A society that disowns its past, disregards its culture, disrespects is value system and ethos, and shames its heritage can never craft a glorious future for itself. This does not mean that a civilization should not reform itself, stop evolving, or shy away from critically and scientifically evaluating itself. But as the famous adage goes – “We are the past; we are the sum of all events – good, bad, indifferent that have happened to us; this guides our actions in the present and future.” Hijacking of the national discourse on our glorious religion and culture by Marxists and neo-leftist intellectuals has been one of the biggest tragedies of independent India. One biggest myth propagated blatantly by these condescending pseudo-scholars is to paint Hinduism as anti-feminine and subjugator of women. While some unfortunate customs like Sati, female infanticide were quite prevalent in the past, Indian society has shown active consciousness and emergency to root out these evils. The entire faith cannot be held responsible for the actions of a select few.
Hinduism is the only religion in the world that even has a concept of female goddess. Laxmi, Saraswati, Mahadevi, Durga, Kali, Parvati, Amba, etc. are some of the most revered deities in Hinduism. While western countries require a separate mother’s day to respect their MOMs, our culture puts mother at par with the divine – “Matru devo Bhavah”. Similarly, it is the duty of every brother to respect and protect his sister. One of the most celebrated festivals in India is Rakshabandhan, when the sister ties a sacred thread (rakhi) on the wrist of her brother, and he in turn vows to safeguard her against all odds.
Talking about festivals; how can one forget Gujarat – where life itself is a celebration.Festivals hold a special cultural, religious and spiritual significance for Gujaratis, and the government has been extremely successful in channelizing that festive spirit for social and economic development. Widely successful celebrations of the Kite festival, GarbaMahotsav, and various local carnivals are prime examples of the same. The most recent illustration is how NarendraModi celebrated RakshaBandhan in Gandhinagar, where more than 5000 women tied sacred rakhison his wrist.
Reflecting the national mood, women hailing from all communities tied rakhis to NaMo, and extended him their wishes to lead the nation. Greatly overwhelmed by such love and affection, Modi stated that he always felt protected through the rakshakavach (shield) while serving the nation and it only encourages him to serve India better. The most notable part of the event was the presence of women cutting across religions and communities, age groups, and nationalitiesaffectionately tying the rakhi on NaMo’s wrists. To put it in political words, it was a truly secular rakshabandhan.
What make the celebrations unique are the solid initiatives undertaken by the government of Gujarat for women and child development. To mention a few – BetiBachao (Save Girl Child), GauravNariNiti (Women’s pride, gender equality), BalikaSamruddhiYojana (Girl Child Development), Kishori Shakti (Adolescents strength and awareness), SaraswatiSadhana, SwayamsidhYojana (self-reliance and empowerment) are some of the most innovative and pathbreaking projects in improving the status and condition of women.
The celebration of Rakshabandhanin this way sends a very subtle and noble message to the citizens of the country, particularly women. It complements government initiatives of economic empowerment, builds social cohesion, and adds a much needed dose of pride to the prosperity.
The mainstream media, ever so ready to paint Modi with a communal brush, has left not even a single opportunity to brand him a religious fanatic. For them, Modi not wearing a skull cap was proof enough to certify him as anti-muslim, but they fail to take even the slightest notice to the hundredsofmuslim women turning up to tie him rakhis.
In the past, we have seen leaders across political parties throwing Iftaar parties, hugging and posing with fellow muslims for photos that were highlighted across all major newspapers. How many of them even showed a fraction of same interest for Rakshabandhan or Diwali or Holi for that matter? This only goes on to showcase the shameless hypocrites that they are, who can never go or think beyond hollow symbolic gestures.
Some months back, Modi addressed a gathering of ladies at FICCI on Women Entrepreneurship. When the biased television anchors and eNrega gangs on twitter did not get a single point to rebut him, they made an issue over Modi referring to women as sisters! How can any sane person possibly have a problem with that too? Some Congress spokesperson even went to the extent of saying that it reflects his narrow minded and medieval attitude towards women. By that logic, everybody who celebrates Rakshabandhan is orthodox.
These incorrigible idiots need to be educated about the first line of the pledge that is recited in unison at public events, especially in schools everyday – “India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.”
The Rakshabandhan celebrations truly underline the fact that Gujarat has emerged way above the murky depths of petty politics being played across the nation, as a state that preserves commerce with culture, trade with tradition, and modernization without westernization.
Author: Mala Arora