Now Reading
In The Name of Ram | Tattoo-Rebellion Brings No Respite for Dalits in Central India

In The Name of Ram | Tattoo-Rebellion Brings No Respite for Dalits in Central India

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.

StoriesAsia, a collective of independent journalists from 16 South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, seeks to replace the present-day parade of faceless numbers with humanising narrative nonfiction – a largely ignored journalistic genre in the region.

© 2018-2020 StoriesAsia. All Rights Reserved.