2020 / People / Culture


  • Photographer
    Brian Cassey

Maherttar Ram Tandon is a 'Ramnami' - a member of the small Hindu sect Ramnami Samaj in Chhattisgarh, India. Members of the sect are tattooed from the age of two with the Hindu text - Ram Ram - the name of their God Rama. Many, like Maherttar, had their entire bodies completely covered with the sacred tattoo text, making him ’Naksikh’. The practice dates back to a century when members of the low-caste 'untouchable' Hindu sect chose to tattoo their bodies as an act of rebellion against discrimination by higher castes. Maherttar is one of only five surviving ‘Naksikh’ with full body tattoos.