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Rakshabandhan at Kashmir! Pune women celebrate festival with brothers at valley, thanks to Indian army

5 min read

Jammu: India is a culture rich land woven with love across religion, cultures, states, beliefs and languages. Raksha Bandhan is a special festival celebrated in most parts of India. It marks the bond of everlasting love and protection between brothers and sisters.

Unlike rest of India where this festival is celebrated with overflowing emotions, the UT of Jammu and Kashmir are starved for such a celebration.

However, unlike before this year Raksha Bandhan was celebrated for the first time on the soil of Kashmir when few young ladies from Pune decided to celebrate the hallowed and sacred festival of Raksha Bandhan with their Kashmiri brothers. Celebrations were carried out with full zeal and vigor in the mesmerizing villages of Machhal, Pushwari, Katwar and Dabpal from August 19 to 22.

Rakshabandhan at Machhal valley in Kashmir (photos above and bottom)

The event was coordinated by the Indian Army at Machhal valley under the vision of Col Pranay Pawar.

The grand success is credited to the initiative of a few young ladies who volunteered to come forward for such a noble cause.

Gauri Hemant Kinikar, along with her mother Sadhana Kinikar, her sister Shatakshi Kinikar and two of her colleagues, Shivani Joshi and Saie Nandukar from Law College, Pune, participated in this event.

They celebrated the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan not only with their Fauji brothers but also with their Kashmiri brothers.

The decision of Gauri Kinikar and her colleagues to come to a far-flung area for such a noble cause was not an easy one. Highly motivated defense aspirants, these young ladies worked day and night to gather funds through fund raising and launched online campaigns for this noble cause.

It was heartening to know that the campaign was oversubscribed and a large number of people from Maharashtra and from across India volunteered and contributed to their campaign.

The celebrations were conducted on a large scale in Machhal village in the presence of eminent Civil dignitaries, Army officers, local heads and villagers. The event culminated with the Raksha Bandhan celebrations at Machhal garrison on August 22 where a large number of local youth as well as Army personnel participated in the event.

The very scene of these young sisters typing the sacred Rakhis to their Kashmiri brothers was eye alluring and overwhelming. The celebrations witnessed a large proportion of local youth as well as Army personnel with moist eyes and high emotions.

When asked about the source behind their motivation for such an event, Kinikar proudly said that she feels that her Kashmiri brothers need to know more about the country and make them feel a part of this great nation.

Shatakshi said that she is so glad to see the kind of inquisitiveness portrayed by the young girls of Machhal valley towards progression and self-awareness amongst them.

Sadhana was overwhelmed with tears seeing her daughters tying Rakhis to Kashmir brothers and Army personnel. “I am so proud to be the mother of the girls who have come up with such an initiative and the bold attitude exhibited in doing this event”, she replied.

Events like these will work as a catalyst to further bridge the gap between Kashmiris and rest of the Indians post abrogation.

“I miss my sister and the celebrations we have at home, but I’m glad and cheerful to have our young sisters who came all the way from Pune to tie the Rakhi, reminding me of my sister tying the Rakhi to me” said one of the soldiers who was in tears as he is overwhelmed with emotions as they tie Rakhi to him on the eve of Raksha Bandhan.

The villagers of Machhal, Pushwari, Katwar and Dabpal were full of awe and curiosity witnessing such an activity in Machhal valley. They displayed full enthusiasm to participate in this event and accept the greetings of sisters who had travelled from far to their hometown to tie the Rakhi. This is for the first time that a group of girls have come to celebrate Raksha Bandhan with Kashmiri brothers.

“This is an emotional moment; we are so delighted with our sisters coming all the way from Pune to our villages and are overwhelmed as this is the first time such a noble gesture has been shown to us in our village. We are so proud to be part of this great nation” said the Sarpanch of Machhal village.

The villages later invited the girls to their home for tea and for a meaningful interaction. The young girls of Machhal village were very inquisitive to see their elder sisters tying Rakhi to the Kashmiri brothers, and followed suit rendering a hand in performing this sweet gesture.

The young girls from village also interacted with them and the discussion will surely help them to understand the good deeds which will come in hand for their future endeavors. Such events hold an emotional touch wherein the sentinels of our nation are being greeted with Rakhi and sweets which explicitly increases their morale and feeling of oneness.

An interesting twist to the tale was the engrossing journey of the ecofriendly Rakhis, travelling from the southern tip of Virudhnagar village in the interiors of Tamil Nadu where they were handcrafted using paper quill, with the Army logos for our soldiers provided by PariJai Genus to Bangalore.

The reach of the Rakhis delivered on time being high priority, they were packed and first landed at the postal service at The Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore then moved again to be put on a fast track to Pune by road to reach the Kinikar sisters whose flight cancelled was preponed and with little time left for the Rakhis to reach. Where there’s a will there’s a way they say.

With the airport in Pune away from the city the Rakhis were dunzoed to the Kinikar sisters on time to be carried to our soldiers.

The excitement, commitment and patriotic spirit of Ekta Bansal and Seema Sheriff of PariJai Genus along with Col.Pawar’s good intent made this possible. Anything we can do for our soldiers is always the least and we are full of gratitude is what Seema Sheriff has to say.

The event holds special significance, especially on the eve of completion of two years of abrogation of Article 370. Many think tanks especially our adversaries were predicting a different outcome of the decision of abrogation of Article 370, however the situation has turned out to be completely the opposite.

Kashmir right now is in the cross-road, where the most convenient and reasonable path for the Kashmiris would be to embrace this nation as their own.

Abrogation of Article 370 has proved to be a revolutionary step in bringing the Kashmiris closer to mainstream India. A perfect example was the recent active participation of local populace in Independence Day celebrations and the most recent of the Raksha Bandhan Celebrations.

Each Rakhi tied to the wrists of these brothers amplifies the love and bonding between Indians across states. The promise to keep the nation safe is strengthened for soldiers with Rakhi shining beneath their weapons.

– Team Mysoorunews

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