By Muhsen ali – Published Daily Times – August 19, 2016
LAHORE: Hindus on Thursday celebrated the annual Raksha Bandhan festival, a Hindu religious ritual in which girls and women tie rakhis – the sacred threads – on their brothers’ wrists, praying for their well-being, while the brothers reciprocate by giving gifts and vowing to protect them.
The festival falls in August every year during ?r?vaa, a month in Hindu calendar. In collaboration with the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies, the Hindu Sudhar Sabha arranged an event at a local hotel to mark the occasion. Punjab Minority Affairs Minister Khalil Tahir Sindhu especially participated in the festival. Parliamentary Secretary for Minority Affairs Tariq Gill, MPA Kanji Ram and other lawmakers also attended the event besides a number of educationists and other professionals.
Addressing the event, Khalil Tahir Sindhu said that the constitution has guaranteed rights for all citizens without distinction of religion, race or colour.
He informed the gathering that the provincial government under the leadership of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was working to secure the rights of various minorities. A five percent quota has been fixed for citizens belonging to minorities in all government jobs from pay scale one to 17, he said, adding that more than 5,000 jobs would be created for minorities in the near future.
He also shared that the government was providing special grants for all workers on Holi, Christmas, Easter and Diwali. “The presence of people from different religions and faiths is a step we have taken to show acceptance of Hindus in a country with Muslim majority,” said Saeeda Deip, the chairperson of the institute. “Raksha Bandhan festival urges Muslims to sign a pledge for safety and support for their Hindu fellows,” she said.
Like Holi and Diwali, Raksha Bandhan has a message of peace and peaceful coexistence as well as a symbol of multiculturalism, said Hindu Sudhar Sabha president Amarnath Randhawa while addressing the occasion.
Everyone got a chance to tie rakhis to their brothers during the event, hosted by Arun Kumar. Raksha Bandhan is a Sanskrit term that means the tie or knot of protection.