After a Hindu girl in Perth Australia was shunted out from her Catholic school due to her wearing a nose stud, Hindu Council of Australia took up her issue amidst furor.
Hindu pupil Sanya Singhal aged 15 faced a tough time at the Aranmore Catholic College after being ordered to remove the tiny nose stud in her left nostril or go home.
Her parents tried to reason with the school authorities but in vain.
Sikh students are allowed to wear turbans and Muslim girls are allowed scarfs without any problem in Australia. Hindu Council of Australia explains that nose piercing is not a fashion or rebellion statement but is a deep-rooted cultural and religious ritual for girls going through puberty. It said:
“In Hindu culture, a girl who achieved menarche, or her first period, is feted, and pampered at a ceremony where family and close friends gather and lavish gifts on her. The girl would be bathed in fragrant water after applying oil, turmeric etc. she would be bedecked in fine clothes, flowers and ornaments – and her feet would be washed. This is because Hinduism celebrates, and does not abhor menstruation. The Shakti philosophy upholds it as a gift which is responsible for creation of life. Nose piercing of the girl and placing a metal stud is a ritual that is invariably accompanied.”
Hindu Council of Australia has already written to the Principal of Aranmore Catholic College and Archbishop Perth to recognize Nose Piercing and Bindi as the acceptable Hindu religious symbols in Catholic schools.
Hindu Council of Australia also calls upon Catholic Archbishops and Catholic education organizations to
(1) not interpret what is essential to other faiths and
(2) have school policies that pass the test of encouraging a mix of faiths in their schools rather than uniformity.
Interestingly, Hinduism is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia, increasing from 0.3% in 1991 census to 1.9% of the population in 2016 census, numbering at 440,300.