Nose ring is Hindu religious symbol, says British schoolgirl

October 10th, 2008 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 10 (IANS) A British teenager has forced her school to allow her to wear a nose stud, with her mother arguing it is a Hindu religious symbol that eases childbirth.Although most British schools have strict rules on facial jewellery, Shannon Connolly - backed by mother Madhu and father Brendan - claimed a nose stud is a Hindu religious requirement.

Shannon’s school in the eastern English town of Skegness relented after Racial Equality Council talks, a local newspaper reported Wednesday.

Shannon’s mother told the Skegness Standard: “When you have your nose pierced, the stud goes through a nerve in your nose, which Hindus believe helps give children and makes childbirth easier.”

The school, St Clement’s College, allows children to wear only a watch and earring studs.

Shannon said: “It’s quite confusing really. I was told at home it is ok to wear it but when I get to school it’s not ok.”

However, her parents are protesting an order for her to carry a laminated card informing teachers she can wear a nose stud.

A spokeswoman for the school said: “I cannot comment on individual students. The recommendation we have received is about the nose stud, but we are a school of over 1,000 children and you cannot recognise everyone.

“We do challenge pupils on jewellery,” she added.

Last year, a catering company serving London’s Heathrow airport had to reinstate an Indian-origin worker who had been sacked for wearing a nose stud to work, which the company bars on health grounds.

Forty-year-old Amrit Lalji, who worked in the VIP lounge of Terminal One, told her employers that her nose stud was a religious symbol and signified her married status.

She was reinstated after the being supported by the Hindu Council UK, which said: “It is as integral a part of the Hindu wedding ceremony as the giving of a wedding ring is within a Christian marriage.

“These marks are not just the outward symbol of marriage - traditionally they are believed to help ensure the match is harmonious. If the company concerned allows wedding bands, we don’t see why she can’t wear a tiny nose stud.”

Her company, which bans all “flesh piercings” on the grounds that they may carry bacteria, later said Lalji had been reinstated because she was not directly engaged in catering.

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