President Ali, other gov’t officials celebrate Raksha Bandhan
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Representatives of the Indian High Commission tying a Rakhi on President Irfaan Ali’s wrist
Representatives of the Indian High Commission tying a Rakhi on President Irfaan Ali’s wrist

PRESIDENT Irfaan Ali and other high-level government officials joined with the High Commission of India in celebrating the Hindu festival, Raksha Bandhan, on Monday.
Joining Dr. Ali in celebrating the sacred festival were Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips; Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo; Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nanadlall; and High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr. K.J Srinivasa, along with other members of the High Commission.

According to a press statement from the high commission, Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi Poornima, is an integral part of Indian culture and this festival has become an occasion to celebrate human bondings, relationships and a sense of togetherness by seeking and giving protection. Raksha Bandhan is an important Hindu festival to celebrate brother-sister relationship. Raksha or Rakhi means a sacred thread and Bandhan means bonding.

President Irfaan Ali; Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d), Mark Phillips; Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo; and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall flanked by Indian High Commissioner, Dr. K.J Srinivasa and his team

Raksha Bandhan is thus essentially a celebration of bondings.  It is celebrated every year on a full moon night of Indian calendar month, Shrawan. On this day, sisters tie the Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers.  This is a symbolic ‘binding’, a sacred vow to ‘defend’, protect each other, with the sister praying for the long life of her brother and the brother renewing the pledge to protect her life and honour at all costs.

With the passage of time, this festival has become gender neutral.  Once a family festival, today it has become a social event. Now-a-days this festival is celebrated by one and all, regardless of belief systems, castes and creed. For ages, people have been celebrating this festival in their own way. Raksha Bandhan this year has a special significance, when the humanity is facing the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as it gives a message of togetherness.

“Nobody is isolated, nobody needs to feel lonely and left to himself/herself as we are all a part of a universal family, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the foundation of India’s world view and today perhaps it is extremely relevant to spread it all over the world,” said the high commission.

The celebration of Raksha Bandhan by the High Commission of India signifies the friendship, bonding and togetherness between India and Guyana and renewing their pledge to defend and protect each other and praying for each other’s long life and welfare and progress.

The exquisite eco-friendly Bamboo Rakhis used this time, are created by members of the Adivasi or tribal communities of Melghat in the state of Maharashtra. These attractive piece of art Rakhis, made of bamboo, have great symbolic value as it is an innovative way of making friends and well-wishers of India abroad understand an important aspect of Indian culture and also appreciate the skills of Indian village artisans.

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