Following the footsteps of Rabindranath Tagore, who started rakhi bandhan in West Bengal in 1905, Bangiyo Sakkhorota Praasar Samity (BSPS) on Saturday conducted rakhi bandhan programme in different parts of the state.
Talking to NewsClick, Rahul Majumdar, one of the organisers of BSPS, said that rakhi or the thread should be seen as a sign of harmony between all castes and religions. The organisation has demanded that every year, this day should be observed as the date of rakhi bandhan like in the past.
The programme is being conducted at a time when communal strife is ravaging the neighbouring Bangladesh and is done to promote harmonious relations between different groups, the BSPS said.
Apart from Kolkata and South 24 Parganas district, the programme was conducted in East and West Burdwan, East and West Medinipur district, Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, Jhargram, Bankura, Birbhum, Purulia, Murshidabad, and South Dinajpur districts.
Tagore started rakhi bandhan on October 16, 1905, protesting against the divide and rule policy of the then Viceroy, Lord Curzon. In 1905, Curzon had proposed banga bhanga or bifurcation of Bengal along religious lines.
Speaking at a programme at a bus stand in the South 24 Parganas district, Arindam Mukherjee, one of the state committee members of the organization and editor of Aksharpat Literary Magazine, highlighted that the fundamentalist forces in West Bengal as well as in neighbouring Bangladesh are trying to wreak havoc.
The only objective of both Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists is to divide and rule like the British imperialists, who used the tactics to divide people of the country to rule the Bengal provinces which had been a hotbed of freedom movement and allied activities, according to the BSPS.
News commentator Chayan Bhattacharya also spoke at the event and actor and playwright Gourinath Banerjee performed during the programme.
Musician Ajoy Saha played patriotic songs on his guitar at the programme.
Bikash De, state joint secretary of BSPS, highlighted that in 1905, the movement had blossomed under Tagore’s guidance against the proposed division of Bengal. Back then, Tagore bathed in the Ganges and in his water-soaked clothes, tied a knot of harmony on the hands of strangers in the area, which is now known as Chitpur Road.
He also went into the Nakhoda Masjid and tied the knot of harmony on the hand of the senior most Imam of the masjid, said De.