Priyal Woodpecker, a poet, seeks more involvement by brothers in creating a safe world for women with her ‘Me Too Bro’ campaign
Christine Machado | NT BUZZ
When young poet Priyal Woodpecker first heard about the Chennai gang rape of an 11-year old, she was filled with rage and decided to pour out her feelings into a short poem. Just as she got done, she received a phone call from home, asking whether she would be back for Raksha Bandhan. And that struck her. While the festival is celebrated with all its traditional fervour where sisters ask their brothers to love and protect them from all evil, how safe does a girl feel today with lecherous men all around and how confident does she feel in confiding these fears to her brother in the hope that he will protect her?
With the #MeToo campaign growing in strength all over the world, Priyal decided to come out with Me Too Bro initiative with specially made rakhis carrying this message. In this way, when the sister ties this rakhi to her brother, she is in a way reminding him of how commonplace women abuse has become today, that she too has been a victim at some level, and is requesting him to take it upon himself to try and bring about a change and help build a world that is equally safe for both men and women. “Unless we take Raksha Bandhan to its original dimension of love and care, it is an outdated idea,” she writes in the note that comes along with the rakhi.
Priyal also condemns how in some cases honour killing has become the most extreme but apt idea of where this notion of protection finally leads to today. “For anything to be sacred, it has to be free of violence,” she writes.
With the aim of making it more regionalised so that more women can identify with it, Priyal has also translated the message into Hindi with some of the rakhis reading ‘Mein Bhi’.
And these Me Too rakhis were first introduced at 91 Springboard Panaji recently where Priyal was seen in conversation with Miriam Koshy Sukhija. And among a few others, the talk saw audience member Gargi giving her opinion about these rakhis. Speaking about how she mostly felt like a spectator to the whole #metoo campaign, Gargi revealed that these rakhis made her question if she was ready to say ‘me too’. And while she has purchased a Me Too rakhi, she confesses that while she loves the idea, she isn’t sure whether she will have the courage to use it.
The Me Too rakhis will be available at 91 Springboard, Panaji; Cafe Carasid, Panaji; Cafe Basil, Panaji; Museum of Goa, Pilerne; People Tree, Assagao; Rocket Burgers, Anjuna; Cream Choc Gelato Ice Cream Parlour, Anjuna; Saraya, Sangolda; Artisan Backerei, Calangute and Orchard Stores, Anjuna.
Some history about Raksha Bandhan
Ramesh Savaikar I NT NETWORK
Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is one of the most popular festivals in India celebrated on Shravan Purnima by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. Though its origin varies today it signifies a bond of protection between a brother and a sister.
This year Raksha Bandhan coincides with the festival of Narali Purnima. The festival has been prevalent since the Indus Valley Civilisation about 6000 years ago. With India being so diverse the celebration of Raksha Bandhan varies from place to place.
According to Hindu scriptures, when the Demons or Asuras were waging a war against the King of Gods, Indra, his wife Indrani tied a sacred yellow thread around his wrist. Fortified by his protection, Indra went on to fight and win the war with Asuras. The story of Rani Karnavati who sent Emperor Humayun a rakhi to seek protection of Chittor against Bahadur Shah – the Sultan of Gujarat, is one of the most famous stories. Draupadi had tied a rakhi around the wrist of Lord Krishna who always protected her.
During the historic period there existed a tradition, where a rakhi was tied around wrist of the king by the raj purohita (priest performing rituals and chanting mantras). This tradition was passed on to people and is thus followed.
In present times, on this day a sister ties the sacred thread around the right wrist of her brother’s hand praying for his long life, while the brother vows to protect his sister. The Rakhi now is also symbolic of a bond of friendship and good will towards all.