Bengal Congress leader says Tagore introduced Raksha Bandhan

Bengal Congress leader says Tagore introduced Raksha Bandhan

On 31st August 2023, Kamru Choudhury – a Congress leader from West Bengal – posted from his X (formerly Twitter) handle that the festival of Raksha Bandhan was introduced by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. He claimed that the Raksha Bandhan festival started in India when Rabindranath Tagore initiated it to enhance the brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims in India after the Partition of Bengal.

Kamru Chowdhury posted, “Raksha Bandhan was introduced by Kavi Guru Rabindranath Tagore as a message of Universal Brotherhood between Hindus and Muslims after the Partition of Bengal. Why is Kanoongo Gaslighting?”

Kamru Chowdhury posted this in response to Anand Ranganathan’s post wherein he quoted the letter written by the NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) chairman Priyank Kanoongo to the states to make sure that no students in any school get harassed for wearing Rakhi on their hands during Raksha Bandhan festival. Anand Ranganathan wrote, “The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has written to all States to make sure children are not beaten, harassed, discriminated against, or subjected to corporal punishment on account of wearing a Rakhi during Raksha Bandhan celebrations. This is India in 2023.” Kamru Chowdhury’s remarks about Raksha Bandhan came in response to this post by Anand Ranganathan.

What did the NCPCR chairman say in his letter?

NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo said in his letter, “Over the years, it has been observed by the Commission through various news reports that children are subject to harassment and discrimination by the school teachers and other staff on account of the celebration of festivals. It has been noticed that schools do not allow children to wear rakhi, tilak or mehendi in schools during the festival of Raksha Bandhan and subject them to harassment, both physical and mental. It may be noted that corporal punishment is prohibited in schools under Section 17 of the RTE Act, 2009.”

He added, “Therefore, it is requested to issue necessary directions to the concerned authorities and ensure that schools do not observe any such practice that may expose children to corporal punishment or discrimination.”

It is notable that in many schools – especially the ones run by Christian missionaries – Hindu students are not allowed to wear Rakhi on their hands or apply tilak on their foreheads. In one such incident that recently took place in Bareilly, the teacher in the Holy Family Convent School cut the Rakhi and Kalava tied on the hands of Hindu students with scissors saying that ‘Hinduism shall not be preached here’. While Anand Ranganathan welcomed the initiative by the NCPCR chairman to guide the states to ensure that no such discrimination takes place, Kamru Choudhury came up with his bizarre claims that the festival of Raksha Bandhan was introduced by Rabindranath Tagore during the freedom struggle to strengthen the ties between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

In fact, the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan has been celebrated for the last thousands of years. References and mentions of Raksha Bandhan are seen in Hindu epics like Ramayan and Mahabharat. It is also described in multiple Puranas. Celebration of Raksha Bandhan is therefore a purely Hindu religious practice. But Kamru Choudhury propagated from his X handle that Rabindranath Tagore started this festival to promote Hindu-Muslim unity and brotherhood during the partition of Bengal.

Raksha Bandhan and Partition of Bengal

It is notable that Raksha Bandhan is a religious practice, it was also used as a tool during the first partition of Bengal in 1905 to showcase harmony and brotherhood among Hindus and Muslims. The partition of Bengal was declared on 20 July 1905. The order of partition was passed in August 1905 and came into effect on October 16, 1905. When the partition of Bengal was declared, it was the month of Shravan according to the Hindu Calendar. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day of this month. Rabindranath Tagore was leading the protest against this decision of the British government. He appealed to people that on 16th October 1905 when this partition will be implemented, Raksha Bandhan be celebrated. He urged Hindus and Muslims to tie rakhis on each other’s wrists to express harmony and solidarity among each other.

Rabindranath Tagore made this appeal to the people because the partition of Bengal by the British viceroy Curzon was a decision taken to broaden the differences in the Indian people along religious lines. Largely influenced by religious considerations, Curzon instigated the partition of Bengal. This decision was made after a meeting held in Assam in June 1905, where viceroy Curzon engaged with a Muslim delegation that asserted the notion of establishing a distinct state to preserve their distinct identity.

Curzon then separated the east Bengal, Assam and Sylhet regions predominantly inhabited by Muslims from the west Bengal, Bihar and Odisha regions which had a Hindu majority. Inspired by Tagore’s appeal, numerous Hindus and Muslims from Kolkata, Dhaka, and Sylhet – who were against the partition – came ahead to tie Rakhis to each other to protest the partition of Bengal.

What Tagore did was a symbolic use of a Hindu festival against the decision of the British government. But Kamru Choudhury has now claimed that Rabindranath Tagore introduced the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Moreover, the NCPCR letter is asking schools not to punish students for wearing rakhi, which is a fact and several such incidents have been seen in many schools. But the Congress leader jumped in to claim that Tagore introduced the festival to promote Hindu-Muslim brotherhood and asked why the NCPCR chief was gaslighting, which makes no sense as the child rights body has not said anything against any religion.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *