Leicester Prahalad Shakha, Samiti and Balagokulam Leicester Raksha Bandhan Utsav

On Sunday 27th August, Leicester’s Prahalad Shakha along with Leicester Samiti and Balagokulam celebrated an innovative Raksha Bandhan Utsav.

This utsav gave a deeper understanding and a modern context to our celebration.  We learnt that it is not just the siblings that give us protection, but a festival that symbolises the good relationship we hold with various people who fight for our well-being, like the British Army soldiers to the Police that protect us in our daily lives.

Special guests PCSO Russell Kirby, PCSO Kerenza Patecka, Shameer Mehta (RAF) and Vivek (British Army) shared their thoughts on this auspicious day.  Their experience showed that no matter gender, age, race or educational background that we can all contribute to protecting our community.  PCSO Russell Kirby explained how his role is reliant on us.  We soon realised that we need to help them help us.  Communication showed to be a key issue and that we as citizens play a key part in protecting our society.

Shameer Mehta, an aircraft engineer in the RAF and the Vice President of the Armed Forces Hindu Network (AFHN), gave us an insight from an Indian and a Hindu perspective.  He told us statistics showing how the numbers of Hindus is rising and he encouraged us all the think about joining.  He gave many benefits to joining the Armed Forces.  He even mentioned how they give very cheap accommodation!  Vivek reinforced these benefits and went on to say how time off is given for religious events and personal development.
After the utsav, we were encouraged to mingle with the special guests.  This more informal talk helped us interact and get personal experiences.  The funniest call that PCSO Kerenza Patecka received was regarding children being too excited at a park!  Although funny for the children listening, this made us realise not to mess around too much!

Finally, we all made our way outside and had a chance to dress up as police officers, play around in the Police car and get a selfie with the Police and Armed Forces personnel.  This proved to be very popular, especially when we found the siren button in the car!

Overall, it was an inspiring day that helped us engage with those that protect us on a daily basis and helped us to understand a deeper meaning to Raksha Bandhan.

Harsh Patel