An eight-year-old diamond heiress has turned down her £50million inheritance – to begin her new life as a nun instead.
Devanshi Sanghvi was set to inherit the diamond empire Sanghvi and Sons based in Surat, India, also known as Diamond City for its key role in the global diamond industry.
But Devanshi has chosen to dedicate her life to the Jain monkhood, leaving her family’s business, which has branches across the world, to her younger sister Kayva, five.
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The eight-year-old was brought into the monkhood this week in a four-day ceremony, during which she rode a carriage pulled by an elephant, according to pictures shared with local media.
The girl went on to trade her luxury clothes in for a simple white cotton outfit.
Devanshi is one of the youngest people in the country to ever join a Jain religious order.
While her family already practised the Jain faith, which touts non-violence and a love for all creatures, her parents told local media that Devanshi seemed to always want to dedicate her life to the faith: “Devanshi showed religious inclination since she was a toddler. She has followed an ascetic life since a very young age”.
The Times of India reported that Devanshi has stuck to a strict routine of three prayer sessions per day since she was a tot.
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While Devanshi’s choice may seem unusual to many, the induction of children to Jainist monastic orders, known as bal diksha , has been around for centuries.
Critics of the practice claim it violated children’s rights, though proponents say that it’s a matter of religious freedom that should not be interfered with.
Followers of Jainism, which has around four million followers in India, stick to a strict vegetarian diet, with some followers choosing to cover their mouths with fabric to prevent them from accidentally swallowing insects.
Some followers go as far as refusing to eat root vegetables, arguing that removing roots from the ground kills the plant.
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