It is Raksha Bandhan today and it got me thinking about certain things such as the patriarchal world we live in. In order for a woman to function, she needs a man be it her father, brother or husband to ‘protect’ her.
In this case, you tie a thread (Rakhi) on your brother’s wrist (not sister, mind you). Historically, ritual is so that he protects you and the festival is a celebration of the bond between a brother and a sister.
Now, I have a sister but I’ve always been tying rakhis on my cousins every year and haven’t questioned it much. When I was a kid, I used to talk to my mom about how I wish I had a brother of my own for Rakhi. Also, I love all my brothers dearly.
However, my mom never said, “You don’t need a brother to celebrate Rakhi, You can do it with your sister.” It was probably because that’s how they were conditioned.
Now the question is: Is this still relevant? Do we really need to celebrate a festival where you glorify the fact that the men in our lives need to save us? It is high time we stop acting like damsels in distress and just stop blindly doing things expected of us and giving in to the patriarchal conditioning.
Why can’t you just protect yourself? Or you know, just make it vice versa. If you wanna celebrate the bond between siblings and call it a day to be with them, make it equal. If I protect you, you protect me. If I am there for you, you’re there for me and at the end of it, we tie each other rakhis. Then, it is going to make sense.
Now, I’ll be talking about the two women who’re extremely important to me and are the reason I’m still holding up – my sister and my best friend. I love my sister so much and call my bestfriend “Bhai” (brother). So, the true meaning of this festival for me would be tying rakhis to these two women.
As a result, I started celebrating Rakhi with them, this year onwards because if it’s about protection, then no one can protect, love, care or respect me like they do.
It is time to start questioning the festivals that we blindly celebrate and say ‘No’ to vague questions. It is time for a cultural reset and make the festivals we celebrate gender neutral. We can do everything, have fun, but just stick to the true meaning of it.
Celebrate the bond between siblings because it’s beautiful. It does not matter if they are your brothers or sisters; what matters is that you celebrate it with the ones you love and truly adore.