3rd August 2020, was celebrated as RakshaBandhan all over the country. But this year Rakhi was different as the Covid-19 pandemic continued with its march across the country.
Various types of social dimensions were seen during Raksha Bandhan amid times of coronavirus.
- Families didn’t have large gatherings.
- Lunch and dinner parties were held in small batches.
- Most people refrained from traveling to visit their families.
- Zoom and other video calling apps were used for celebrations.
- Rakhis and gifts were sent online.
The name “Raksha Bandhan” depicts the unsaid promise that siblings make to each other, to stand by them and protect them throughout their lives, come what may be. They promise to join in hands and fight against all odds together.
However this year, we feel the celebration of Rakhi goes way beyond mere protecting siblings and sharing sweets and gifts. This year it’s not confined to brothers and sisters. In fact this year it’s about protecting anyone and anything around us with utmost responsibility so that we can fight the pandemic together. Rakshabandhan can be a beautiful way to promote cultural and natural harmony.
Apart from safeguarding our children by keeping them indoors, engaged, and making sure they are not mentally affected by the COVID-19 news, we also need to share with them the experience and learning from the current crisis. We need to help them understand how important it is to protect humankind in totality.
Thus, let’s change the meaning of “Raksha” – Protection, this year
1. “Raksha” of Near & Dear ones: The current lockdown and restrictions have staggered our movement and we have to maintain social distancing with everyone. However, we can still be socially connected with our family and friends through the virtual world. There are many out there who are stuck alone in their house because of the sudden lockdown. A cousin in America who is a student and unable to come back to India. An elderly couple in a different state whose children couldn’t visit them due to the cancelation of flights.
They need us in this time of crisis, and by constantly checking on them we can protect their mental and social well being. Our children learn relationships and bonding when we teach them to safeguard their near and dear ones’ emotions.
2. Raksha” of our Environment: We have noticed a drastic change in our environment right after the nation-wide lockdown was announced. Birds chirping, clean and fresh air, almost no pollution, animals seen frequently in their habitats, etc. And this proved time and again, the need to “Protect” our “Mother Earth”.
- teaching environmental-friendly habits.
- asking to reduce plastic usage.
- help people understand the importance of recycling, reduce and reuse.
- encouraging each other to plant more saplings and nurture them.
- let children venture and enjoy nature.
When children learn to protect the environment from a young age, they are more likely to help protect our land for future generations to come.
3. “Raksha” of the voiceless animals and birds: We know that compassion is not just for fellow human beings but should also be for animals and birds. The pandemic situation has adversely affected them. With lesser people venturing out, there is no one to feed the stray dogs or cats. Also, the sudden lockdown has affected the smooth functioning of NGOs and animal welfare society due to a lack of volunteers and funding.
Thus we need to teach our children how we can directly or indirectly help these voiceless animals so that stray dogs, goats, cows, birds do not go hungry or thirsty in this period of lockdown. A small bowl in the balcony with seeds or water for the birds or feeding the stray animals with chapati or bread can be small acts of protection.
4. “Raksha” of the underprivileged: Yes! We may be lucky enough to have stayed indoors with all the basic facilities at our doorstep, a constant flow of income, and availability of all hygiene facilities. Unfortunately, not all of us are that lucky. We need to tell our children the plight of all those underprivileged people who are suffering mentally, physically, and financially due to the lockdown. Not only this, but we also need to encourage our children to come forward to help and protect the grief and sufferings of these people, in whatever little capacity they can.
We have seen children coming forward to donate their toys, their pocket money, food, and their clothes. This not only helps them be empathetic towards others but also creates a feeling of oneness.
5. “Raksha” of the frontline workers- who step out every day to save lives. The most important thing that our children should learn from this pandemic is the courage and valor with which our frontline workers are serving the country. Our health care staff are venturing out of their houses daily to serve the infected patients despite the risks involved. Our sanitation workers are working day and night to keep the city clean. Our police personnel are always on the move to ensure that no lockdown norms are broken.
So how do we teach our children to protect them? We need to let our children learn the value of their service and courage. We need to tell our children to stay indoors so that we are safe, and there are fewer people falling sick so that our health care workers’ burden is reduced. We can ask our children to share cold water with our sanitation workers who work in the scorching heat of summer (of course maintaining social distancing).
After all, they are saving our lives; hence their lives need to be protected.
6. “Raksha” of what we already have: Often we tend to overlook the things which we already have because it’s human tendency. But this pandemic has made us realize the worth of our lives, worth of our money, or even our environment where we live. Thus we need to teach our children gratitude and humbleness for what we are blessed with- the roof over our heads, the food on our plates, the good health we live with, the means to stay connected to our loved ones living far away and all that which is beyond material things. When you learn to respect them, you would want to protect it for the rest of your lives.
7. “Raksha” of humankind: Another positive outlook this pandemic has brought is how the entire humankind came together beyond caste, creed, gender, race, and nationality. Our children need to find strength in this.
Vega Schools believes in imparting values, which play a major role in a child’s holistic development. Contact us to know more about our methodology and pedagogy.