Hindu youth groups provide the bonds for peace and social harmony

Members of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh UK (HSS UK) – Chelmsford branch, a local Hindu youth groups celebrated the annual Hindu cultural festival of Raksha Bandhan in a unique way with various emergency services of Chelmsford, Essex. The volunteers met the firefighters, NHS staff at Broomfield hospital and Community police in Chelmsford during August and Sept 2019.

Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival traditionally has been explained as the marking the respect and affection between brothers and sisters. Raksha means protection, Bandhan means bond. On this day, traditionally, sisters tie a colorful ‘Rakhi’ (sacred thread) on the wrists of their brothers. Sisters believe that this will bring success, peace, and good health to their brothers throughout the year. Brothers on their part take a vow to protect their sisters, and as a symbol of their love give gifts to their sisters.

As with much of Hindu philosophy it is the symbolism that is everlasting if articulated appropriately and HSS UK has been at the forefront of articulating the values symbolized in a modern and practical way. This year therefore they articulated the Raksha Bandhan theme of mutual respect and protection by tying Rakhis to the brave firefighters, Community police and NHS staff.

As a HSS UK volunteer explained at Chelmsford, “In broadening the concept, the festival also celebrates those values we know to be exemplified by our Emergency Services personnel. People who step out each and every day, with the sole intent to serve and protect the lives of citizens, us. This year, like every year before it, the work of our emergency services teams stands out as beacons of hope for us all, for the good in our societies, and as role models for our generations to follow.

Volunteers extend the ethos of this festival by tying Rakhi personally to the Fire fighters, Community police and NHS Staff to say BIG thanks to them. In turn, they took a vow to try to serve the community as fire fighters do and learn from all the immense contribution they make, to make our lives safer. Hindu group volunteers believe this celebration helps in binding the community together in love and affection.

Paul Mayes – the Crew Manager of Chelmsford Fire station said that this was a first for him and commented “This is a unique festival which is new to us at the Fire station but it demonstrates how Hindus in UK are working cohesively in promoting peace and harmony in the wider society and festivals such as Raksha Bandhan remind everyone of the true spirit of service and sacrifice for the welfare of the society we live in.” he continued “ the ethos of Unity in Strength and Diversity which the HSS UK volunteers emphasized today is one which the emergency services would hope is promoted throughout society and is one that is at core of their work in the emergency services. If the community works together with us then there will be a lot less issues even when emergencies arise.

HSS UK has been promoting the fact that this festival symbolises the basic element of an amicable and harmonious social life where all members of the society look upon themselves as brothers and sisters. It reflects the great Hindu belief of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the whole world is one family).