The festival of Raksha Bandhan has been prevalent in Indian society for centuries. The primordial tradition carried the essence of the beautiful virtues of love and care. However, in an inherently patriarchal society of the medieval times, ‘Rakhi’ came to be recognised as an occasion where women ceremoniously thank their brothers for being their eternal protectors or ‘Rakshak’. With time, the patriarchal undertone of the festival have faded, and Raksha Bandhan has evolved to be a celebration of the deep love between siblings.
At present times, women in India are no longer safe, continually being at the helm of sexual abuse, harassment and misdemeanour by the opposite sex. The notion of men being their protectors holds dated today, especially at a time when even male family members are not hesitating to abuse the girls and women in their families. The ongoing Me Too movement has given the necessary attention to the plight of the women survivors, who struggle with their trauma often for years.
Priyal, an artist and poet from Goa, decided to blend the age-old tradition together with the voice of the Indian woman. Thus was born the Me Too Rakhis – aimed to be a symbol of trust, empathy and a promise to put an end to the abuse.
No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank
The Me Too Bro campaign
The concept of Me Too Rakhis was birthed in 2018 and has evolved to a much larger scale this year. The star of the event is undoubtedly the Me Too Bro Rakhis – which sisters would tie around their brothers’ hands. The fundamental idea is to welcome the brothers to a gender-neutral platform for survivors of abuse. By donning the Me Too Bro Rakhi, a brother automatically vows to denounce the sense of ‘ownership’ of his sister, instead be an active supporter of her freedom and choices. At the same time, he ideally becomes integrated into the cohort of Me Too supporters, who condemn abuse in each and every form.