Rakhi: A Patriarchal Knot

Rakshya Bandhan: a celebration of joy, celebration of togetherness, celebration of trust, celebration of support and also celebration of fondness and true love. This is the day to celebrate the deepest and noblest of human emotions between a brother and a sister. It is a magnanimous culture where “Rakhi” is a special occasion to celebrate this emotional bonding by tying a holy thread around the wrist of brother by a sister.

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Coloful Rakhi in the market

In Nepal this festive is celebrated with grace and we also do have National Holiday. It is also popularly known as Janai Purnima.  Tomorrow is the day and this festival has also bound me to wish my brothers and cousins. But what clicked on my mind, it is the celebration of protection. Rakhi means a bond of protection and Rakshya Bandhan signifies: the strong must protect the weak from all evil. Here this again shows a sister is a weak whereas a brother is a strong figure.

If I have a five year old brother and I tie Rakhi on his wrist means he is strong enough to protect me despite of his age. Even this is burden for male who is also shaped and pattered by patriarchal norms. This is truly a patriarchal tradition then. In our patriarchal society only girls and women are responsible to pray to God for health and well-being of male members in the family. There is no such festival or celebration where sisters promise to protect their brothers from all evils and brothers pray for their sisters’ health and well-being.

This is modern age and women are independent. Women are self-empowered and more financially sovereign. As time changes I think the celebrations and festivals also be celebrated with new meaning on it. Let us celebrate this Rakshya Bandhan with determination that women are becoming educated and they can very well take care of themselves. Although Rakshya Bandhan has its own powerful meaning of trust and love, it also symbolizes women’s vulnerability i.e. women are weak and vulnerable so they need to be protected by men.

If people have understood the real meaning of Rakhi, there won’t have been cases of rape and incest. Do you know there is a culture of killing sisters by brothers to save family honor. It is proudly known as Honor Killing. In Nepal women do not have to experience the tradition of Chaupadi” if brothers protected their sisters. Also no Dowry system and Witch Craft still get prevalence.

But I will celebrate Rakshya Bandhan with touch of women empowerment. From centuries women are protecting her family, child and siblings. Since this festival is getting bigger and glamorous every year we should raise our voice on celebration of patriarchy is the celebration of men’s superiority and women’s inferiority.

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