Feast of the Protection Knot
Every year on a particular date in India, specifically the Northern States this feast of brother-sister relationship is celebrated. The Sister ties a decorated thread on the wrist of the brother and puts a piece of sweet in his mouth and the brother gives some gift to the sister and pledges to care and protect her. This feast evokes sentiments of love and protection and strengthens the brother-sister bond.
After 40 of us finished our celebration the police informed us that they were able to visit the children. We were happy because it will mean support for our girls. As it is, most everyone stays away from the police for various reasons. And our organization frequently ‘disturbs’ the leisurely life of the police especially the false legal cases they impose upon the poor. Yet there is a good rapport between us, one reason is that we give our place free of charge to house their women detainees whenever needs arise, also do follow up/rehabilitation. (Chatra has no ‘shelter home’ for women)
And so the police captain came with his entourage, the T.V cameras, and a few newspaper reporters. They ensured that the woman police officer be with them. (They were visiting an all-female ‘department’!) The girls were invited to tie the decorated thread on each police- 9 in all, and also on the woman officer! The children gave a sweet to each one and in turn, received a small amount of cash gift.
They were in a relaxed mood, tried to establish a friendship, and listened to the stories of the girls. The officer gave in writing his telephone numbers and urged the children to use it whenever they were in trouble. He invited them to visit him in his office for any need.
Joel Urumpil, SCN