Rakhi, the Sister's Day in India
The passing of time and the concept of multi-cultural society has influenced the festival to enlarge its scope and widen the ways of celebrating it. Today tying of Rakhi is not confined to the siblings alone. Rakhi can be tied to anyone by a woman whom she takes to be her brother. Soldiers in the battlefield receive the sacred Rakhi with wishes for their victory and safe return. Rakhi is also a day for women to visit the orphanages or prisons to tie Rakhi to the inmates. The kind act gives the ill fated Rakhi brothers a feeling of Hope, Love and Care. Rakhi, indeed, stirs up one of the deepest and noblest emotions in the human heart. The simple Rakhi thread motivates the brother to make any sacrifice to help his sister in need.
The oldest historical reference to the festival of Rakhi goes back to 300 B.C. at the time when Alexander invaded India. It is said that when the great conquerer, king Alexander of Macedonia was shaken by the fury of the Indian king Puru, Alexander's wife, who had heard of the Rakhi festival, approached the mighty king Puru and sought assurance of her husband's life by tying the Rakhi on Puru's hand. The story goes that just as Puru raised his hand to deliver a mortal blow to Alexander, he saw the Rakhi on his wrist and refrained from striking at Alexander.
During the midieval era, Rajput kings were fighting Muslim invasions. When Rani Karnawati, the widowed queen of Chittor, realized that she could in no way defend the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a Rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun, enlisting his support against the onslaught of the Gujarat Sultan. Touched by the gesture, Humayun hastened to the rescue of his Rakhi sister.
Rakhi this year falls on Friday 19th August, and the excitement for the celebration has already started. Since the emotional binding between brothers and sisters is universal, Rakhi, or the Sister's Day as we can call it, deserves to be celebrated universally like Mother's Day or Father's Day. It may happen sooner than later, if Hallmark, Archies and the like of them decide to add another Day to the list of events they promote with their creations of globly popular greeting cards.
Happy Rakhi to Sisters and Brothers!