PAKISTAN TODAY – ONE OF A KIND – RAKSHA BANDHAN IN PAKISTAN
Published : Pakistan Today – August 18 – 2016
By Saneela Jawad
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival observed in the Hindu calendar month of Śrāvaṇa, and typically falls in August every year. It celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters and gives them an opportunity to bond and spread love.
The event ‘Raksha Bandhan’ was organised by Hindu Sudhar Sabha and the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies (IPSS) on Wednesday 17th August 2016 at Ambassador Hotel Lahore. It not only brings the Pakistani Hindu minority community together, but the entire country, the entire world together as they celebrated the festival of love, peace, joy and prosperity.
“This festival is to compensate for the way Hindus have been persecuted in Pakistan,” said Chairperson IPSS Saeeda Deip while talking to Pakistan Today.
“The presence of different people from different religions, faith is a step we have taken to show acceptance of Hindus in a country with Muslim majority”, she added.
The event was hosted by Anup Kumar and was kicked started by a ceremonial prayer led by Pandit Sabir . The pandit welcomed the guests at the event and prayed for a safer Pakistan. The hall was full of audience thrilled to have an event organised to celebrate their festival.
“I am really glad that an initiative like this has been taken up in Pakistan to promote peace, prosperity and celebrate the love among siblings”, a festival goer said while talking to Pakistan Today.
“The event urges the Muslim community to sign a pledge for safety and support for their Hindu fellows”, Deip added.
The event was attended by Provincial Minister for Minorities Tahir Sindhi, who was also the chief guest at the event. Various activities were held to keep the audience entertained – from performance of Bakht Arif, a member of IPSS who was volunteering at the event to sisters tying a Rakhi (thread) on their brothers’ wrists. Everyone got a chance to tie a Rakhi to their brothers.
“It is a symbolic event as we just celebrated our Independence Day and for us to accept the minorities, this is a very good event,” said Bakht.
“Our prime minister also talks about protecting the minorities, so this is us doing our part”, she added.
Raksha Bandha was initially a South Asian festival during the war times. Raksha Bandhan is a Sanskrit term that means “the tie or knot of protection”. The word Raksha means protection, whilst Bandhan is the verb to tie. This thread was tied on the soldiers’ wrists by their mothers, sisters, wife hoping for their safe return. After partition, these events were divided in different religions, Baisakhi for Sikhs, Christmas for Christians, Eid for Muslims to name a few, explained Saeeda Deip.
“Raksha Bandhan has nothing to do religion, but because some people want to make Pakistan a theocratic state, there is no place for multi-culturalism and celebration of other festivities, she added.
The event ended with a traditional dish and mithai being served to all the attendees. Here’s hoping there are more events that celebrate love, family and bond!