Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Raksha Bandhan. In fact, my sister tied the thread of love even today. But what I really want to say goodbye to is the idea associated with this festival.

My sister has always tied a thread on my hand since we were kids. That time, I never understood the meaning of protection. While growing up, I thought it means to take a position of a “saviour” for my sister. We did not live in a metropolis and life in our part of the world had different meanings for most of the words Indian culture boasts about.

Protecting meant taking a patriarchal stand and not allowing the sister to enjoy her life.

Protecting meant she cannot talk to any other man. She cannot have “male-friends”. And yes, if any other male tries to befriend her, a brother was supposed to be the biggest villain in the process. I was glad to be disillusioned about this form of protection in the early years of my life.

But sadly, many sisters face this problem. I am sure all the sisters who were murdered by their own brothers in the name of honor, must have wished their “brothers” to be lesser protectors.

Hear me out. I love Indian culture. I love how colourful and energetic it is. But I want to stay away from all the jingoism, which few people, who have a conservative understanding of everything, have created.

I do feel the word “protecting” must be done away with. There is no need to protect anyone. You just need to stand by people in their struggle. The idea of Raksha Bandhan is ages old. Things have evolved, and we also need to move ahead with time. We live in the era in which we are fighting for women empowerment in every field.

Women do not need protection from men. They are capable of it themselves.

I believe this is what the first step needs to be. We simply need to stand by our sisters in their struggle, just like they stand by us in our struggle. We all are supermen and superwomen. Do we need to prove this every day? I guess not. And with the kind of suffocation that our society creates, I am sure our sisters only want to be free. Why not let them do what they want to, just like they have always allowed us to do what we wanted to?

Brothers, may be we need to be less than the ideal “brother”. How about being friends with your sisters?

This article has been written by theatre personality Nihal Parashar.