Sporting a new faith

Sporting a new faith

For once, the religious symbols appear to have outgrown their religion. And the barrier has been broken by the young, who, in their pursuit of looking uber cool, are sporting any religious symbol that come their way even though they never subscribe to the creed.
It is all about transforming into cool, trendy individuals and grabbing a lot of attention. There are instances where one boy would sport the cross, the symbol Om and the Punjabi Kada and yet not belong to any of these religions.

Nouman Kalladathu, a content writer with a software company, is a practising Muslim. But he sports a stylish cross around his neck, wears t-shirts with Om and Sanskrit shlokas printed all over. “I think it’s a good way to get noticed and perhaps start a trend. When people ask me why I am wearing a cross although I am a Muslim, I say to them that religion is not the issue, the symbol just looks cool so I sport it,” says Nouman.

Sumit Dikshit, an IT professional, likes to be different. He wears a ring embedded with a design, made of hair from the horses’s tail. This was gifted to Sumit by his mother who believes this ring helps ward off evil eyes. “I also bought a silver chain with a cross as I thought it looked different. It’s good to start something and have others follow suit,” reasons Sumit.

Ashish K Limbu, a techie, says he keeps changing his fashion, be it clothes, shoes or accessories, according to the style in the market. “I found a silver chain with a cross and later I picked up a ring with a stone embedded in it. It was attractive because it had Om written on it. I even had a locket with Om symbol on it and sometimes even wear a kada,” says Ashish. He says he visits the church, gurdwara and temple regularly and is a follower of no particular faith. “There’s no discrimination for me,” he adds.

But some youngsters like Suhas Prem Kumar, have stopped using these symbols. He confesses that he did wear an Om symbol and a cross at once but he thought it was akin to wearing one’s religious identity and screaming it aloud. “I sport a French beard but I am a staunch Hindu. Religion is a personal thing and not something that one has to flaunt around,” he observes.

The pavements vendors are among those who make brisk business from these symbols. They stock anything from junk jewellery to these symbols that would later be strung on to colourful threads. “We have a lot of young boys and girls come and ask for the cross, skeleton, Om symbols and our version of the kada,” says Shivan, a vendor of junk jewellery on Brigade Road. Priced between Rs 20 to Rs 150, depending on the size of the symbol, these vendors say they make good ‘moolah’ on weekends and during the festive season.  

Niranjanaradhya, an independent researcher with the National Law School, observes the symbols the young sport is a matter of personal choice. It can be worn as long as it is done in keeping with the culture and the faith one belongs to.

“As long as these symbols are not used to disturb the peace of public life, I see no harm in wearing them,” says Niranjanaradhya.

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