Raksha Bandhan

By Suresh Gunputrao

Raksha Bandhan, an ancient festival dating back to the Vedic era, is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana. Raksha Bandhan, the tying of a simple thread, has profound significance. In ancient times raakhis were made of grains of rice tied in a strip of yellow cloth, yellow signifying courage, hard work and auspiciousness. Later they were made of three different coloured threads intertwined together.

The sacred thread embellished with the sister’s love and affection is tied on the brother’s wrist. For years it has continued to symbolize and honour the loving relationship between brother and sister.

Raakhi need not be an expensive item. The raakhi made by the sister using her imagination and skill encapsulates her love and devotion for the brother. Hindu girls can surely meet in a cultural hall to design and make their own raakhi

Nowadays the festival is not confined to the family circle. The day is about raaksha, protection, not just for the nearest and dearest but is also about peaceful co-existence of the human race. It is now a way of bringing harmony in the human race by stressing the values of universal brotherhood and friendship.

* * *

Before 1967 Raksha Bandhan was not such a popular festival in Mauritius. In June 1967 a young man of Montagne Blanche using “RAM” as his pseudonym wrote about Raksha Bandhan in the then popular weekly “The Congress” A small fire soon turned into a conflagration.

On 25th September 1967 I left Montagne Blanche for Plaisance Airport to board the plane for the UK.

Suresh Gunputrao

* Published in print edition on 27 July 2012

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