The custom of tattoos in india
There are many theories/ myths about how tattooing started in India but no actual proof on who or how it started."The members of the Ramnami community, who call themselves Ramupasaks, began their journey during the Hindu reformist movement of the 19th Century. The origin of the Ramnami customs isn’t set in stone; a community of mostly illiterate people, they followed an oral tradition to pass down their beliefs and practices.
Some say that the Ramnamis would tattoo the name of Lord Ram on every possible part of the body, even their eyelids, tongue and inside of their lips, to ward off physical attacks from angry Brahmins who were aggravated by the self initiation of the ‘polluted’ low caste into their holy religion. The Brahmins couldn’t defile and disrespect the name of their Lord.
Others draw the tattooing tradition back to Parasurama, the man who is said to be the founder of the movement. Afflicted by what he believed to be leprosy, the ‘untouchable’ man separated himself from his family and the community, in fear of infection, and relocated deep into a forest.
Even though he wasn’t formally allowed access to the religious practice, he was still a devoted Hindu. It is said, and believed, that he cured himself of leprosy when he etched Rams name onto his body."
"All generations of Ramnamis still come together at the ‘Bade Bhajan Ka Mela‘, an annual celebration that takes place on the banks of the River Mahanadi, in December-January. They pray, read from a copy of the Ramayan, sing Ram bhajans and dance to the praises of Ram. Those who don’t have the Ram tattoos on them, wrap themselves in the Ram odhnis. The Ramnamis are gentle folk, maintaining neither temple nor any idols.
It’s understood and accepted by all members that there is no obligation for the younger generation to become devotees like them, and follow their practices, including the tattoos. These visible symbols of devotion is now seen as an obstacle; what was once done with pride to stand out and make a point, is now considered standing out in a manner that will hinder their life.
Many younger Ramnamis have little to no tattoos."I find it comforting to know that society's can understand and accept that there is no obligation for the younger generations to become devotees like the older generations.In some religions the younger generations are looked down upon if they don't believe a certain way or follow in the footsteps of their parents. It's like how us as Americans don’t push a certain religion on anybody we are allowed to be whatever religion we want as long as it doesn't harm others.