Dishoom, the eateries styled on the old Irani cafes of Bombay, is honouring the festival of Raksha Bandhan, the special bond between siblings, at its cafes in London and Edinburgh.
Raksha Bandhan, which means ‘the knot of protection’, this year takes place on Monday 7 August. On this day, sisters tie a rakhi (thread) around their brothers’ wrists, binding them to each other with love.
In 1905, Rabindranath Tagore used it to unite the people of Bengal when the British sought to divide Hindus and Muslims for political ends.
In a show of solidarity, the people of Bengal took to the streets and tied rakhis on one another. The statement was clear: “Do not divide us. We are all brothers and sisters here. We stand up for each other.”
From 6 August to 8 August, pioneers of Indian and Irani inspired food, Dishoom, are giving their customers the gift of white rakhis in all their cafes. The white rakhis represent peace and compassion.
On their website, Dishoom wrote: “Around the world, barriers are being thrown up, rather than broken down. History attests that in times of uncertainty it is all too easy for peope to turn against one another.
“So, this Raksha Bandhan, we’d like to revive Rabindranath-ji’s tradition. We invite you to tie them on someone of a different faith, nationality or culture, as a knot of protection.
“Please do this. It is important and means a great deal. In this humble act we recall the sentiment of 1905: Do not divide us. We are all brothers and sisters here.”
The festival of Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bond between a brother and a sister. According to the Hindu legend, in order to protect the good people, Lord Krishna had killed the evil King Shishupal. During the battle, Krishna was left with a bleeding finger. Seeing this, Draupadi (Krishna’s sakhi – beloved friend) immediately tore off a strip of cloth from her sari and tied it around his wrist to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna was deeply touched by her concern, and declared himself bounded by her sisterly love, and in gratitude, vowed to protect Draupadi whenever she was in need.
For every rakhi that customers tie, Dishoom will donate £1 to Seeds of Peace, a peace-making charity that helps teenagers from conflict regions to learn the skills of making peace.
Seeds of Peace bring these young people together in leadership camps to share their experiences of the conflict, so they learn to see their true selves. They arrive expecting to meet the enemy, and leave with deep new friendships, which can literally bring peace.
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, and entertainments. Rosalind also works as a psychic, counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com