Though Raksha Bandhan is mainly a celebration between siblings of the opposite sex, over the years this has extended even to those people who are not biologically related as siblings. In fact, it has taken much broader perspective. Raksha Bandhan has come to symbolize the close bond of love, cooperation and togetherness between people.
An interesting example of this practice comes from Indian's struggle
for freedom. During the Swadeshi movement, the great poet Ravindranath
Tagore organized the Rakhi tying ceremony between the Hindus and the
Muslims to show solidarity and brotherhood against the partition of the
province of Bengal. Another example of tying Rakhi is evident from our
immediate political surroundings when on the day of Raksha bandhan,
women and children tie this sacred bond on the wrists of important
dignitaries like the PM and the President.
Another modern and a great facet of Raksha Bandhan is the practice of
sending Rakhis to the Indian soldiers. During war days, this practice of
tying and sending Rakhis to the Indian soldiers becomes more intense.
This was very much visible during the Kargil war when womenfolk sent
this sacred thread of Rakhi to the brave soldiers. The concept of Raksha
Bandhan has become wider and Rakhi is tied to anybody whom a girl wants
to be a sister or brother or even a friend. These days, on the
auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan, girls and children visit
orphanages and prisons to tie Rakhi to the inmates. This is an emotional
and humanitarian approach towards humanity, which the threads of Rakhi
very well bind.
Though Rakhi is celebrated to commemorate the sibling bond and love, yet Raksha Bandhan has much broader significance and meaning.