Tradition has it that several centuries ago, Queen Roopmati sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun and sought his help as a brother when her kingdom was besieged by enemy forces. And remaining true to the tradition of raksha bandhan where a brother is committed to helping his sister in any crisis, Humayun immediately left for Chittor to help the Queen.
The roots of the festival of raksha bandhan go back to this incident centuries back. But even today, in many cities across the country, Hindu girls tie rakhi on the wrist of Muslim youths they consider their brothers and Muslim girls, likewise, tie rakhi on the wrist of Hindu boys.
This year, too, similar celebrations are planned in Ahmedabad. “I have been tying rakhi on my Hindu brothers’ wrists for the past several years,” said Nusrat Jaleel, a resident of Khanpur. “In fact, I do so even before their own sisters get the chance to tie a rakhi around their wrists. I will be doing it this year too on Wednesday.”
On the initiative of the Ahmedabad-based NGO, Sprat-Society for Promoting Rationality, Hindu and Muslim girls in many areas of the city will be tying rakhi on the wrist of youths from each other’s religion. For the first, similar celebrations are planned in Vadodara, too.
Girls from Muslim and Hindu-dominated localities of Tandalja area in Vadodara will come together on Wednesday to tie rakhis on the hands of boys from the other community. More than 50 girls and boys will participate in the celebrations in a spirit of communal harmony.
Several Amdavadis want raksha bandhan to be declared as a national festival. “I tie a rakhi on my neighbour’s wrist every year,” said Jenny D’souza, a resident of Vastrapur.
“He is like a brother to me and I have been doing this for over a decade now. The festival of rakhi helps us look beyond petty religious differences, and respect and trust each another as human beings. Rakhi should be declared a national festival.” Hindus, Muslims and Christians of Ahmedabad continue to celebrate festivals together, and have remained true to the spirit of India.
“Raziaben, my Muslim sister, has never missed a single raksha bandhan,” said Shirish Vaghela, a resident of Jamalpur. “I do not have a sister of my own but if I could have one, I would ask God for her. She is truly my sister.”