**Kendrapada:** When stray incidents of threat to communal harmony fuelled by the evil designs of vested interests are being reported even in our country of unity in diversity, a village in the district here having a thick Muslim population in comparison to the Hindu counterparts set an example of emboldening further the bond of brotherhood and national integration on the auspicious occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
Girls of both the communities exchanged ‘rakhis’ (the sacred and sturdy thread of love and affection between a sister and a brother) with their brethren of other communities irrespective of age group and social status, and took the solemn pledge of peaceful co-existence as well as protecting each other at the hours of need.
The exemplary village is Balia under the Sadar Police limits and 7 km away from the district headquarters town here.
A meeting of both the communities was convened on the eve of Raksha Bandhan to begin the custom from this year onwards.
Notably, the entire village has been celebrating Id and Rajo festivals together irrespective of their caste, creed and religion since long. Celebration of Raksha Bandhan has further added kudos to their already existing peaceful co-existence and the great sense of universal brotherhood.
The educative-cum-emotive celebration of mass Raksha Bandhan was organised by the local Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir School under the initiative of the Balia Bazaar Committee.
Going by such a wise decision and vision, the nondescript village of Odisha sends a loud and clear message: “United we stand divided we fall”.
Long live the spirit of oneness!