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Raksha Bandhan: Festival of Patriarchy – Modify Rules of Raksha Bandhan


Raksha Bandhan is a festival in which the sister ties Rakhi (or thread) around her brother’s wrist as a sign of love, and the brother promises to protect the sister. That was very clear from the name of the festival. It has Raksha (Protection) in it. Mention of this custom can be found in Hindu texts like Mahabharata and there are many stories surrounding this festival.

Like every other Indian festival, this festival too is celebrated with great enthusiasm among the brothers and sisters of this country. But as much as the festivals are pleasant in this country, they don’t really make sense if analyzed very closely. Or, if they are analyzed by a tool called logic.

Raksha Bandhan is festival of patriarchy

If you observe Raksha Bandhan you will find that Raksha Bandhan is a festival which makes brother superior to sister.

Like, if the brother is younger than the sister, she still has to tie the thread and ask for protection from him. The problem you ask?  Well, how will a 7-year-old brother protect his 16-year-old sister from anything? While crossing the road HE has to hold HER hand. And not the other way round!  A brother who is still learning to ride the bicycle from her sister is expected to protect her from danger? And for a 16-year-old the dangers are much greater than just crossing the road. 

Raksha Bandhan is festival of patriarchy

So, it means that it doesn’t matter you have a small brother, and as a sister you take care of him, but on the day of Raksha Bandhan, that small brother become superior and say that- hi I know I am 7-year-old and my sister is 16 years old but I will protect my sister. I will do Raksha (Protection) of my sister. And from there, we put seeds of patriarchy in the minds of small kids.

And there is one more twist in Raksha Bandhan that two sisters celebrating Raksha Bandhan are not common. If there are only sisters in the family they most probably celebrate it by tying the thread around their Father’s wrist, or their cousin (which has to be male).  Or in more unusual cases sisters completely ignore this festival and carry on with their life as if nothing happened. And nothing ever will.

Raksha Bandhan is festival of patriarchy
Source-Times of India

So, no matter how you look at it, this “tradition” of brother protecting her sister sends the message that male member of the family is more superior to the female or he is more powerful than her regardless of the age. It’s no wonder the brother thinks that he is more superior to the sister and can be found saying things like “I know I am younger but the Raksha can only be done by me because I am the brother.”   This is where patriarchy comes into play. Yes, the same system that THINKS that men are superior to women.

Read Recent Blog On:- How Patriarchy Affects Men And Boys Too – Shocking Facts About Patriarchy

So, if we want to make Raksha Bandhan a festival of love not of patriarchy then we should change the way we celebrate Raksha Bandhan.

Raksha Bandhan is festival of patriarchy

Raksha Bandhan should be a little bit “modified” so that it will become festival of love between sibling and promote equality, not the patriarchy. It should be celebrated together, and not by demeaning anybody.

In this modified “Raksha Bandhan”, both brother and sister should tie Rakhi to each other. And not only brother and sister, any siblings whether it is two or more brothers or sisters should celebrate Rakhi where they should tie Rakhi on each other’s wrist and promise that they will help each other in every situation and in every possible way. This way of celebrating Raksha Bandha fulfils the real meaning of “Raksha Bandhan”.

And many people celebrate Raksha Bandhan in this modified way. Like the superstar, Aamir Khan who celebrates Raksha Bandhan with his sisters Nikhat and Farhat Khan by tying Rakhi on each other’s wrist.

Raksha Bandhan is festival of patriarchy

Now the time has come when Indian culture should change according to time because the culture doesn’t make human being; human being makes culture.

Today our culture and religious practices should change according to Indian constitution which says that every human being in India is equal whatever their sex, religion caste. etc.

So, celebrate Raksha Bandhan in a “modified” way which spread love not patriarchy.

About Neha Lal

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