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21 Feb 2020, Edition - 1683, Friday

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Raksha Bandhan: Some tales from the past

Indrani Thakurata

Raksha Bandhan is round the corner, the festival that celebrates the bond between a brother and a sister. Today it revolves more around love wrapped in gifts, but are we aware of its historical significance?

“Do we really? Most of the youngsters of today know it as a day when they exchange gifts. Festivities have been hijacked by the commerce, and therefore very few of us really know how it started,” says Manjari Ganguly, a Sociology Teacher who has nothing against the evolution really. In a gist, “It started with Indrani, who tied a thread given to her by Lord Vishnu around her husband Lord Indra’s wrist to protect him from demons during the war between the Gods and demons. And that is exactly why sisters used to tie the rakhi around their brother’s wrist before they set out for wars as a protection,” she adds.

Recalling another significant tale around Raksha Bandhan is the” tale of dedication of a brother’s promise. Mewar had been attacked twice by Bahadur Shah and as a ray of hope Rani Karnavati sent a letter to Humayun with a rakhi asking for his help. The emperor who was between a military campaign then left everything to go and protect her,” says Sanhita Mukherjee, a History Professor. In Fact, even in Mahabharata, there is an episode where the brother protects the sister. “How can you forget Draupadi vastra haran and how Krishna protected her during cheerharan by Kauravas. It is believed that once Lord Krishna cut his finger and was bleeding profusely. Seeing this, Draupadi tore a part of her sari and tied it around his finger and it is that very act that saved her,” says Nikhil Rajan, a devout reader.

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