To fight against untouchability and denial of entry into temples, a community of “outcaste” Dalit people founded a separate sect within Hinduism in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh over a century ago. It’s called Ramnami Samaj – “Ramnami” means one who bears the name of God Ram. As a statement that God doesn’t dwell in temples alone and that God’s essence is in his name, the members of the community tattooed the word “Ram” all over their bodies, from head to toe. Generations later, however, the community finds that the tattoo – which helps “higher” caste people identify them as Dalits – is facilitating the very discrimination that they hoped to counter with it.
In the video above, members of the community share their fears and frustrations.
Surabhi Singh works with StoriesAsia. She is a graduate from Indian Institute of Mass Communication in Delhi.