by Zia Ur Rehman
August 16, 2019
Members of the Hindu community in Karachi, like everywhere else around the globe, celebrated the annual festival of Raksha Bandhan on Thursday.
The festival is celebrated to mark the bond of love between brother and sister. Sisters tie a thread, called Rakhi, around the wrist of their brothers to pray for their prosperity, health, and safety.
After the ceremony and Pooja (worship), the brothers present gifts to their sisters. Married sisters also visit their brothers to tie Rakhi and the occasion becomes a great family gathering.
Hindu girls, women and even the elderly thronged the various temples in the city to buy Rakhis for the festival of brotherhood.
On the premises of various temples, a number of makeshift stalls were set up to sell Rakhi threads of various colours and designs.
Their prices varied from Rs100 to Rs500 and expensive Rakhis imported from the Hyderabad Deccan area of India were also available.
Generally, a large number of Hindu women used to purchase Rakhis for their brothers a few days before the Raksha Bandhan, but this year the business started on the day of the Raksha Bandhan due to the rains in the city, Manesh Anand, a Hindu vendor selling Rakhis in the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir situated on MA Jinnah Road, told The News.
The occasion is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar in the month of Savan or Shravana which typically falls in August of the Gregorian calendar.
Women and girls from all over the city arrived at the Shri Laxmi Narayan Temple at the Native’s Jetty for pooja and tied Rakhi around the wrist of their brothers.
Hindu activists said that the Rakhi tradition had become a symbol of mutual respect. “Rakhi has turned into a symbol of strong human relationships that extend beyond religious and cultural differences,” said Parkash P Chanal, who is a leader of the Pakistan Harijan Federation, a Karachi-based Hindu group.
“Hindu women also fasten rakhis to members of other faiths whom they consider as brothers,” Chanal told The News. “Muslims and Christians come to attend our religious gatherings, and we attend their religious gatherings.”
“The festival helps to promote interfaith harmony in the country,” he said.
Sohni, a 22-year old Hindu college student in Karachi, told The News that she purchased a number of Rakhis alongside her friends. It was a joyful day for us. “I have not only two Hindu brothers but also three Muslim friends whom I consider my brother.”
Prakash Kumar, a 24-year-old Hindu man who lives in Clifton, shared his wonderful Raksha Bandhan activities. “We started preparing for the festival much in advance and today we celebrated it with different rituals followed by a family get-together.”
“My sister tied a Rakhi and in return, I pampered her by presenting a gift. Then all of the family members had delicious food, sweets, gifts, music and dance. It was a day to remember.”