New Delhi– School-children tied rakhis on wrists of President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Raksha Bandhan as the festival marking affection between brothers and sisters was celebrated across the country with traditional enthusiasm and gaiety.
Women and children from various segments of society visited Modi at his residence and tied rakhis on his wrist. Among them were Sharbati Devi, a 103-year-old widow who lost her brother about 50 years ago and Pakistani-origin Qamar Mohsin Shaikh, who has been tying rakhi to Modi for the past 23 years.
Sharbati Devi had been missing her brother, specially on Rakhi, and her son wrote to Modi who invited the family to his residence on Raksha Bandhan.
Shaikh, who has been living in India for the past 35 years, travelled from Ahmedabad to tie the thread of sibling bonding on Modi’s wrist.
“I have been tying rakhi to Narendra Bhai for the last 23 years. I am extremely excited to be able to do it this time too,” Shaikh, who came to India from Pakistan after her marriage, told a news channel.
She got a call two days back from Modi and started preparing for Raksha Bandhan.
Shaikh said Modi spent a few seconds with each visitor who had come to greet him and tie rakhi, but “I was surprised and extremely happy that he spent more time with me”.
Schoolchildren and members of the Koli community tied rakhis on the wrist of President Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Children, attired in colourful traditional outfits as also in school uniform, greeted the President along with a delegation of 116 women and 27 men, representing the Gujarat Koli Samaj.
Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Manoj Bajpayee and Farah Khan wished their siblings and fans a year full of love and happiness on the occasion.
In Delhi, the occasion was observed with traditional fervour along with feasts and exchange of gifts.
Delhi Transport Corporation offered free rides to women from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while Delhi Metro ran additional trains to meet the demand on the festival day.
Heavy rains that lashed the city could not dampen the festive spirit and decked up shops could be seen selling rakhis, henna, bangles and sweets.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal celebrated the festival with school girls and a group of Brahma Kumaris who tied rakhis on his wrist.
In Punjab, women and girls from across the state, dressed in traditional, colourful attires, converged at the Attari check post along the international border with Pakistan and tied rakhis to the Border Security Force officers and troopers.
In Patna, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi on Monday tied rakhis to trees here and urged people to protect the state’s green cover.
Clad in his usual white cotton kurta-pyjama, Nitish Kumar said: “It is a symbolism to protect trees to increase the green cover. It is important for the environment.”
In Hyderabad, Telangana’s Industry and Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao received ‘rakhi’ and a helmet as gift from his sister and Parliament member K. Kavitha.
Kavitha, MP and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, through her social media campaigns ‘Sisters4Change’ and ‘GiftAHelmet’, had appealed to all sisters to gift a helmet on Rakhsha Bandhan for their brothers’ safety.
Voicing concern over death of 400 people in two-wheeler accidents every day across the country, Kavitha said it was because the riders don’t wear helmets.
Truebil, a verified virtual marketplace for pre-owned cars, unveiled a new digital film, #SafetyKiRakhi. The 3.07 minute long film highlights the importance of wearing a seat belt to the journey safe while also strengthening the brother-sister bond.