They are the guardians of our nation, the protectors of our motherland. They stake their lives so that our country and the all of us are safe. It is because of the armed forces (the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force supported by the Indian Coast Guard and paramilitary organisations) that we are able to sleep peacefully every night.
The Border Security Force (BSF), a border guarding force of India, established on December 1, 1965, is charged with guarding India’s land border during peace time and preventing transnational crime. The BSF, the first line of defence, like other forces, has always shown bravery and courage and fulfilled its duties in safeguarding our nation from the enemies. On August 2, bringing alive the true spirit of Rakshabandhan, kids’ entertainment channel Nickelodeon, this year curated Surakshabandhan — a unique initiative celebrating the bravest heroes of the nation who guard the borders to ensure safety and security of each and every citizen.
A few days ahead of the festival, in an effort to pay tribute to the soldiers and show gratitude, Nickelodeon’s Surakshabandhan saw kids from the Prabhakar Senior Standard School, Amritsar along with the channels’ popular toons Dora and Shiva visiting the BSF jawans at the International Attari-Wagah Border and tied Rakhis on them to show love, respect and gratitude. This sent the message that just like the brave jawans protect us, the bond of Rakhi will keep them safe at the border and bring them longevity.
The force spends the entire year away from the families protecting the nation’s over 7,000 km land border. They miss most celebrations like Raksha Bandhan, Diwali, Dusshera, Baisakhi, Holi and so on, hence the presence of kids accompanied by Dora and Shiva brought radiant smiles on their faces and they felt as if they were surrounded by their families. Festivity, respect and selflessness was at full display as children along with the toons tied the symbolic Rakhi to the soldiers as a prelude to the iconic retreat ceremony, thus saluting their bravery, selflessness and relentless commitment to the country.
Not only were the soldiers extremely happy to receive this beautiful gift by children, even the children were proud to be a part of this ceremony and getting to meet the soldiers. Gurveer Singh, who studies in Class III, says he was totally excited about coming to see the border and soldiers who protect the country. “I am not tying them Rakhi because I am a boy but I am very happy that I got the opportunity to meet our heroes and also see our neighbours on the other side. I want to thank our soldiers who are not afraid to fight. They are so strong and I want to be like them,” adds Gurveer.
Around 10,000 people were present to witness the Rakhi and retreat ceremony which took place simultaneously with Pakistan. Adding to this, school children and many present in the audience also joined Dora and Shiva in the dance prior to the retreat ceremony. Through this initiative, the channel aims to create an awareness of the forces like the BSF and their contribution in helping the nation achieve its dreams while leading a safe and secure life with their families.
Gurpreet Kaur, a fifth grader who tied Rakhi to the jawans feels that it was one of the happiest days of her life. Says Gurpreet, “I have a lot of respect for army people as many of my uncles and my nanaji (grandfather) are also serving in the army. I know they miss their family and since Rakhi is such a special festival, I feel proud that I got a chance to bring smiles to their faces and for some moment make them feel close to their families. We all should respect our soldiers and be thankful for their service. This is the first time I have come to Wagah and I am really looking forward to the retreat parade.”
The event touched the hearts of each and every soldier at the border who eagerly participated in the celebrations. It was an eye-opener for the kids who drew inspiration from the true heroes of our country and realised their roles behind all our well-being. This Rakshabandhan let’s salute our protectors and thank them for making our lives safe and secure.