According to legends more than 100 years ago, a devout man named Parashuram from low caste untouchable community, after being denied entry to a temple of Lord Ram, decided to challenge the social ostracism faced by his community. He covered his whole body with tattoos bearing the name of Lord Ram as an act of both defiance to the discrimination and devotion to Lord Ram. It served a message to higher-caste Indians that god was everywhere, regardless of a person’s caste or social standing and at the same time a body covered with the name of Lord Ram, offered protection from physical abuse and violence.
Thus started the Ramnaami Samaj with a new set of religious and social ideology where idolatry was absent and it was preached that Lord Ram can be worshiped anywhere as he exists everywhere. The Gandhian like non-violence nature of the community attracted many, men and women alike, and this socio-religious movement became a dominant force among the low cast people belonging to the region which falls under present day central Chattisgarh state of India.
Their simple practices have not changed over years. They use a white cloak or 'odhni' printed with Ram's name, wear a peacock feathered crowned headgear, lead a humble lifestyle and gather in villages and sing Ram Bhajans.
But their numbers are dwindling and the tattoos are becoming extinct. Their estimated number of Ramnaamis is barely 1200 and very few of them remains, mostly the elders, who still have the tattoos on their body and face. The younger members of the community who do not want to continue with farming and land tilling in this poorest region of Chattisgarh, are finally seeking a new life, new jobs and such tattoos won't help them in their endeavor. Though they remain honest to the ideology of the samaj, but the tattoos which were once the marks of unshakable devotion is believed to get vanished in near future.