A locality in Kolkata showcased communal harmony on Raksha Bandhan which coincided with the Independence Day this year. Raksha Bandhan is a festival primarily celebrated by Hindus, but several people from other communities also celebrate it.
In Kolkata’s Chatawala Gali near Central Metro station, Muslim men and women gathered to celebrate the festival where brothers pledge to protect their sisters after sisters tie rakhi on their wrists.
The tradition was first started by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Kolkata in 1905 as a mark of protest against the partition of Bengal and attempted to establish harmony amongst Hindus and Muslims. Tagore tied a rakhi to Hindus and Muslims and asked them to take a pledge to protect each other. The tradition continued in Bengal for many years to come and the thread of rakhi was tied in a similar manner even after Independence.
During rakhi celebrations this year, Muslim women tied the sacred thread on the wrists of their Muslims as well as Hindu. One among them was Danish Ali. “I have been witnessing Raksha Bandhan since childhood. Our parents always allowed us to celebrate rakhi with our neighbours,” Ali said.
“Now, as a grown-up man I think protecting our sisters is not enough. Every sister should ask her brother to take the pledge of protecting other women too. The news of rapes coming everyday disturbs us,” he added.
The councilor of the area, Rehana Khatoon, also joined locals in Chatwala Gali while they tied a rakhi to one another.
“Bengal again needs to take the initiative of Raksha Bandhan taken by Rabindranath Tagore to unify the Hindus and Muslims. Politics of hatred and religious division is creating chaos in society. Muslims and Hindus are one,” the Councillor said, sending out a message of communal harmony.