact some South Indians celebrate it for fun, having borrowed it from their fellow Indians in the North.
          4) If you trace any of the other Hindu festivals, you will discover that the way they have been celebrated has evolved over time. Even in a given time period, each festival has different meaning to different people. Eg. Diwali in north India is about Ram coming home after killing Raavan. In the south, it is called Deepavali and it is a celebration of the killing of Narakasura by Lord Krishna.

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        • @abhi: Instead of posting a courteous reply to a post that came with such sweet memories for IHM, you chose to comment on rigid rituals and criticize her way of celebrating the festival. The less the discussions about your comment the better!

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      • IHM , this is the first time I am commenting here. This is my kids (son and daughter) did this year. Though they are ver small right now but I told them that they both have to lookout for each other.

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      • Agreed, IHM. I would tie rakhi to my brothers-in-law as well. By the way, I have no brothers and so we were deemed as a family ‘that had no sons and who would take care of us sisters and our parents’. We sisters are taking care of our father now and yes I continue to wish my brothers-in-law on ‘raksha bandhan’. The essence of the festival is much more important to sticking to rigid rituals.

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  1. You and TJ were on my mind this morning.

    Random meandering of thoughts, really; First, an insensitive comment by an intern on my team, making me draw a comparison of him with another intern who showed so much more sensitivity, and acknowledging that upbringing has so much to do with one’s nature when one is very young (the interns are undergrads – 20ish). The second intern’s name was Tejas, and I’d abbreviated his name to TJ in my mind, which took my mind to the other TJ I knew, if only by her writing and her Mother’s writing. Then, wondering if there was more to names than their purpose as handles, and smilingly concluding that both TJs had exemplary upbringings, and that the names were a coincidence.🙂 I walked to my desk still trailing these thoughts, and opened your blog before getting back to serious work, and.. this post. Maybe the universe is really connected in ways we don’t even begin to understand.🙂

    Bear hug.

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  2. So Beautiful IHM. I saw this picture in my blogroll(or whatever it is called) and my heart lurched. I came here especially to wish you today.

    As far as the origin of Rakhi is concerned, I have read that Lord Indra’s wife Shachi tied rakshasutra (rakhi) to him, when he was going to fight a war against the asuras. Also there is this famous Lord Krishna-Draupadi connection.

    Brahmins tied rakhis to kings for their protection. This tradition is still there in eastern UP-Bihar,

    All that said and done, everything evolves with time. It is a beautiful tradition that you follow. I tied rakhi to my two year old son, which was sent from his cousin, guess what, he gave me gift too🙂

    Anyone who questions our following of ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti’ should wear a Dhoti Kurta instead of Trouser-Shirt and travel in a bullock cart. Also, they should not use computers.

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  3. IHM.. I am sorry i am not very regular here and you know the reason🙂

    first of all Hugs your way and that is a beautiful picture .. I am really very happy to read what the little one said “One more?”

    “Tejaswee’s” He said.

    God bless him.. I am saying little one as I am becoming a old man now🙂

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  4. So great to see another family that doesn’t view boys and menas the only ones in a position to protect. The Rakhi tradition is a beautiful way to honor the bond between siblings, and even more beautiful is applying it to recognize mutual love and commitment to care for between brothers and sisters.

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