Bhau-Beej (Bhai Dooj), the festival celebrated by Hindus on the last day of the five-day-long Diwali festival, has come under fire from both liberals and feminists alike.
Ms. Yana (M&M) Vettikkad, the self-proclaimed ‘World’s Most Committed Feminist’ said, “We object to the tradition of sisters being forced to invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal. Why can’t the brothers cook for the sisters for a change? The whole ceremony falsely signifies that it is the duty of a brother is to protect his sister and give her gifts or cash, in return for the sister’s blessings. Such patriarchal mindset denigrates the female child signifying that the girl child is both physically & fiscally weak that she has to depend on the male child to protect her and provide for her. Such male-dominated festivals should be banned in our society.”
Mumbai-based equal rights activist, Harry Shyer also voiced his objection to celebrating Bhau-Beej as a symbol of brother-sister relationship. “
In the He-She relationship of Bhau-Beej, the ‘He’ can’t be weak, as he has a responsibility to protect the ‘She’. The ‘She’ can’t be strong as she has to cook for the ‘He’. ‘He’, the macho being, is pressurized to be strong and this stress causes him to dominate the ‘She’ sexually leading to more rapes,” he added, “Only solution for the He-She problems is to openly accept He-He & She-She relationships in our society.”
Activist Kavya Krishnan, protesting outside JNU, also came down hard on the festival, saying, “There is no Hindu festival when a brother will pray for his sister’s long life. Isn’t this the best way to keep women society down & not to give her any chance to grow? Such Hindu practices encourage terror organisations like the RSS to propagate fake rumours of “love jihad”. Hence, Bhau-beej is another form of Slavery as it belittles our Sisters by forcing them to cook & we want to stop this practice of Brothers visiting their sisters for free food.”
Ex-Journalist Sarika Ghouse also seems to agree that Bhau-beej is a discriminatory practice.
“Bhau-beej festival is beautiful, and so is Rakshabandhan. but hope Hindu Brothers gift cash to their Muslim Sisters too!” she tweeted.