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INDIA-TATTOOS/WIDERIMAGE
RTX2205Z
12 Jan. 2016
Punai Bai, 75, a follower of Ramnami Samaj, who has... more
INDIA-TATTOOS/WIDERIMAGE
RTX2205Z
12 Jan. 2016
GORBA, India
Punai Bai, 75, a follower of Ramnami Samaj, who has tattooed the name of the Hindu god Ram on her entire body, sweeps outside her house at the village Gorba, in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh, India, November 16, 2015. Denied entry to temples and forced to use separate wells, low-caste Hindus in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh first tattooed their bodies and faces more than 100 years ago as an act of defiance and devotion. Ramnamis wrote the Hindu god Ram's name on their bodies as a message to higher-caste Indians that god was everywhere, regardless of a person's caste or social standing. While discrimination on class grounds has lessened and most young Ramnamis today avoid full-body tattoos, elderly devotees are still proud of the indelible message their bodies have carried for decades. Bai spent more than two weeks aged 18 having her body tattooed using dye made from mixing soot from a kerosene lamp with water. "God is for everybody, not just for one community," said Bai, who lives in a one-room house with her son, daughter-in law and two grandchildren. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi PICTURE 30 OF 31 - SEARCH "RAMNAMI" FOR ALL IMAGES
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