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American Row Over Indian Nose Rings

March 11, 2012  by: Paulose  Points: 20   Category: Others    Views: 708

It is an Indian tradition for Hindu girls to wear nose rings when they attain the age of puberty. But there has been a row over this tradition in the US schools which have banned this religious identity.


A fourteen-year-old teenage girl was suspended from her school stating that her nose ring violates the school system's dress code. She was forced into the middle of a fight over her First Amendment right to exercise her religion.

Row over wearing nose ring

Although in some places the issue of wearing nose ring or stud has been settled through courts, based on religious grounds, in many places in the US it still remains an issue of stress and tension for many Indian people.

An example from North Carolina

A few months back the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) peacefully settled a federal lawsuit against the Johnston County Schools on behalf of Clayton High School freshman Ariana Iacono and her mother, Nikki Iacono. Ariana had been repeatedly suspended from school and after a few warnings was banned from the school for wearing a nose stud.

Under the terms of this amicable settlement, the dress code policy for Johnston County Schools was amended and Ariana was allowed to continue to wear her nose stud as a part of her religious practice. Her disciplinary record with respect to her wearing this nose stud was also rectified.

Why do western people forbid nose piercing?

1) Most of the westerners look at nose piercing and wearing nose ring with superstitious and prejudiced views.

2) Many people still believe that the Bible forbids piercing any part of the body, as expressed in the Book of Leviticus. “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28).

3) Some denominations of Christianity forbid any piercing beyond one hole in each ear. They consider other piercings are mutilation of the human body.

4) It is said that the Jewish Talmud also prohibits wearing nose rings on the Sabbath day, based on ancient beliefs.

Why do American schools ban nose ring?

1) Most of the American schools ban visible piercings except the ears because according to them there is no clear definition for its religious or cultural practice. Moreover, they state that nose piercing causes shock to the teenagers.

2) Students are not allowed to wear piercings in many school and are always challenged when they do so on health and safety grounds. They say that such piercings lead to the risk of accidents.

3) Health reasons such as infection are also stated for the ban of wearing nose ring.

Religious significance of nose ring in Hinduism

Wearing a nose ring or stud remains has been a part of Hindu religious practice in most of the places in India for many centuries. Most of the pictures of Hindu goddesses are depicted with nose rings. There are certain rituals in Hindu culture during the ear and nose piercing ceremonies.

Wearing a nose ring is more a cultural practice

1) Although wearing a nose ring is associated with Hindu rituals, it is more an Indian cultural practice than a religious one. Women of all religions in India are seen wearing nose rings just on cultural and ornamental grounds.

2) According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system, nerve endings on nostrils are associated with reproductive organs and help a woman’s health greatly.

3) In the modern globalized lifestyle nose ring has become a popular ornament all over the world. it has become a symbol of fashion and beauty.


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