AN ANCIENT symbol of protection was given to Rugby’s firefighters by a local Hindu group.
Members of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Balgokulam visited Rugby Fire Station on Corporation Street to tie a Rakhi to the firefighters’ wrists as part of the festival of Rakhsha Bandhan.
The Rakhi, a simple but colourful thread traditionally tied to the brother by the sister, represents the community binding together and helping each other in times of need.
Children from the group were treated to a tour of the fire station and learned about the risky work the firefighters have to do.
The visit culminated in the distribution of chocolates, symbolising the group’s acknowledgement and respect for the immense sacrifices the fire services make for the community – and vowing to help if they are ever called upon. The firefighters were also presented with a scroll.
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Balgokulam – who undertake community projects such as painting parts of St Cross Hospital and raising money for a vein scanner – meet weekly for physical and mental exercises mixed with cultural values. Meetings are open for all to attend.
The scroll presented to the firefighters:
(Pronounced Ruck-shaa Bun-dun )
This Hindu Festival traditionally sees the sister tie a decorative string called a Rakhi (pronounced Raakhee) on the right-hand wrist of her brother. The brother in-turn takes a vow to love, protect and help the sister in times of need. The Sister also, feeds a sweet to the brother symbolising that their relationship will be joyous and full of fun.
Every year, we Hindus in Rugby take the opportunity to tie a Rakhi to the Mayor who represents the local community where we take a vow to serve in any capacity we can. Over the years, we have raised thousands of pounds for local causes and we even have a ‘Sewa Day’; a day specially dedicated to provide physical help to people or organisations that need it without expecting anything in return.
This year we want to share this wonderful meaningful festival with those who risk their lives daily for the protection of ordinary people, especially in these troubled times. Who can forget those Grenfell Tower firefighters who entered the ill-fated building with toxic fumes and falling debris so that they can save others or PC Keith Palmer who challenged the terrorist outside the Houses of Parliament. Had he not intervened, there could have been more bloodshed but he helped prevent an affront to democracy. We also remember the Ambulances that rushed to the Manchester attack scene from all corners of the country so that they can save the lives of those affected.
We want to imbibe those values in our young so that they can follow the example of the Taxi Drivers who took the concert goers to their homes without charging or like the homeless man who offered comfort to those injured in the blast or perhaps just someone who can cheer up lives of the less fortunate.
By tying this Rakhi to you, we are thanking you for all that you do for us and in turn, we are taking a vow to try and serve the community as you do and learn from all the immense contribution you make to make our lives safer.
There is a famous Hindu saying – Dharmo Rakshathee Rhakshithaa (‘by protecting our values, those values help protect us’).