Ties that bind: Hindu community celebrates Raksha Bandhan

Brothers promise to protect their sisters from all evils

Photo Ayesha Mir/Yusra Salim August 18, 2016
A little girl ties a Rakhi on the wrist of her brother (Left) while women check the variety of Rakhis offered at Lakshmi Narayan mandir on Thursday (Right). PHOTOS: AYESHA MIR/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Attired in a yellow and red dress, Aanchal, the only sister of her three brothers was gifted separately by her brothers for tying Rakhi [thread] on their wrists on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan on Thursday.

The female believers of Hinduism pray to Satya Narayan Bhagwan and fast for the whole month (30 days) of Sarawan, during which Raksha Bandhan is celebrated.

A sister of four brothers, Geeta Krishan, told The Express Tribune at Lakshmi Narayan mandir that the occasion seeks to celebrate the bond between brothers and sisters. The brothers promise to protect their sisters from all the evils of the world, she said.

“We do not eat meat in the whole month of Sarawan and the brothers are not supposed to remove the Rakhi until Krishna Janmashtami [birth of Hindu deity Krishna], which is eight days after Raksha Bandhan,” she remarked while buying colourful Rakhis for her brothers. The fast goes on from dawn to dusk and females only eat vegetables during this month, she added.

Another worshipper, Radha Viras, who was wearing a green and purple saree, prayed for the long life of her brothers. “I will tie this Rakhi on his right wrist and in return he will gift me clothes, mostly sarees,” she said, showing a Rakhi made of small golden beads and names of Hindu deities inscribed on it.

“I do not have any sister but my maid’s daughter tied this Rakhi,” said Sahil Sanjay, while showing the red thread tied around his wrist. He said that he gave her sweets in return.

Meanwhile, Naaju Ali Muhammad Lakhani, who has been setting up a stall outside the Lakshmi Narayan temple for the last 42 years, feels pleasure in selling the items used for prayers. “My father used to do the same work and I feel this is what I should continue to do,” he said. Even though Lakhani is Muslim, he knows that names of most of the Hindu deities.

“Most [Hindu] women buy bindis and pictures of their gods,” he said, adding that prices of Rakhis can vary from Rs200 to Rs300, depending on the intricacy of the design.

The Raksha Bandhan celebrations started about 5,500 years ago when Krishna saved the life and pride of his sister Draupadi, explained Mukesh Kumar, who owns a stall at the temple’s compound.

He also said during the Mahabharat War, Krishna was injured by an arrow and his sister tied the end of her veil on his wound and saved his life. Krishna was overwhelmed by the gesture and promised to protect her.

Afterwards, when the five Pandavs (Bheem, Arjun, Nakul, Sandesh and Yudishthira) lost their shared wife, Draupadi, during a game of gamble with Duryodhana, Krishna protected the honour of his sister, he said. The believers since then celebrate the occasion to make the bond between brothers and sisters stronger.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2016.


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