Upholding Tradition With A Twist Of Gender Equity


There’s no purer love than the love we get from our family. That loves knows no motives, or objectives, there are no hidden intentions or perks; the love is there to share, to receive and to give. One such occasion is the eve of Raksha Bandhan, a day dedicated to brothers and sisters. The eve celebrates the closeness, the rivalry, the constant nitpicking, the competition and of course, the care shared between the two of them.

When you look at your brother/sister, there is a sense of belonging and reliability that is nowhere to be seen. Come what may, your sibling will protect you and will stand by you. Be it saving you from mom’s uproar, or cleaning the path that clearly points towards your drinking and smoking; be it helping you during your first break-up or giving the always required clothing tips and dating ones. They are your constant partner, partner in crime, happiness, and sorrow.

Raksha Bandhan celebrates this bond joyously, however, is there some tint of patriarchy in this, with attached sexism?

On this day, we see a lot of debates going around that seem to cater to the dark side of the festival. ‘Brothers are our protectors’, which is a part of celebration, and I am sure none of us can deny it. No matter how old the brother is, he is the one assigned to take care of his sister, the capability of which always goes unnoticed or un-adhered to. Remember the scene in Queen, when Kangana Ranaut goes for her first date, and chintu has to come, because obviously he can protect her character if there’s some problem.

There goes our little nudge to the budding ‘masculinity’ and supremacy towards the gender. However, what I personally believe is that this festival shouldn’t be related in terms of gender. A brother can also tie rakhi to his sister, because she does protect him at time when he’s all vulnerable by himself.

The vow of protection doesn’t necessary entail brothers to do the mentioned deed, many sisters do it and there’s no ridiculing of tradition if the route is followed both ways. Why can’t we tie rakhis to both, brothers and sisters? Knowing the ground reality, I am sure many young brothers are taken care by their elder sisters, either financially or mentally, and there’s no qualm or shame in it.

Can’t two brothers tie a rakhi to each other, knowing the fact that they are their companions through thick and thin, and they will be protecting each other more than distant female cousins?

For all those thinking that this is some feminist talk, I would just like to say that Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bond and love between siblings, gender no-bar. I have a sister and she is the one who has to bear my mood swings, and she is the one I cry my heart out to after an ugly break-up, or when watching Harry Potter or Finding Dory. She is the one with whom I share my midnight snacks or the deepest secrets, and I don’t need a brother to celebrate this bond. I have a young, beautiful sister and she’s the only sibling to protect me, and love me throughout my life.

So, for me personally, the festival is dedicated to my sister, my younger sister whose existence will be protected by me and vice-versa, my sister who is there to take my side when quarreling with parents, my sister who will plan mischiefs with me, and also my sister who will be with me forever.

Of what I have learnt and seen in the world, I am the last person to calculate my relationship with someone as per their gender. Brother or sister, what values is the love we share.

After all, relationship shouldn’t bear the burn of a gender-centric rule or adherence, right?

Yugansha Malhotra

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