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8-Year-Old Diamond Heiress Becomes Nun

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Paul Aubert Contributor
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The eight-year-old daughter of an Indian diamond merchant has renounced the material world to become a nun.

Devanshi Sanghvi abandoned inheriting the multimillion-dollar family business from her father, according to BBC. Instead, she will wear simple clothing, go barefoot and beg for alms, according to the outlet.

On Jan. 18, Sanghvi pronounced vows of renunciation in a “diksha” ceremony in Surat, a city in the western state of Gujarat, India, BBC reported.

Tens of thousands attended the ceremony, where the elegantly dressed 8-year-old began her lifestyle change, according to the outlet.

She now lives in a Jain monastery with other monks and nuns, per BBC. “She can no longer stay at home, her parents are no longer her parents, she’s a Sadhvi [nun] now,” a diamond merchant and friend of the Sanghvi family, Kirti Shah said, according to the outlet. “A Jain nun’s life is really austere. She will now have to walk everywhere, she can never take any kind of transport, she’ll sleep on a white sheet on the floor and cannot eat after sundown.”

Shah did not attend the ceremony due to Devanshi’s young age. “She’s a child, what does she understand about all this?” he asked BBC. He also said that “no religion should allow children to become monks” and called for a government ban on monastic vows for minors.

Other activists voiced similar objections, but Priyank Kanungo, the chief of India’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), told BBC that the issue was a “sensitive matter” and refused to comment.

The Jain faith is an ancient Indian religion that practices vegetarianism and calls for all creatures to be loved, according to The Guardian.

Video posted to Twitter showed the extravagant send-off Devanshi’s parents held before she took her vows. (RELATED: 80-Year-Old Nun Sentenced To Prison For Gambling Away School Funds)

In the video, elegant horse-drawn carriages parade through the street along with a chariot, pulled by an elephant, holding Devanshi and her family. Bystanders throw rose petals celebrating the eight-year-old’s life-changing decision.