Follow Us:

On Raksha Bandhan, theatre groups call for unity, peace

“People are concerned about the unrest, and there has been an atmosphere of intolerance and totalitarianism. Rabindranath Tagore had suggested laying stress on rakhi in order to infuse communal harmony among Indians during the British empire during the Banga Bhanga Movement. Brotherhood and amity are important in a world that is being ripped apart by intolerance…”

Sankha Ghosh | Siliguri |

At a time when the country and the world as a whole has witnessed a surge in intolerance and turmoil, theatre groups in north Bengal have tried to send across a message of peace and unity on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.

According to some young members of the popular theatre group Sreejansena, the Raksha Bandhan festival always sends a message of religious harmony and pluralistic and inclusive society.

“Rabindranath Tagore used the tradition of rakhi-tying to symbolise Hindu-Muslim unity. Rakhi is made of the thread of secularism and unity. Brotherhood and amity are important now more than ever in our nation, which is being ripped apart by hatred and intolerance,” said Nabamita Raha, a member of Sreejansena.

Rakhis are a talismanic thread or amulet, traditionally tied around the wrist of a brother by a sister on the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Group members sang songs like the Rabindra Sangeet “Aay Tabe Sahochori, Haate Haate Dhori Dhori Naachibi Ghiri Ghiri, Gaahibi Gaan” and “Aa Chal Ke Tujhe Mein Le Ke Chalu” from the Hindi movie Door Gagan Ki Chaon Mein (1964).

They tied rakhi (sacred thread) on passers-by with the message of integration and unity. Promashree Mitra and Adrija Bagchi, in their early 20s, firmly asserted: “We all should understand the importance of strengthening the democratic spirit and live up to the values enshrined in our Constitution, promote cultural diversity and pluralistic culture of the country, and discard intolerance and hatred.”

According to the founder member of the theatre group and noted playwright, Partha Pratim Mitra, they mark the Raksha Bandhan festival on the thoughts of Tagore every year. “We reach out to the people every year through the occasion. We believe it is important to maintain Indianness and its culture based on the pluralistic society. At the same time we work on developing cultural orientation,” Mr Mitra said.

Another member, Sabyasachi Bagchi, said unity and integration was the need of the hour to thwart attempts of division. On the other hand, members of the Siliguri Writtick Natya Sanstha tied the rakhi on people with the urge to keep alive the tradition of communal harmony and brotherhood.

“People are concerned about the unrest, and there has been an atmosphere of intolerance and totalitarianism. Rabindranath Tagore had suggested laying stress on rakhi in order to infuse communal harmony among Indians during the British empire during the Banga Bhanga Movement. Brotherhood and amity are important in a world that is being ripped apart by intolerance. We are exhorting people to promote peace and unity and believe in communal harmony,” said the director of the group, Kushal Bose.

According to theatre activist Debaprasad Ghosh, the initiative and the message sent across by the young theatre activists held great meaning in today’s world.