rihanna-hiptattooJust imagine the horror. You find out that Chinese symbol on your hip actually meant ‘Haricot Beans’ instead of ‘Harmony’? Eeeek, and I bet it won’t make you feel any better to find out that this has happened to many a celebrity.

A bunch of Hindi scholars – that’s people who study Hindi languages to you and me, have publicised the fact that several celebrities have texts inked that are spelled wrong or say the wrong thing. Among them is Rihanna and another is David Beckham.

It turns out that David’s tattoo artist has added a consonant to his wife Victoria’s name and Rihanna has one of two sacred texts in Sanskrit written incorrectly. How mortifying is that?

These scholars are not having a go at tattoos, the people who have them nor the people who ink them. Their intent is more to ask that tattoo artists have some training in the language they are using before they permanently ink in a language foreign to them. One well respected elder, Rajan Zed says, “We are all for the celebrity interest in Hinduism and our sacred texts, but celebrity tattoo artists worldwide really should undertake some basic training in ancient Sanskrit language and culture to get this right.”
He insists his intention is to make sure that the stars do not have to bear the embarrassment when they realise that their tattoos are not right

Mr Zed would not say what the correct tattoos on people like Jessica Alba, Tommy Lee and Gillian Anderson because he feels they are private and obviously hold special meaning for the individuals concerned. Can’t say I’d agree with him there. How private can a publically displayed tattoo be?
He did say though: “We are delighted that so many celebrities choose to pay tribute to Hinduism with tattoos. We only ask that the tattoo artists take the trouble to get it right.”

Fair point, however, it applies to more than just Sanskrit. There are many people opting for texts in Arabic or deciding on a Chinese symbol, for example. It seems now that another qualification we should be asking our tattoo artist for is a degree in the language they are about to ink on us.