Rakhi became a part of the Hindu traditions when Draupadi used a strip of her saree to bandage Krishna’s finger, sealing the fate of every other brother-sister duo who partakes in the celebration. The craze around rakhi has certainly reached across continents, with more and more people from other countries, religions, and cultures, practicing the rituals which are symbolically endowed. According to the common belief and Bollywood movies, the act of tying rakhi symbolizes that you honor the ties which bind a brother and sister followed by rakhi gifts being exchanged. While this traditional practice has more supporters than ever, there is still some discontent with some Feminazis, accusing rakhi of being a patriarchal hathkadi.
As far as etymology of the word is concerned, a hathkadi refers to handcuffs or a device which is used to secure hands in a bind to limit their movement. When related to rakhi, the opposers refer to the sacred Rakhi thread as an invisible hathkadi which automatically puts a woman under a patriarchal rule and her hands are tied in an invisible hathkadi. Thus, a woman who ties a rakhi is accustomed to follow claustrophobic rules which make her a slave to gender-defined roles. However, there’s always a flip side to everything which we will explore below while questioning some burning question and dig deeper to conclude whether rakhi is a patriarchal practice or not.
#Does tying rakhi puts a girl in her brother’s debt?
The symbolism behind rakhi means that the sister prays for the brother’s well-being while he vows to protect her at every turn. Thus, it is obligated to the lady to pay her respect to this promise of protection and should be subdued to the brother or other male relatives. Hence, she is left with an invisible hathkadi around her hands that wouldn’t let her work for herself, with no dreams because of her resigned fate to refer to her brother’s counsel for everything.
#Are brothers equal to perpetrators?
Also, there comes the question of protecting against whom? After all, isn’t it the men who inflict violence against women. Historically looking, it was during the disrobing incident in Mahabharata that Drauapadi’s husbands were indirectly guilty for her public humiliation. Thus, if women are the ones who are under the shackles of society with outdated rituals like rakhi, doesn’t that make them an equal partner in crime for subjecting their sisters to gender-defined rules when he lets her tie a rakhi on his wrist.
#The Protection Clause
Thus, if the same beliefs are carried on ahead, then the protection clause seems irrelevant as it claims that sisters are not capable of protecting themselves and require a brother figure in their life. Also, this rudimentary clause doesn’t hold much importance if you rely on your younger brother who is not yet an adult to protect a sister when he is the one who needs protection.
As spoken by the new age feminist….
While many of these questions are certainly thought-provoking, it doesn’t faze the actual value behind those rites which are founded on love. Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to love between a brother and sister, rites or no-rites. While the protection clause may come as patriarchal one can improvise it with sisters tying the rakhi on each other to show that they too can protect those they hold dear. In fact, for the new age feminist who deserves equal right as men and not more, rakhi is more like a celebration of the bond she shares with her brother. While she’s thankful for her brother’s presence, she won’t condone it if it interferes with her dreams and wishes. Also, the men need to be considerate of their strong sister with the iron-clad will and can tie the rakhi on their wrist once in a while as a tribute to their bravery or along with sending rakhi online when you can’t meet in person.