Go green this Raksha Bandhan

Yash Pal Sharma
Monsoon season is one of the most wonderful times of the year. Mesmerizing meadows, luxuriant greenery-clad mountains, breathtaking landscapes, sprouting springs and overflowing rivulets, and at times spectacular rainbows offering beautiful spectral delights are all fulfilling and feeding the soul. In fact, nature is at its best and entertaining. The God of Rains seems pretty happy this year showering heavenly drizzle on us all, almost every day and everywhere. It’s time to cheer up and grow. Amidst croaking frogs and musical symphony of crickets following rains, all plants and flowers also seem to be at cloud nine when the downpour is gently and softly caressing the leaves, kissing the flowers, and slipping away quietly and quickly. It’s pure bliss!
While the incredibly beautiful monsoon continues to satiate the prolonging thirst of the planet earth, the festival season is also around the corner. With the festival of Raksha Bandhan falling on the 11th of August, India celebrating its 75th year of Independence Day on August 15 followed by the Krishna Janmashtami on 19th August 2022, the moods are upbeat and the spirits are high. Moreover, the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign under the aegis of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav has further invoked the feeling of patriotism in the hearts of Indians and strengthened our resolve to nation-building and harmony amongst each other.
The Festival of Raksha Bandhan (Bond of Protection), as you know, is a much-awaited celebration marked by the ceremony of sisters tying the thread of ‘Raksha’ (Protection) and ‘Bandhan’ (bond of love), called the Rakhis, onto their brother’s wrists. With more social awareness, more school children and non-governmental organizations also tie Rakhis to soldiers, orphans, and senior citizens in old age homes. In return, an assured gift is due for the sister. So, if you are wondering how you celebrate Raksha Bandhan, besides rituals it’s a glorious opportunity to connect with Nature.
Talk passionately about the flowers may they be roses, tuberoses, lilies, carnations, gerberas, gladioli, etc. Flowers are the divine creations that help in soothing all senses and help co-ordinate mind, body, and soul. They blossom with different colours depicting admiration, endearment, and love. Your thoughtful gift of planting saplings this Raksha Bandhan can turn into multiple joys forever. While material gifts of eatables, perfumes, electronics, etc. may lose value over time, the passion and love of plants and flowers would always bloom, eternally.
I am witness to the unique way of celebrating Raksha Bandhan by the students of the Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu where they tie Rakhis to trees to send the message of saving the environment and making people aware of the heritage, food, medicinal, and aesthetic value of plants in daily lives. What an incredible way to show affection and endearment towards protecting the silent protectors of Humanity, and conserving nature and its resources for cleaner, greener and healthier environments! We all together can begin this way, this Raksha Bandhan!
Treading on the path of righteousness, with everything working out in perfect timing, blessed life, intentions right, and mind driven to do well, let us all pledge to revive our good traditions of socio-cultural togetherness, save the environment for posterity, and reinforce the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, ‘the World is One Family’, and the universal peace. Let us all celebrate and dedicate our Raksha Bandhan to a stronger and more secure India! I am reminded of an evergreen melody Aao Mil Jayen Hum Sugandh aur Suman ki Tarah!
(The author is Professor Department of Botany University of Jammu, Jammu)