“ The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.” - Mahatma Gandhi


Raksha Bandhan


Raksha Bandhan, (the bond of protection) or Rakhi is a Hindu festival primarily observed in India, Mauritius and Nepal, which celebrates the relationship between brothers (shaurya), cousins and sisters(shreya). It is also called RakhiPurnima in most of India. It is also celebrated in some parts of Pakistan. The festival is observed by Hindus, Jains, and some Sikhs.

In fact, the popular practice of RakshaBandhan has its historical associations also. The Rajput queens practised the custom of sending rakhi threads to neighbouring rulers as token of brotherhood. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother's wrist. This symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her.The festival falls on the full moon day (ShravanPoornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. One Islamic Scholar believes that RakshaBandhan grew in popularity after Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Chittor, sent a rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun when she required his help.


Rabindranath Tagore & Rakhi


Tagore's vision of celebrating RakshaBandhan was totally different. According to him Rakhi is not only a festival of the siblings but it's a celebration of mankind and of humanity. He promoted the concept of unity and harmony among all members of the society. He believed that it is the responsibility of all the members of the society to help and protect each other and encourage a harmonious social life. For him Rakshabandhan festival is the celebration of fellow feeling and concern. Especially in today's context Tagore's vision is very much applicable as it teaches us to think and care for others. The history behind this festival dates back to the year 1905 when the British empire decided to divide Bengal, a state of British India on the basis of caste and religion. That time RabindraNath Tagore arranged a ceremony to celebrate RakshaBandhan to strengthen the bond of love and togetherness between the Hindus and the Muslims of Bengal and together fight against the British empire. He used the platform of RakshaBandhan to spread the feeling of brotherhood. It was his vision to spread the nationalist spirit among people from different ethnic groups. His literary works have always transcended race, gender, religion and geographical boundaries. In his works and his beliefs he has always felt that it is important to have freedom of mind irrespective of race, religion and culture.

According to him if we can think beyond our religion and caste than only we can become true human beings. So to spread this message of love he thought RakshaBandhan to be the most appropriate day to spread this message. Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan started congregations like RakhiMahotsavas. This invoked trust and feeling of peaceful coexistence. The festival for them is a symbol of harmony. The tradition continues as people tie rakhis to the neighbors and close friends. It is a festival denoting National sentiments of harmony. So if we look into the actual significance of this festival in today's world, which is full of crisis and strife, these kinds of rituals hold the key to peaceful existence. The auspicious day of RakshaBandhan can be used as a potent tool for social change, which could ultimately envelop everyone in a permanent bond of love and friendship. Tagore used a white threads for RakshaBandhan thus made white RakshaBandhan popular among Friends.