Festivities and what they mean to us
A long weekend for us in India and that too a weekend full of festivities: Rakshabandhan and Independence day.
Rakshabandhan is a celebration of the relationship between a brother and a sister. I don’t have any brothers. Since I was little, I remember envying girls with brothers mostly for the gifts that they got on this day from their brothers and also the festivities that they got to be part of. Ma made us sisters, tie the rakhi, the holy thread of protection to God. I have done that for years since, but as I was growing older I also wished that I would have a “mushtanda” for a brother who would protect me and keep all other guys at bay. He would have to be really tall and very dark and evil looking something like Khalli, who would be sinister and of whom guys would get really scared of.
Those days the number of guys who wanted to be my brother grew in numbers, so much that I was really baffled whether I needed protection at all…… all of them were after all my “rakhi brothers”. I should have felt safer with soooooo many brothers in tow but I was stupid because soon a month or so after that the brothers would want to become something totally different. “Pehle bhaiyya phir saiyya”. The phenomenon of having rakhi brothers lost its meaning and I now needed serious protection from this new clan of never before known to me “rakhi brothers”. A problem that I had created by my own self.
The festival is not to blame. The stories attached to the festival of rakshabandhan depict the love between a brother and sister and the sanctity of the relationship where the brother promises love and protection to his sister. It is the opportunists like the so called brothers of mine who have marred it. In future I saw a lot of these rakhi brothers and sisters get married with the happily ever after but the sanctity of the relation was lost to me. I do not believe in having “rakhi brothers” anymore and I still meticulously tie rakhis only to the idols of Gods.
My doctor who is the youngest of five sisters told me one day that she didn’t celebrate the festival as she didn’t have a brother and her husband didn’t have sisters and her daughter did not have a brother. When asked about “rakhi brothers” she says “They all disappeared after I got married.”
August 15th is the day when after 200 years of oppression and lakhs and lakhs of known and unknown sacrifices we finally got independent of the British regime. Our grandfathers, great grandfathers and great great grandfathers have borne the brunt and it is after their selfless sacrifices that today we live a life of saying what we want, doing what we want, going where we want, etc etc. We live in a secular, part socialist, part capitalist, democratic nation and to reach here we have striven hard. How many countries in the world can claim to do what we have done in a span of 64 years? Which country of our size and stature can claim to be as liberal as we are? Yet we choose to ignore all of this.
Years ago we made a tryst with destiny and awoke to life and freedom and 64 yrs later what have we made of it: Corruption at every stage, Terrorism, Illiteracy, Poverty, Female infanticide, child marriage, deforestation, pollution, Crime against women and children to name a few. Our grandfathers left us a legacy of freedom what are we going to leave our children?
Patriotism has now found a new meaning…… cricket matches!!! Is that the only time when we feel for our country? Why should our own people find solace in other countries….. why should they feel safer elsewhere other than in their own home???
What do these festivities mean to us??? An extended weekend means holidays, shopping, picnics. Most people I know are planning a holiday someplace or the other. The meaning of festivals is rapidly changing so is the social structure. I think that the whole social structure on which we were so proud of is slowly crumbling and giving way to so called bohemian thinking. We no longer wish to eradicate evils but are learning to live with them. The acceptance that we were so proud of is now taking a whole new meaning and we are learning to live with evils that our society has created.
We need to go back to our roots and uproot things from where they got wrong. Refuse to be held at ransom to evils because it is the easy way out. A revolution is the need for the day. A revolution like the ones our grandfathers brought about……… only this one to eliminate and cleanse the evils from our society.
Since time unknown we have a legacy of compassion and tolerance. We need to weed out the undesirable elements from the society and put them through a correction program rather than eliminating them thereby cleaning the evil and not the doer of the evil. We really need to show more respect for the festivities as they are: like spending a few moments thinking about things that one can make right however meager it may be and refusing to be held at ransom by any evil. I know that one person making a change will not change anything……. but it will. There is always a chain reaction to everything u do and it will come back to you somehow……. remember a few lines
hum akele chale the janibe manzil
log saath aate rahe karvaan banta gaya…..
Why not for a change give a new meaning to these days and do something our country will be proud of??? Why not give a new meaning to these holidays??? Why not contribute in our own small way just a thought, a small action is all that is required with our kind of population can u imagine what can happen if everyone does their own very very minuscule bit of change!!!