Religious rosaries are fast acquiring the status of gang symbols- a ludicrous thought isn’t it? Just imagine, a rosary, a string of beads used to take the Lord’s name, to ask for peace for one and all and to spread the message of kindness and benevolence becomes symbolic of gangs that kill for money, indulge in carnage and take the law into their own hands. How unpalatable is that? But can it be ignored just because it is difficult to swallow? One should think not because the rumbling of storm clouds can be heard the world over and instances are pouring in when the rosary is being increasingly recognized as a symbol of gangs. It is one thing if a particular fad has become a rage or even has caught the fancy of the common man so as to generate mass following, but quite another when the law endorses it by acting on cues related to it and institutions bend and turn their laws to make room to give such fads credence.

The conscientious call the rosary gang connection a protracted stretch of imagination and urge caution but for educators and public safety officials who are committed to blocking visible gang trends rosaries have become one more beacon indicator to track suspicious activity. Who can ignore the effect of peer groups and celebrities on a generation that is metamorphosed in a mountain fire of media and cinema? Although religious jewellery has been around and worn by the religious minded since centuries, it has now burst upon the fashion scene with a flourish and there is a kind of a gold rush to own the latest in religious jewellery. When the likes of David Beckham and actors of ‘The Godfather’ like movies are seen sporting religious jewellery at public events it expectedly, provides impetus to fashion trends and leads to a subconscious underlining of the desirability and acceptability of the rosary as a fashion statement.

Also, regardless of the controversial advent on the fashion scene of the juxtaposition of evil symbols along with religious symbols, more and more of the rich and famous are seen sporting diamond skulls and crossbones jewellery as stylistic accessories, which in turn leads to emulation by all. The question does arise though, of a person’s right to practice sport or follow a trend as he pleases without doctoring or moral policing.
As such a multitude of questions have been triggered over the evolving role of rosaries in religion, fashion and street gangs. The question does arise though, of a person’s right to practice sport or follow a trend as he pleases without doctoring or moral policing and before branding it should be the behaviour and not the rosary that should be the deciding factor. If someone is engaged in violence, it is that fact that should come up for cynosure, not the fact that he may be sporting a rosary which is construed as a street gang symbol. It is prudent to be sensitive to cultural and religious traditions and to refrain from killing that which is still alive in man by way of compassion, reverence and prayer.

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