Brotherhood of Rakhi festival now protect the Mangrove of Sudarban
The word ‘Raksha Bandhan’ aks ‘Rakhi’ originated out of two words, ‘Raksha’ meaning providing a protection and ‘Bandhan’ meaning bond. Hence, the word ‘Raksha Bandhan’ refers to the bond of protection that is shared between two. In India, during the month of ‘Shravana’ it is a way of celebrating the pure, beautiful and strong bond of love that is shared between brothers and sisters by girls tying an inexpensive thread on the wrist of their brothers. However, this ritual is not restricted to only biological siblings nor is it celebrated on a fixed date every year. This year ‘Rakhi’ was celebrated on Sunday, 26 August 2018, by the people of ‘Sundarban’ in a unique manner for a great cause by tying strings on mangrove trees. In English, Sundarban means, beautiful forest. A commendable and beautiful reciprocal gesture indeed by the people to exhibit the deep bond they share with the mangroves, their protector from natural disasters.
May 25, 2009 was the day on which cyclone Aila unleashed its fury on West Bengal, unprecedented in recent history, showing no mercy even to one of the most vulnerable to Climate Change regions on the planet, ‘Sundarban’. Known the world over as the land of mangroves, rivers and tigers, it is also a home to over 6 Million people. It is imperative to state Alia is just one of many cyclones that the region is susceptible to. Hence, since 2010 Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS), has been instrumental in capacitating and empowering the communities of the region by educating them about the vital role of mangroves, which acts as a natural protective buffer against cyclones. As a result, NEWS with the help of the people of the region, has been has been able to reforest, conserve and protect the mangrove forest of Sundarban for the past 8 years.
It was heartening to witness over 300 people from the region taking part in this year’s Rakhi celebration, including Mr Bipin Parua the Panchayet Pradhan of Sagar block. A large number of the participants were women who belong to various women’s groups of the region.