Nepalis, particularly those living across the country, are observing Raksha Bandhan, a great Hindu festival, today. The festival celebrates the affection between brother and sister.
Sadly, Tarai people cannot fully rejoice the festival this year as the government has recently announced most of the Tarai districts “riot zones,” according to locals and cultural activists.
Celebration of Raksha Bandhan symbolizes a brother’s promise to protect his sister, for which sisters tie Rakhis (a wristband made up of strings) to their hand and pray for their long life and well being.
To observe the festival, siblings who live away from each other make it a point to visit their brothers or sisters, irrespective of the distance, to tie Rakhi to their brothers.
However, the indefinite strike by agitating Madhesi Morcha is likely to affect the celebrations although it has declared that it would allow the markets to open in the districts on the day of the festival.
“Raksha Bandhan is a festival that creates social harmony in the community because people of all castes celebrate it,” said Chandrakishore, a political analyst and a Tarai-based civil society member.
He argued that the festival will help Tarai communities come closer at a time when differences between them have been growing because of their stances.
Due to the indefinite strike for the last two week, local businessmen suffered a great loss as they could not sell rakhis on the eve of the festival. Last year, Bijay Sahani, Gaur-based businessman had made handsome income during the festival.
“I faced a great loss this time,” said he. According to him, many people are not so happy to celebrate the festival following a protester’s death in the district.
As per the Hindu mythologys, Rakhsha Bandhan festival started after Godess Lakshmi tied rakhi on King Mahabali and Draupadi tied rakhi on Lord Krishna. In return, Mahabali had freed Lord Vishnu, who was in his captivity, and Krishna had protected Draupadi.