This post was written by Bhasmank Mehta, Posted on 4th March 2016,Updated on 12th September 2016
AKHIYANU, also known as Akshnu are a gift of items presented to a family priest along with other ‘helpers’ at the beginning of an auspicious event such as a Wedding. (often the head priest may bring along with him a group of juniors to assist him). The primary workers can be the cooks, cleaners; the organisers and so on are all honoured with some hand-outs to commemorate the said event.
This sort of behaviour is still very much alive and kicking in many parts of India as well as the Indian community abroad. Closer to home, here in the UK, we witness this exercise amongst people emanating from Southern Gujarat as well as those from other parts of the nation’s rural areas. Not necessarily with as much glamour but they most certainly show their appreciation. Regrettably, most parts of the remainder of Gujarat and those from ‘upper class’ urban areas have long forgotten this etiquette through lack of communication between generations.
During the mass emigration to places far from the homeland in Colonial times, many individuals and families from South Gujarat settled in Southern African States. These people are, even today, keeping this tradition alive. No in-house activity should commence prior to handing out the acknowledgements to those who have made, and will make, the event happen.
I, your very own Sanatan Hindu Priest, Bhasmank Mehta was trying hard to find a reason for this behaviour and its presence to this day. Then, it just dawned on me. I will try to explain this in simple terms:
Unlike many, when I am staying in a Hotel for a prolonged period, I realise that ‘tipping’ the individual waiting on me beforehand has far greater impact on the service I receive than to wait to the end. If I waited till the end, I am hardly likely to be able to rewind the clock and expect those special favours. Similarly … now here is an idea …
Do you wish that your forthcoming project / wedding / auspicious occasion runs as smoothly as a baby’s bottom? Do you pray that everyone involved will do their level best to make the event a memorable one? Well, do you not think that gifting these people will have just that effect exactly as you had been wishing for? So, there … believe it or not, this gift is not at the top of their – the helpers – minds.
The real reason is to appreciate how these people have helped since the announcement without so much as “that’s not in my job description!” and continue to ‘go that extra mile’ without a blink of an eye. Although this is the first gift before ‘raising of the curtains’, it actually is the last gift after much of the hard work that has been undertaken for the preparation leading to the actual event.
Appreciation … ahead of the event rather than at, or towards, the end, “I have this ready to hand it over to you at the end of the event but I fear, I may get busy with other issues. So, here, have it from now anyway!” All you need do is wait and watch the changes in attitudes – often for the better. If this article brings home the message, do please rate it accordingly and add your comments herein. You will never know just how much this means not only to me but to those following your footsteps. Thank you so much for taking time to visit this site. God bless.
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