The glittering threads of rakhi providing a kaleidoscopic walk through the local markets in many parts of India are an indication that the preparation for Rakshabandhan is on. The traditional meaning of the name suggests that it is symbolic of an eternal vow that stands for protection and security that a brother takes for his sister, consanguineous or unrelated. India is changing, Indian women are changing but has the perception changed?
Indian women, who walk through all spheres of life, endure just like men and sometimes even more with great aplomb, are brought up on the premise that they are physically weak and need male security. This seed developed into patriarchy many eons ago and has rooted deep into our belief system. Girls are typically viewed as those who need to be warded against the evils of the society without understanding that this thought in itself is evil. A lot of chatter today is about equipping women with skills to help them fight off the threats and educating them well so that they chart a path of their own. Noble thought, but it is time for them to go one step ahead. It is time for them to prepare to take charge of not just their lives but also those who need protection. It is always the son who is looked up to for handling responsibilities. It is no longer about “not being the weaker sex” but about emerging as the stronger one. Family is the first and the strongest school. Different sex siblings, irrespective of who the first born is, may be brought up with equal love. But due to societal pressures even parents sometimes give into patriarchy ultimately and unknowingly make the girl feel the need for security from the male members of the family. To break the shackles of parochialism is not an easy task especially in the rural areas where the norms are the rule of the land. We understand this as most of our weavers are from villages and at Jaipur Rugs, we don’t just get to know our weavers but also get to live their anxieties and joys. It is through our deep association with each of them that we came across Paachi and her determination to take care of her family.
Paachi Kumari is a young weaver from Rajasthan, who was brought up well by her father after her mother’s demise on a belief that women are not only independent but also pillars of strength and protection. She is an elder sister to a brother whose mental health deteriorated when he suffered an illness. She realized her responsibilities early and learnt the art of weaving. This helped her become a member of Jaipur Rugs which fueled her ambition of self sustenance and financial empowerment, earning her a life of dignity for her family. This rakshabandhan, she vows to protect and take care of her brother and give him whatever she can instead of taking anything from him. It is this wave of change that is an achievement for us, that our work culture inspires our weavers to think different and break stereotypes. For us this is true innovation. We think that the true essence of Rakshabandhan was presented to us by one of our own. We feel Paachi’s message should reach every Indian so that every individual especially women look at life as a string of one’s own decisions and not those that are coerced by the society.
Breaking stereotypes of Rakhi
Much like our rugs, our weavers weave their life story with us growing knot by knot, inch by inch. It is these lives that we celebrate on every occasion for they help us understand the true meaning of festivities.
Celebrating inspirational brother–sister bonhomie, saluting sisters like Paachi and the spirit of womanhood this Rakshabandhan.