Hautetalk: Can We Stop Weaponising Rakhi To Kill Attraction In Girls And Boys, Garner Electoral Votes?It's not helping anyone!
“All Indians are my brothers and sisters…”, We’ve all said this Indian pledge in schools while secretly adding that the one boy we have a crush on is not our brother. While the Indian pledge is understandable, many schools have had the tradition to push all female students to tie rakhi to the male students. And we’ve also come across cases where students have taken drastic steps after being forced to tie rakhi to someone they’re dating. Raksha Bandhan celebrates the beautiful sibling bond but thanks to patriarchy, this festival has also been weaponised to curb attraction.
Raksha Bandhan celebrations in schools have been used to prevent students from dating by forcing them form a sibling bond. Kyun bhai? Kya zaroorat hai? Why can’t we just let the kids pick and choose who they want as their mooh bole siblings? Despite all the cases we’ve seen of students taking drastic steps due to mandatory rakhi tying in schools, nothing is being done to stop it. This festival and the sacred thread is used as a tool to not just prevent students from dating but also to curb attraction. But at what cost? Allow me to quote Hauterrfly’s Editor Jinal Bhatt, “Tying a rakhi does not stop PQ (pussy quiver)!” I agree and how! It’s not like we’re going to stop crushing on our crush or magically fall out of love with the person we love because someone forced us to become “rakhi brother-sister”.
Why not organise mass Raksha Bandhan ceremonies in offices, schools and colleges, and elsewhere so that bother-sister feeling is strengthened among people of all religions and communities ? pic.twitter.com/9m9mHafSZx
— Dr Sundar (@DrSundr) August 30, 2023
Also Read: PM Modi Asks MPs To Celebrate Raksha Bandhan With Muslim Women. Will It Protect Women From Communal Violence?
Now, I’ve had my fair share of mandatory rakhi tying in school when boys would hide away or take the day off or just flee at the sight of a girl approaching them with a rakhi. But here’s an interesting story, my parents once made me meet their friend’s son (irada toh rishte ka tha) and we never ended up dating but we did become mooh bole siblings. And years later, we continue to maintain that relationship. The reason? It meant something to us and we hold it dear because it was a conscious choice we made. On the other hand, mandatory rakhi tying in schools makes Raksha Bandhan meaningless to many. Remember Asaram Bapu claimed that the girl in the Nirbhaya rape case should’ve called her rapists “bhaiya” to save herself. FYI, this came from a man who was back then a rape accused and has now been convicted of the crime.
Happy raksha Bandhan school activities pic.twitter.com/I5xD7S1FGI
— Satyajeet NHM Satna (@vinitphotocopy) August 27, 2023
It’s not just the schools that are weaponising Raksha Bandhan and instilling fear of this festival in the hearts of students but it’s also our political leaders. Rakhi has been time and again used to deter dating by political and extremist groups (we know what happens on Valentine’s Day). And let’s be honest, we live in a world where panchayats make girls tie rakhi to men who eve-tease them but it’s not like that solves the problem. It has now been made worse by political leaders who use this festival as a tool to reach out to the vote bank and garner votes and praises for doing the bare minimum. All of this is a problematic way of celebrating Raksha Bandhan. Imagine tying rakhi to your molester! Expecting someone who exploited a woman and her bodily autonomy to protect her rights. Erm, in a country where women are, more often than not, abused by people known to them, we seem to be putting too much faith in a thread that does nothing to change the emotions and thoughts of a person.
Raksha Bandhan is an auspicious occasion that serves as a reminder of the value of sibling love and the enduring emotional link formed by the Rakhi, a cord of sisterly loyalty and a sincere commitment from the brother to protect her sister forever.
.#CJDAV #RakshaBandhan pic.twitter.com/iLyXMtEKWi
— CJDAV Centenary Public School (@cjdavmeerut) August 30, 2023
In conclusion, I’d like to convey a simple request. Let’s not weaponise Raksha Bandhan and the Rakhi to moral police people, protect abusers (and save them from having to take accountability for their actions and suffer the consequences of their actions instead), and to garner votes. And it’s not like anyone remembers their forced “Rakhi Sister” or “Rakhi Brother” when things go wrong in the world. From what history tells us, people forget all about these token relationships when communal violence begins.