I just came back from the market after having a cup of coffee and while coming back couldn’t resist myself going near to the stalls where lots of people were busy buying Rakhis and other stuff as if shopkeeper was selling those free. Yes, it’s Raksha Bandhan; a festival of slavery is back!
Yes, Raksha Bandhan, a Hindu festival (now infiltrated to almost all other religions including Sikhism and Buddhism) is within few hours. After coming back, I sit down to collect my thoughts over this festival and realities associated with the same festival. Do Sikhism, Buddhism promote Raksha Bandhan? What Dalit-Bahujans have to do with this festival? Do women really feel safe in India? Is it really a women’s festival? Should women stop tying Rakhis? Are there any alternatives to these festivals? There are many questions those are coming to my mind right now.
“The man, who has no sense of history, is a man who has no ears or eyes”.
First, there is no historical background of the festival of this festival. Yes, yes! I do agree most of the festivals (Dusherha, Diwali, Holi etc) we Indians celebrate don’t have any historical background. If a lady tied a thread on king’s wrist & he won lots of battles, that’s just a fiction, not a history and there must be a strong line between fiction and history. (Ohh… not for us, for Indians, it’s thin line between fiction and history and we can cross over anytime!). Nor a thread can make someone to win. There is a chanting of holy mantra in Hinduism:
Yena baddho Balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah |
Tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala ||
It means, “I am tying a Raksha to you, similar to the one tied to Bali, the powerful king of the demons. Oh Raksha, be firm, do not waver.” How this simple, annually recurring act of tying the Rakhi on one’s wrist can evoke such strong and intense emotions in a person is indeed surprising & interesting!
Now live telecast on television, I’m watching many women going to the front and tying Rakhis to the army people to make them strong. (Or they be firm, don’t waver while raping innocent girls, murder women after rape as happened in Kashmir & north eastern states).
Here is common notion set (set by Brahmin-Baniya media) that relation of Brother-Sister is pure love, effective etc but it’s not true as more than 80% of the world don’t celebrate this festival & they are strong enough than Indians (here consider under nutrition people also). On the one hand, when Indians don’t accept a girl child (consider poor sex ratio here), women society faces discrimination in all respects but afterwards thinking of festivals like Raksha Bandhan, Women’s Empowerment Day seems funny to me! Isn’t it funny to note that Raksha Bandhan comes with the warranty of one year? Ohh… I’ll protect you for one year and after that, you need to tie a new Rakhi to me if you want me to further protect you as if it’s a mobile recharge card with one-year validity!
Raksha Bandhan: Sikhism and Buddhism
“If you want to destroy a society, destroy its history and the society will get destroyed automatically”. — Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Sikhism and Buddhism are the two religions those inspire me the most. But, when I see Sikh women going to Gurudwaras and tying Rakhis to the palki of Guru Granth Sahib or when I see Buddhist women going to Buddhist religious places and tying Rakhis to banyan trees; I feel sad for innocent people.
What was originally a Hindu festival has ignorantly been accepted by Sikhs and Buddhists without questioning the credibility of the festival or without considering what Sikh Gurus or Buddha had said or what Dr Ambedkar said in 22 Vows. Buddha and Sikh Gurus never accepted Hindu customs, rather than accepting they challenged many ritual practices in Brahmanism such as ‘Guru Nanak Dev Ji’ refused to wear a janeu and Buddha challenged caste system. Buddha and all Sikh Gurus had rightly said: “You must not only discard the Shastras, you must deny their authority & you should have the courage to tell Hindus that where they are wrong”.
Sikhs and Buddhist heritage are so rich that in both religions men and women were given equal rights/status from the beginning. Why would women need protection when they can defend themselves? In 1706 A.D. at “Khidrana di dhab”, where the Sikhs were fighting against Mughals and when 40 Sikh men abandoned 10th guru ‘Guru Gobind Singh Ji’ in the time of need their wives took the weapons and came to fight.
Women in Sikhism and Buddhism were treated equal so don’t just fall prey to fake rituals created to destroy rich inheritance of Sikhs and Buddhists.
Raksha Bandhan: Hindrance to the development of women society
“In Hinduism, conscience reason & independent thinking have no scope for development.” — Dr B. R. Ambedkar
When sister ties a thread on the wrist of brother and asks him to protect her in difficulties. Don’t all you think it is showing that women society is not eligible to protect themselves and women society always needs a help. Isn’t it showing that the women society is inferior and can’t help own-self? (Here consider what Manusamriti says “Before marriage women should be under the protection of father, after marriage under the protection of a husband, after the death of the husband she should be under the protection of children,” i.e. she is never free and can’t do anything on her own will.)
After few days of Raksha Bandhan here comes the “Bhaiya Dhuj” festival, on this day sister prays for the long life of the brother. But there is no such festival on the day when brother will pray for sister’s long life. Isn’t it the best way to keep women society down and not to give many chances to grow? If women society still needs her brothers to protect her from her husband or if she still looks at the face of brother to get help, then I’ll say there is no meaning of women empowerment (forget about the Dalit women empowerment), which many women organizations are claiming loudly. Raksha Bandhan is itself a Bandhan (hindrance) to the development of women society. In Rig Veda, Ramayana, Manusamriti, Visnusamriti and many other Hindu religious documents women society have been degraded and projected as a ‘sex-object but nothing else’. I would really love that every woman read the book named “Genocide of Women in Hinduism” by Sita Agarwal and then decide do they need to celebrate this slavery?
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in many parts of India under different names; this is known as Narial Poornima or Coconut Full Moon in Mumbai’s famous beaches. Coconuts are thrown into the sea to propitiate (calm down) the Sea God, Varuna. Interesting, isn’t it? Helping Japan to fight Tsunami?
Read also – Holi – A Festival To Commomorate Bahujan Burning
Rationally thinking do we really need a special day to pour all the love, care, affection and attachment? Can’t we live without such festivals? Yes, celebrate rich history not poor fiction. Poor people spend at least 100’s of rupees on Rakhi’s, albeit of the fact that they can hardly afford to celebrate money-wasting-occasions such as Diwali, Dusherha, Rakhi but still mental slaves are willing to celebrate. These all are the beautifully carved tactics of businessmen & pundit-pujaris to earn money & trap illiterate people. Keep in mind businessmen are not from the downtrodden communities. All these businessmen are highly educated but the fact is only downtrodden – the untouchables – are illiterate. On “Shivratri” give milk to pundit-pujaris, on “Diwali” give sweets to pundit-pujaris, on “Holi” give “bhang” to drink. All these are nothing but the tactics to keep the business of temples running. Till what time all this will keep on going and we’ll keep mum?
Man’s Psyche Must Change
The 21st century must become synonymous with the time woman finally getting her rightful place in society and her status at home will largely determine her standing in the world. Her needs and aspirations are essential because only then can she give her best to society.
An empowered woman will make a loving home and bring up sons and daughters who have a healthy outlook towards life and are not scared to denounce the evils afflicting every little step of their walk towards a peaceful existence. Thus, to begin with, there must be democracy in the family.
The husband and wife should work as a team with both partners having an equal say in decision-making. The woman must not be condemned to play the role of a maid to the man – whether it is a father, brother husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law or son. Society needs to get rid of lots of shortcomings that have only undermined the position of woman. Just as the practice of sati has been abolished (well, almost), the world would be a far better place if people spent their time in constructive activities rather than collecting dowry by selling their sons or marrying girls off during their childhood and leaving them to their “fate” or satisfying their lust by kidnapping, raping, murdering and dumping newlywed girls on the name of God.
In order to iron out the unevenness in society, the women must be educated and they should learn to assert their rights and shun the injustices heaped on them. The real change will be when man’s psyche undergoes a transformation and both men and women meet mid-way rather than the girl always making all the adjustments.
Let’s break all these illusions, misunderstandings and common notions and celebrate this festival as “Awareness Day”.
(Written on Dated: 12/08/2011)
P.S.: Views expressed here in this article are my personal, no-one needs to agree with me. As Buddha said, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason & your own common sense.” (Yes, you are welcome to comment or abuse the power!)
Check also – Some Random Thoughts on Diwali – Say No To Diwali