In the mid 19th century, the ‘divide and rule’ concept of the British went into the heads of many people in India. As a result of this, they stopped several sects from places of worship. Such a sect of people, according to Ramdas Lamb, is a continuation of the 15th-century Bhakti movement.

Image courtsey: wikipedia

The People of Ramnami, those who tattooed the name ‘Ram‘ on their embodiment ever since they’re banished from entering some villages and places of worship. A man named Parasuram in the 19th century started this sect as he wanted to show devotion to God and put people who follow the tyrants to shame. The sect includes, not only one cast of people as some think. People from various backgrounds were there in this movement.

Just because they’re tattooed doesn’t mean they’re primitive, they possess extraordinary philosophical side and consider The Ram as Formless, yet all forms, and they doesn’t need a temple for worship for their bodies are temples that the God dwells. This clearly emphasises that they’re a queer group to enslaved societies that they’re conveying a direct message to humanity that the body itself is a temple of the living God and that’s why they tattooed themselves only to convey this message to a society that lost its way to home.

The recent generation of this sect are not tattooed as of now that the banishment on them has been lifted up. Every year they gather in January at Sarsiwa village of Raipur District, Chattisgarh, during the three-day harvest festival and erect Jayosthambh (The Pillar of victory) with the name ‘Ram’ on its top. During this festival, the people here read Tulasidas’ Ramcharithmanas.

Viswanath Dasari

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