Saturday, December 20, 2008

Govt decides to move official amendment to define minority

New Delhi, Dec 19 (PTI)
Government today decided to move an official amendment to the Constitution to define minority, a step which could enable it designate the Jains as a minority community.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, today approved a proposal to introduce the Constitution 103rd Amendment Bill to define minority, Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters here.

The legislation came in the backdrop of several Supreme Court directives to the government to decide on the issue.

"This Bill is about the power to define a minority. The Supreme Court directed the Centre to decide the issue of giving minority status to Jains. A number of orders have been passed by the Supreme Court in this behalf," he said.

The Bill was introduced earlier and referred to the Standing Committee. After considering its recommendations, it was decided to move official amendments. However, the notice for amendments issued to Lok Sabha secretariat lapsed.

"Further issues were raised in the meantime. These have now been resolved and action will be taken to move the official amendments to the pending Constitution amendment bill," Chidambaram said.

Under the proposed amendment, minority means a community which may be specified by the President or notified by the Central government, the Minister said.

The Cabinet also decided to pursue its earlier decision to accord Scheduled Tribe status to the children of the inhabitants of Lakshadweep, who were born in any other place in India. So far, the children of such people who had moved to other parts of the country were denied ST status. PTI

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The ‘don’ of non-violence

Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 16People facing serious criminal charges being elected to the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha is hardly a surprise in Bihar. Almost all political parties have a fair share of such don-turned-politicians. There are also instances of incarcerated MLAs and MPs doing graduation, postgraduation and Phd from different varsities.

But how about an MLA, involved in various crimes, including murder, loot, extortion and kidnapping, getting a doctorate for his research on non-violence. Meet Narendra Kumar Pandey alias Sunil Pandey, who has been awarded a PhD degree by Veer Kunwar Singh University (VKSU), Ara, for his research on the topic “Mahavir’s Preachings in Modern Context”. Interestingly, the legislator — who has been suspended by the ruling JDU for his continued criminal behaviour — made headlines four months ago when he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court for getting a Patna neuro-surgeon Dr Ramesh Chandra kidnapped for ransom.

Once again, he is in the limelight but for totally different reasons. The university published the result on November 27. A varsity source revealed that a team of experts on Jainism had taken Pandey’s interview (viva-voce examination) for the doctorate degree on November 25. He had appeared in the oral examination under police custody and the vice-chancellor of VKSU was also present there.

Pandey’s guide for PhD was Dr Ramji Rai, head of the history department of S.B.College, Ara. Pandey has been awarded a gold medal by the institute for excelling in studies and extra- curricular activities. Considered as an authority on Jainism and Prakrit, he has to his credit many articles on ‘non-violence’. Pandey is said to be a lifetime member of All India Oriental Conference (Pune), Indian Society of Budhist Studies (Jammu) and Indian Society of Gandhian studies. If his supporters are to be believed, Pandey has set his eyes on DLitt now.

Jain Nuns Support Hindu Terrorism

Jain Nuns Support Hindu Terrorism

Renowned Jain nuns Priti Sudha and Madhusmita have supported the anti Muslim activities of Sanatan Sanstha which is a Bramhin extremist organization involved in making bombs and using them against Muslims. Recently the Maharashtra Police has arrested some members of this organization in the bomb blast cases at Nanded, Parabhani and Thane.

Most of the members of this organization are from Chitpvan Bramhin community and the tolerant Hindus have nothing to do with it. While organizations like Jain Panthers, Sambhaiji Brigade, Chhaava and many others have already demanded to ban Sanatan Sanstha, it is a shameful thing that these Jain nuns have opposed the banning. In a statement, Priti Sudha has said, “Sanatan Sanstha is a patriotic Organization. If some people are working against the nation, Sanatan Sanstha responds. Tit for Tat is not a sin. It will be a wrong step if the Government bans this organization”

It should be noted that for Sanatan Sanstha, not only the Muslims and Christians are the enemies of India, but their list of enemies includes Jains and Buddhists also.

But there is no wonder that Priti Sudha supports Sanatan Sanstha as she loves Sanatan Vedik Dharma than Jainism. One can see her Sanatan views in her sermons and books. She believes in Varna and caste system. She believes that Bramhins are great and Shudrs should serve them. Her each sermon starts with reciting ‘Gurur Bramha Gurur Vishnu Gurur Deva Mahaeshwara’! In Jain words, she is just a Mithyatwi i.e. believer of false things..

Unfrotunately, most of the Jains, including monks and nuns, self styled leaders and commons have no common sense. So they do not know who are the foes and who are the friends. That is why they are sleeping with their enemies.

-Balasaheb Patil
Cell: 09096082940

http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Community.aspx?cmm=55779022
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jainpanthers

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Jain minority status war was won

Nitin Mahajan
Indian Express
New Delhi, June 21

The Delhi council of minister’s decision, on June 10, to accord minority status to the Jain community in the Capital was not an easy one. Newsline has learnt that it came after a fair amount of lobbying by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Congress’s Lok Sabha MP from Chandni Chowk Kapil Sibal.

The decision was a difficult one, considering that a similar proposal had been shot down at least four times by Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil. Congress sources said senior party leaders from the city, including Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J P Agarwal, had to bat for the community’s “cause”.

And this, after the Chandni Chowk MP had sent several letters to Home minister Patil, making it clear that the community — of primarily traders and businessmen — had already been accorded such a status in several states: Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh.

After Patil’s refusal to act on the proposals, Sibal, who has a sizeable Jain population in his constituency, sent another letter to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, stating that the “power to recognise the Jain community as a minority vests exclusively with the state government”.
The letter says, “Jainism is a religion with the beliefs and faiths quite distinct from those of the Hindu religion.”

Before sending the letter containing various court rulings and judgments to buttress the Delhi government’s case, Sibal also discussed the issue with Dikshit over telephone and reminded her of the need for Jains to be accorded the minority status, insiders said.

The Union minister, sources said, also told Dikshit that she did not need the Home ministry’s approval since the state government was empowered to take such a decision. Sources said Dikshit called a meeting of her council of ministers the very next day and accorded minority status to the Jain community.

With Assembly polls barely months away, the move by the Congress government in Delhi is seen as a ploy to appease the community, otherwise is known to favour the BJP. Party sources said the Congress does not want to take any chances after the sealing controversy led to its defeat in the municipal elections last year.

The community has an estimated population of between 4 lakh and 5 lakh in the Capital — about 0.45 per cent of Delhi’s population — and is now at par with other minority communities such as Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Muslims and Parsis, listed as notified minority groups under the Delhi Minorities Commission Act, 1999.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Jain Sites Found in Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI: Over the last three months, two rock art sites, two caverns with Jaina beds, and dolmens have been discovered within a radius of 25 km on the hillocks behind the Gingee fort in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram district.

Members of the team that found the sites, said the discovery of Jaina beds confirmed the earlier view that present-day Villupuram district was once a prominent centre of Jainism. The presence of the rock art sites and dolmens showed that the area had been under continuous human occupation for 3,000 years, they added.

On June 1, K.T. Gandhirajan, an explorer who specialises in art history, T. Ramesh, a researcher in archaeology, and others found a big cavern with Jaina beds and rock art on a hillock called Pancha Pandavar Kal, near Vadagal village in Gingee taluk.

The hillock, located 15 km behind the Gingee fort, forms part of a chain of hills in the area. The team found a series of Jaina beds on the floor of the cavern and pre-historic paintings on the boulder surface opposite the beds.

“The beds are of primitive nature. They are not evolved. They are about 2,000 years old,” said Mr. Gandhirajan.

Raised “pillows” had been hewn out of the rock-floor at one end of the beds. Channels were cut to drain out rainwater from the beds or the floor was scooped out to collect rainwater.

The rock art consists of a painting of a deer done in white kaolin with outlines in red ochre.
“This is really rare,” Mr. Gandhirajan said. While this figure of a deer is about 3 feet by 3 feet in size, there are tiny drawings of deer and lizard (udu mbu in Tamil) on the adjacent rock surface, as if to contra-distinguish their size. He estimated that the paintings might belong to circa 1000 B.C.

“These paintings were done by pre-historic men — by hunter-gatherers who used to live in this cavern. Much later, the Jain monks occupied them,” Mr. Gandhirajan said.Earlier finds
Three months earlier, the team found about a dozen port-holed dolmens on a hill near Devadanampettai, on the way to Tirukovilur, about 15 km from the Gingee fort. While most of the dolmens were found disturbed, a few were intact.

About 2 km away, the team discovered a small rock art site, with drawings in white kaolin of marching men or men with raised hands.

About 25 days ago, Mr. Ramesh and Mr. Gandhirajan found 11 Jaina beds on a hill near Kanchiyur village, 28 km from Gingee.

According to T. Arun Raj, Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Circle, Jaina beds had been discovered recently at Thirunarungkondai near Ulundurpet, Paraiyanpattu and Melkudalur. There are remains of the structural Jaina temples at Tirunarungkondai, Melsithamur and Thondur near Tindivanam and Melmalayanur near Tiruvannamalai. All these places are in Villupuram district.

On the hill at Sirukadambur, there is a bas-relief of 24 Jaina tirthankaras. “Adjacent to this, we have an inscription about a Jaina monk who went on a fast-unto-death. This inscription belongs to the transitional period from Tamil-Brahmi to Vattezuthu,” he said.

There are rock art sites in the district at Sethavarai and Kizhvalavu.

“In addition to these relics of Jainism, we have now discovered these Jaina beds in two places. All this show that the present-day Villupuram district was a prominent centre of Jainism,” Mr. Arun Raj said.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Delhi government grants minority status to Jains

New Delhi (PTI): With the assembly elections just a couple of months away, the Congress government in Delhi has approved the long-standing demand of the Jain community for minority status.

"The Jain community in Delhi has been accorded minority status. It has already been granted minority status in several other states," Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit announced to the media on Tuesday after a Cabinet meeting which approved the decision.

She said after getting minority status, the Jains would be able to effectively manage their educational institutions as per the parameters specified for such institutions.

Jain constitute around 2 per cent of the population of the national capital, but the affluent community has considerably more influence despite lower numbers.

Christians, Muslims and Punjabis are already enjoying minority status in the city.

Jain Society of Greater Atlanta’s Temple Project


BY MAHADEV DESAI


Atlanta’s Jain Community, which practices Jainism, is a very close knit, progressive, vibrant and well-respected community, whose members have excelled in many fields and have contributed significantly to Georgia’s economy as well as to its cultural diversity. The subcontinent of India, a cradle of civilization is also the birthplace of Jainism. The Jain religion and its philosophy being one of the oldest, predating recorded histories has become one of the essential spiritual traditions of the South Asian religious fabric. Jain Temples have been built in many parts of the world, including the US.


The Jain community in the South East USA too decided to have their own temple.


Jain Society of Greater Atlanta’s (JSGA) dream to build a Spectacular Marble Derasar (Temple) with intricate designs hand carved by some of the greatest craftsmen in Jaipur, India is about to be realized. The project began way back in 1996, with a ritual-studded ground breaking ceremony for the Jain Center / Derasar, with shikhar (dome), pratimajis, auditorium, kitchen, dining hall, library, and accommodation for visiting guests. The ceremony was performed on a 3.75 acre site at 669 South Peachtree St., Norcross, Georgia on Sunday April 5 1996.


In the year 2000, the first phase (main floor) of the Center was built, and in 2001 the second phase (basement) was completed resulting in a two story building of 14,000 plus square feet where the Society’s 400 plus Jain families could meet for regular poojas, bhavanas, pathsala classes, lectures and celebrations of festivals.


The Society is now ready for the third phase; the building of the Temple. Following joint consultations between Sompura in Ahmedabad and local architects, a beautiful design was made and approved by the County in 2006. On auspicious Vijaya-Dashami, the Khat-Mahurat ceremony was performed at the Temple site in October, 2006.


The construction of the Temple began in 2007 and is progressing very well. Sompura is working on the Shikhar, arches, pillars and other delicate marble carvings.


Members of the 2008 Executive Committee; President Deepak Shah, Vice-President Anil Shah, General Secretary Paresh Shah; Treasurer Rajan Doshi,Youth-coordinator Meeta Parikh, and committee members Kiran Shah and Madhuben Sheth briefed the media representatives Mustafa Ajmeri,Ravi Ponangi, Ved Bhatia, Kailash Khandelwal and Mahadev Desai,on the final phase of construction. After a brief tour of the temple site, Deepak Shah and Paresh Shah made a PowerPoint presentation of the proposed construction, and estimated expenditure of the project.


In brief, the Temple will have traditional design including Ghabhara for pratimajis (3 Mul Nayak’s Shwetambar Pratimajis on upper floor) and (3 Mul Nayak’s Digambar Pratimajis on the floor below), Shikhar, Rang mandap, and Bhomati with Murti’s of the 24 Tirthankar. The three main pratimas will be surrounded by 24 tirthankars in a rectangular /stepped semi circle. The marble floor will have a seating capacity of more than 250 devotees. The project is expected to cost ₤ 2.7 million. JSGA seeks to raise this amount through generous individual and corporate sponsors, donations and interest-free loans.


JSGA is extremely grateful to the main sponsors Quantum National Bank. In fact, Quantum National Bank’s Chairman, Dr.Neel Neelagaru, attended the Pooja and Media briefing ceremony accompanied with Ms Deepa Kumari and Vinay Bose and also made a donation. Other major sponsors so far are Patel Brothers; MGR Palace, Nobel Investments, Raj Bhog ; Dosa Houze, & Bhindi Jewelers’.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Priyanka Jain Topped in HSC Results

Priya Ramakrishnan,, DNA

‘Tuitions weren’t necessary’The Mumbai division topper, Priyanka Jain, 17, proved that coaching classes are not necessary to bag the top slot. Securing 95.6 per cent in Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams, Priyanka credits her college for her success.

“I got a call from a friend saying that I had topped the Mumbai division. I didn’t believe them. I thought someone was playing a prank on me,” said this Atomic Energy Junior College, Tarapur student, “My brother too topped Thane district in class XII exams in 2004. I am just taking the family tradition forward.”

A music buff, she continued watching TV even during her exams. “I studied for four hours and spent the rest of my time at college.” Besides topping the state, Priyanka is also the topper in the girl’s category. Priyanka plans to pursue a career in Electronics and is awaiting her Common Entrance Test (CET) results this month.

Her college principal Rajshekar Rao, said this was the first time in 20 years that a girl from our college topped.

11th century Jain statue found

Kshitiz Gaur,TNN

AJMER: A medium-sized black stone statue of 17th Jain Tirth-ankar Kuntunath, dating back to 11th century, has emerged during excavations in holy town of Pushkar, about 15 kms from here.

The statue is one of the more than 36 statues found in last one year at old Pushkar and Ghat areas of the region. The discoveries con-firms of a religious congregation being held at the place some time in the medieval period.

Eighteen more such statues have been discovered in old Pushkar alone, including a Shivling of nearly one thousand year old, rare statue of god Kartikeya, statue of Vishnu and more Jain Tirthankar statues.

The statue of Jain Tirthankar Kuntunath in a meditating posture appeared when renovation work was going on at the famous Varaha temple in Pushkar. It bears characteristics of Jain architecture - curly hair, sharp features on face, etc. The style of meditation is also peculiar of Jain philosophy.

The statues have been kept in the government museum at Akbar Fort in Ajmer. Archaeologists and historians are studying different perspectives of new scripts of Chouhan dynasty of 11th century.

Two months ago, more than 20 statues were found during construction work on a personal land near Jat Vishramsthali behind the famous Bramha temple. The work containing scriptures in Ingal and Pingal, local dialects spoken during 10th century, and representing the meditation postures, dates between 6th and 11th centuries.

"These new discovery shows that Jainism flourished well at the time of Hindu ruler Prithvi Raj Chouhan,"said Akbar Fort museum superintendent Syeed Ajam Hussein. "Pushkar has the importance of multi-religious studies. The statues are in very good condition,"he said, adding that the statues bear pure art of Jain sculptures and therefore have significance for the scholars and archaeologists.

About 8 years ago, a metallic statue pertaining to Jain religion was also found in the area which dated back to more than two thousand years. "The period is important because that was the time when the region was ruled by Hindu kings, and Ghajnis invaded the land,"added Ajam.

"Pushkar is an ancient city and clues are there that Vikramaditya of 6th century had studied in Pushkar. The land has more treasure dug under it,"said a Pushkar-based archaeologist Rajendra Yagnik. "More than 4 times, the university at Pushkar was ruined by the invaders. This university was unique with Samkhya, Yoga and Jain philosophies being taught there,"he said, adding, "A group of Italian archaeologists also visited the place and gathered information of scriptures found here."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Jain hospital exclusively for birds

By D.N.Jha

THE JAINS, who constitute hardly one per cent of the country’s population, continue to adhere to the tenets of their religion. The bird hospital in Chandini Chowk is just one example of the lofty principles that they are devoted to. It also reflects their belief in freedom of all living beings, no matter how small or insignificant they are.

The Jain Bird Hospital

A sick parrot in the hospital


Sick pigeons in the hospital


Next to Chandni Chowk, right across the Red Fort, is Digambar Jain temple. In the same complex is a unique and interesting hospital situated, where only birds are admitted.
Run by legendary Aggarwal Digambar Jain panchayat, Delhi, the hospital was founded in 1956 on the Jain principle of aversion to killing. The hospital has separate wards in form of cages for different species of birds like sparrows, parrots, domestic fowls and pigeons. It also has a research laboratory and even an intensive care unit for its serious patients.

The people, especially the Jain merchants of the area, bring the birds that are usually wounded by ceiling fans or by other means for treatments. The hospital admits a maximum of 60 injured birds per day. The birds are then treated, bathed and are given nutritious diet so that it recover soon. It is eventually released, especially on Saturdays, after it is declared fit and healthy.

The interesting thing about the hospital is that they reluctantly and in a very special case, treat the non-vegetarian birds. Visitors can also see flocks of birds on the roof of the hospital. Though most of the birds are those that have been treated here, but who knows there are some visitors too for its respective patients!

Since it is a charitable hospital, visitors are expected to donate some money.

Transported in plastic bags or clasped between hands, 30 to 40 birds arrive in a day. In summers, the birds are often dehydrated; in winters, it suffers from pneumonia. Whether wounded by a passing auto-rickshaw or a whirling ceiling fan, the injured fowls arrive at the Charity Birds Hospital inside the Digambara Jain Temple compound, seeking a remedy for everything from pigeon pox to the common cold. One thing is for sure that this is the only hospital of its kind: The patients never admit themselves.

Opposite the historic Red Fort and situated amidst the noise and chaos of Chandni Chowk, the three-storey hospital, founded in 1956, treats nearly 30,000 birds every year. The birds are first held in the intensive care unit and are eventually transferred to the general wards, where it regain its wings and eventually fly off.

Fed, a vegetarian diet of bread and cheese, treatments are free of cost and funded by Jain donations. The hospital separates its vegetarian patients from its non-vegetarian counterparts. Carnivorous predators such as eagles, hawks and falcons are housed exclusively on the first floor. Every Saturday, a section of the roof is opened and the recovered birds fly away. The hospital follows a central tenet of Jainism – a commitment towards enabling the freedom of all living beings, no matter how small or insignificant it is. And once the birds are admitted, those are never returned to its owners for fear of likely confinement.

“People bring the birds here, Jain or not,” explained veterinarian Dr Vijay Kumar, who has worked at the hospital for nine years, who is not a Jain himself, quickly mentioned that he is a vegetarian. One of India’s smallest religious communities that comprises approximately one per cent of India’s one billion people, Jains are the first and foremost vegetarians.

“Just like us, a pigeon will never eat another animal’s meat. Even if it is very hungry,” said manager, Kamal Kishore Jain, as he describes the folk-art mural in the hospital’s second-floor entrance. It shows a scene from a famous Jain and Buddhist tale: A king, whose hand and foot have been cut off, is pictured next to a scale that balances his bleeding foot and hand on one side and a bird on the other. The mural reads: “Brave and merciful king put pieces of his own flesh and finally, his whole life in exchange to save a pigeon from becoming the prey of a hawk.”

Walking barefoot through the bird hospital premises, two words immediately came to mind, ’bird flu’. Dr Kumar assured, “Since the bird flu, we have taken extra precautions and care with migratory birds.”

Whenever you enter the Chandni Chowk area, you cannot miss seeing the charity bird’s hospital located within the precincts of a temple. Timings: Open: 8 am to 8 pm.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ashima Jain is IAS Topper

Ashima Jain celebrating with her family at her house in Karol Bagh in New Delhi on Friday.


NEW DELHI: One of the lanes in Karol Bagh has remained hushed for the past one-and-a-half years. Even the children there have not come out to play. All of them understood that inside a house on that lane, Ashima Jain was studying day and night to realise her dream of becoming an IAS officer and she shouldn't be disturbed by any noise.

On Saturday, however, house and lane alike were bustling with celebrations. Twenty-five-year-old Ashima had topped the UPSC exam in Delhi and was first among the women who appeared for the exam in the country. Ashima ranked seventh in the results announced by the UPSC late on Friday evening.

"I haven't even looked at the results myself. We saw my name flashing on the television on Friday evening and since then, friends and relatives have been pouring in to congratulate me. I have dreamt of becoming an IAS officer since childhood and now I am one," said Ashima, while her family distributed burfis to the visitors.

A gold medalist in economics from Delhi School of Economics, Ashima worked as a business analyst with American Express for over a year. She shunned an annual package of Rs 6 lakh to start preparing for her dream to become a civil servant in the country. They choice paid off— she cleared the UPSC exam in the first attempt.

"My daughter lived in Japan, Australia and Singapore when she was working. She had been living a comfortable life but nothing could stop her from following her dream of becoming an IAS officer," said Ashima's father N K Jain, who is a gazetted officer.

Ashima recalls cutting off from the outer world and studying for over 15 hours a day. She says it was like a self-imposed imprisonment.

Her mother, Vaneeta Jain said: "We used to wake her up at 4.30 am while on our way out for a morning walk. She started studying around 4.45 am and went on till 11 pm at night. Sometimes, my heart went out to her. She had stopped meeting anyone or going out for parties. For the last two weeks before the exam, she could not eat anything because of tension and remained on a liquid diet."

Even her grandmother, who lives on the ground floor of the house, had to talk to Ashima, who was studying in her room on the first floor, on the phone.

Ashima attributes her success to her family and the teachers at her IAS coaching institute. She graduated in economics from Sri Ram College of Commerce and completed her postgraduation in economics in 2005. She hasalso trained in Indian classical music for 10 years.

"Before becoming an IAS officer, I want to relax and enjoy. My dad is throwing a huge party next week," said Ashima.

neha.pushkarna@timesgroup.com

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Milk of human kindness awaited

S Sujatha

COIMBATORE: THE State’s best goshala seeks government help to protect cows which were rescued on the way to slaughter houses in Kerala.

The ghosala situated in 40 acres at Myleripalayam Pirivu, Pollachi Main Road, houses 790 cattle with predominantly 60 per cent cows and 40 percent buffaloes. The goshala is run by Coimbatore Animal Welfare Society (CAWS). Goshala is mainly run to save cattle and the expenditure is met by public and animal lovers’ contribution, according to CAWS preident Mahaveer Jain.

"Our basic needs are finance, infrastructure and grazing lands.We have 21 permanent and 2 temporary sheds now. We need at least 10 more," he added.He said the per day expenditure of goshala was around Rs 25,000.Currently two loads of fodder is required everyday, said Gautham Chand Srisrimal, Secretary of the society.

He added that when they had put forth their requests to the Animal Husbandry Department , we were told that there was no scheme for goshala in the state.“We have also given petitions to the district collector requesting for free electricity, grazing lands and subsidized fodder from government farm lands,’’ he said. It is to be noted that the Coimbatore goshala won the best goshala award in the state at the recent all India Conference on glory of cow organised by the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam.

Jain monk walks barefoot across India to reform the men

By Santanu Barad

Jain Monk Prasanna Sagarji Maharaj takes rest at Raghunathpur Village near Berhampur during his Ahimsa Sanskar Padyatra on bare foot to reform men.

Berhampur (Orissa): The monks at normal times live in the wood and pray for the welfare of the human civilization. However, there are few monks like Prasanna Sagarji Maharaj, who lives among the people to reform the men and their attitude by restoring degradation in morality owing to modern living habits.

Prasanna Sagar was born in the Chatarpur region of present Madhya Pradesh left the home at the age of 19 years and became a Digambar Jain monk.

Since then, Prasannaji has been walking bare foot across the country to bring a reform in the men by changing theie lifestyle and the attitude that ought to be in the human being for the development and welfare of the human civilization.

Prasannaji was recently at Berhampur during his tour and stayed for a night at the Raghunathpur village.

During his tour in last 20 years, he covered at least 25,000 kilometers in bare and left a kind of indefinable mark in the minds of the people he met.

As per the tradition of the Digambar section of the Jain, the monk walks bare foot, wears no cloths and remains in bare body throughout the year. He takes food or water only once in a day, maintains silent in the night, uses no vehicle, uses no metal either, pulls the hair of the head by hand only.

Moreover, he never uses any kind comfortable things, sleeps on the bare floor, never takes bath and always carries a Jhadi made of peacock's feather for the security of lives and holds a pot for the purification of the body.

To the astonishment of many people present at the village, Prasannaji broke his silent in that evening before this correspondent, though in the evenings he remains silent as per the Jain tradition.

When asked, he said, "when a monk speaks few people listens, but when a scribe writes the message reaches among the masses. Hence, the journalists should write for the people that could bring a reform in the society by creating awareness".

Speaking about the aims of his Ahimsa Sanskar Padyatra, he said that with each passing day, the men are loosing their moral characters, idealism are being vanished and human attitudes are being changing. So, he felt the need of propagating the people about the reforms in themselves by changing the attitude, spreading love and peace in the society.

Putting emphasis on welfare of the human being and high moral value, Prasannaji said putting aside one’s selfishness; the men should work for the betterment of the society in order to revive the rich social and cultural heritage of the country.

Meat sellers protest abattoir shutdown during Jain festival

By: Neha Arha

Mumbai, May 15 The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s decision to shut down all city slaughterhouses during the Jain festival of Paryushan has run into opposition from meat sellers. The Brihanmumbai Hindu Khatik Samaj Sanghatna, an association of meat sellers, has decided to observe a dharna on Wednesday at Azad Maidan.

The Paryushan will be observed between August 27 and September 3 this year. Those participating in the dharna will have their mouths taped and hands tied.

The BMC, at a general body meeting of the elected representatives on April 7, decided shut down all abattoirs during the nine-day Jain festival. According to the protestors, the worst hit will be the owners and the workers of the slaughterhouses.

According to the association, there are around 1,500 BMC-owned and licensed shops selling meat in Mumbai apart from illegal ones in and around suburbs. They employ over 25,000 daily-wage workers who earn a meagre Rs 100-Rs 150 per day. The closing of the slaughterhouses for nine days would mean no income for these workers for those nine days, the association said.
Sixty-five-year-old Maltibai Eknath Kothmere, a widow, earns her livelihood in the form of rent from the slaughter shop her husband had left her. Seated in her tiny one-room house, she complained: “No money means no food. We are somehow managing with the little income that we get as rent, but now with the BMC’s resolution, I do not know how we will survive for those nine days.”

Jagannath Ghodke, 75, another slaughterhouse owner, added: “Slaughterhouses, big or small, employ most of their workers on daily wages. Closing a slaughterhouse even for a day would mean no income in a house for that day. How can the municipality be so insensitive to the needs of so many people considering that we don't have any alternate source of income?”

Ratnakar R Lad, general secretary of the Maharashtra Rajya Hindu Khatik Samaj Sanghatna, said, “If the municipality agrees to the demands of one community while completely ignoring the needs of the other, then it’s quite possible that others may also demand the same in the future. We are not against the closure of these abattoirs for a day or two. But shutting them down for such a long duration will not only disrupt our profession but also related professions.”

Bhalchandra Gaikwad, the general secretary of the Mutton Dealers’ Association, said: “Around 25,000 goats are imported weekly from regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The whole process includes animal breeders, transport, cleaners and helpers in the slaughterhouses. The health and leather industry gets its regular work from the process of slaughtering. Shutting abattoirs will mean a huge financial loss to all. We will not hesitate moving the Supreme Court if the BMC turns a deaf ear.”

Dilip Patel, the BJP corporator who initiated the proposal to keep slaughterhouses closed during the nine-day period, said: “We have always respected and cared for the sentiments of the minorities and Jains are a minority. We have just passed a resolution as per Supreme Court order to close slaughterhouse during the period.”

HC order denying Sikhs minority status stayed

NEW DELHI: Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Thursday succeeded in getting back minority status for the community on its home turf at least as far as reservation in the institutes run by it is concerned.

On its appeal, supported by Punjab government, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice M K Sharma ordered a stay on the Punjab and Haryana HC judgment declaring that Sikhs were not a minority in their home state.

Appearing for SGPC, senior advocate Harish Salve said an interim stay on the HC order was necessary as it was creating chaos in the admission process to a large number of educational institutions run by the religious body.


Reservations had been in operation for the last 30-40 years and its sudden cessation would create confusion, he argued.Not unexpectedly, the Prakash Singh Badal government, through senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, toed the same line as it joined SGPC in challenging the HC verdict.

Grand Mahavir Janm Kalyanak Celebration by Digamber Jains of Bangkok

May 11, 2008
by Digamber Jain Samaj, Bangkok

Mahavir Janm Kalyanak, auspicious Vedi Shuddhi and Sthapana of 1008 Shri Mahavir Swami's five (5) panchdhatu Jin Pratimaji were collectively celebrated by Digamber Jain Samaj with full vigor at Bangkok, Thailand Mandir Ji from 18th to 20th April 2008. Around 25-30 Sadharmi bandhus also traveled all the way from India and other parts of the world to participate in this wonderful event.

The whole event was well organized and successfully completed by Samaj's enthusiastic members under the able guidance of the Shreshtha Acharya of present time, Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj's disciple, Brahmachari and two Pratimadhari Shri Sanju Bhaiya Katangi. He skillfully performed all rituals and Vidhans with his thorough knowledge and understanding of Vidhis.

The Bangkok Digamber Jain Mandir was established in a small office space of one of the committee members around 3 years ago by bringing one Pratishthit panchdhatu Jin Bimb of Lord Mahavir Swami from Kishangarh, Rajasthan. At that time there were only 40-50 known Digamber Jain families in Bangkok. Today the number has grown up to around 100 families.

During this auspicious celebration, sthapana of 4 pratisthit Jin Bimbs of Lord Mahavir Swami recently brought from Jaipur was completed on a very beautiful 7 feet high Sarvobhadra Chaturdig Stambh and Mulnayak Lord mahavir's previous Jin Bimb was placed in the well decorated marble Parikar.

It is important to mention here that the Sarvobhadra marble (Chaturdig) Stambh and white marble Parikar were built in Kishangarh under the expert guidance of well known Pratishthachari from Jaipur, Shri Rajkumarji Kothari, who also specially flew to Bangkok few days ago for the vidhivat installation of Chathrdig Stambh and Parikar. Bangkok Jain Samaj is grateful to him for all his time and help in completing this Mandir in every sense for the wellbeing of DJF, Bangkok Samaj.

Shravaks took vow from Brahmachari Shri Sanju Bhaiya of doing Jin Bimb Prakshalan at least once in a week and all Shravikas present also took the vow of doing Ashtdravya Poojan once a week which created a new milestone. Shri Sanju Bhaiya gave full credit for all these achievements to his Guruvar Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj. Bangkok Digamber Jain Samaj has requested him to come again and again in future also for the Jain Dharma Prabhavana.

It is hertening to note that several DJF members have already decided to plan a trip to India in December '08 for the audience with Acharya Shri 108 Vidhyasagar Ji Maharaj and his darshan.

It is really a proud moment for DJF, Bangkok as this is 3rd Digamber Jain Mandir in a City outside India (2 other Digamber Jain Mandir are located in London and Nairobi).

It was indeed a very colorful, memorable and once in life time event for all DJF (Digamber Jain Foundation) members. Our hearty congratulations to all Digamber jain Samaj members for making this event successful and memorable. Jains from all parts of the world are welcome to visit Our Bangkok Jain Mandir.

Please visit Blog http://www.djfmandir.blogspot.com/ for the colorful photos of this and earlier events. For any query or information, you may send e-mail to:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Indian Supreme Court Judgement on Jain Minority Issue

by ALL-INDIA JAIN MINORITY FORUM
President, Chakresh Kumar Jain,
Secretary-General, Bal Patil

The press and media reports on the recent Supreme Court Judgment of the Three-Judge Bench of the Chief Justice, R.C. Lahoti, Justice D.M. Dharmadhikari and Justice P.K. Balasubramanyam are misleading. The reports were headlined stating that “SC.declares Sikhs, Jains part of broader Hindu religion”. Such reports appeared in leading English dailies like the Hindustan Times, The Tribune, The Times of India, and the local language newspapers.

2. Actually the observation that the Sikhs and Jains are “part of the wider Hindu community” occurs on P.15 of the Judgment. It is pertinent to note that from page 10 to page 22 the Judgment contains observations that are not part of the decision as the Court notes:

“Before parting with this case, the Court cannot resist from making certain observations which are considered necessary in order to remind the National and state commissions for Minorities the scope and nature of their functions under the provision of the Act and the role they have to play in constitutional perspective”.

3. The other observations which are not part of the Judgment and hence not Judicially relevant are:i)“ The Hinduism can be called a general religion and common faith, whereas Jainism is a special religion formed on the basis of quintessence of Hindu religion.”

ii)“However, Gandhi, Nehru and Patel destroyed the cabinet Mission Plan (proposed by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad) and accepted partition instead. Azad did his utmost to prevent the partition of India but he failed to persuade Nehru and Gandhi not to accept partition.”

4. These observations although made extra-Judicially have grave implications because the general public takes any declaration made by the Supreme Court as the law of the land. And as can be seen from the press reports and news Channels giving the wrong impression that the Supreme Court rejected the Jain demand for backward community status how damaging such extra-Judicial remarks can be.

5. It is in this perspective that the Judgment of the Supreme Court in the matter of Bal Patil & Anr. Vs. Union of India has given the wrong message to the country against the Jain Community, the National leaders of the country whom we call “Founding Fathers” and the statutory functionaries Viz the National and State Commissions for Minorities who are said to be the cause of fissiparous tendencies.

6. As a matter of fact these extra-Judicial observations are quite irrelevant and uncalled for in view of the central issue of the matter, namely, a prayer to take a decision on the recommendation made by the National Commission for Minorities that Jains be declared a minority religious community on par with the other notified communities, Muslims, Christions, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis).On this issue the present Supreme Court decision has said that:

i) “Before the Central Government takes a decision on the claims of Jains as a minority under section 2 (c) of the Act, the identification has to be done on a state basis. This power is to be exercised on the consideration of social cultural and religions conditions of the Jain community in each state,”

ii) “The state has to be regarded as a unit for determining religions minority for the purpose of Article 30 of the Constitution.”

7. The facts of this petition are as follows:
Dakshin Bharat Jain Subha, a century old Jain organization in western India made a petition through its Convener of Jain Minority states Committee, Bal Patil in the Bombay High Court in 1997 that the Jain community as recommended by the National Commission for Minorities, The Division Bench of the Bombay High Court directed the Central Government to take on expeditious decision.

8. As the Government failed to take decision, a second petition was filed in the Bombay High Court which was disposed on the ground that the matter will be decided after the 11 Judge Bench in TMA Pai Foundation matter takes decision.

9. Thus Bal Patil made a Special Leave Petition to the Supreme Court which was admitted after being taken of the purview of the 11-Jndge Bench. In 2004 a Division Bench of the Supreme Court ordered the Central Government to take a final decision in the matter within four months, and in case of its failure to take a decision permitted the petitioner to be heard on merit.

10. It is pertinent to note that this Order also emphasised that in "T.M.A Pai Foundation's case the the point raised inthis appeal was neither raised nor decided. A final decision has now to be taken by the government on the aforesaid recommendation made by the Commission."

11. The Government of India made an erroneous and irrelevant Affidavit in response to the above order that the minority Status is to be determined by the States concerned. Later on a 3-Judge Bench was constituted the latest SC. Decision is the outcome of this Bench.

12. In the aforementioned context the following facts regarding the Jain minority religions right need to be noted.

i) The Jain demand for minority status is almost a century old, when in British India the Viceroy and Governor General of India, Lord Minto took a decision in principle of giving representation to important minorities in the Central Legislature, Seth Manek Chand Hirachand from Mumbai, an eminent Jain leader from Mumbai and the then Acting President of the Bharatvarshiya Digamber Jain Subha made an appeal in 1909 to the Governor General for the inclusion of the Jain community for representation in the Council. Seth Manek Chand’s petition was transferred to the Government of Bombay and the Secretary to the Government of Bombay stated in his reply dated 15th oct.1909 as under.

“I am directed to inform you that a number of seats have been reserved for representation of minorities by nomination and that in allotting them the claim of the important Jain Community will receive full consideration.”

ii) In a Memorandum by the Representative of the Jain Community to the Constituent Assembly in March/April 1947 a strong appeal was made for the inclusion of the Jain community as a minority religious community.

iii) In his speech on 3rd Sept.1949, Jawahar Lal Nehru said: “No doubt India has a vast majority of Hindus, but they cold not forget in fact there are also minorities Mustions, Christians, Parsis and Jains. If India were understood as Hindu Rashtra it meant that the minorities were not cent per cent citizens of the country:

iv) Jainism is mentioned as a religion along with Buddhism and Sikhism in explanation II of the Article 25 of the India Constitution relating to Fundamental Right to religions freedom. On this issue Jawahar Lal Nehru, the than prime Minister, in his letter dated 31.01.1950 assured a Jain Deputation that they need not have any misgivings on this clear constitutional position.

v) Our National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ by Tagore clearly enunciates Jains in its second stanza: “Hindu Bauddha, Sikh Jain parsik, Musalman, Christans “as a distinct religion denomination”

vi) The Government of India Census counts Jains in India as a major religious community right from the first census in British India in 1873.

vii) And the clinching statistical census evidence that the Jains are in minority not only in every state of India but also in every district.

13. As view of the foregoing the Supreme Court Judgment extra-Judicial observations on the religious status of the Jain community as part of the Hindu religious are absolutely without any basis. Also the remarks against the National leaders like Nehru, Patel and the very Father of the Nation as responsible for the partition of India are obnoxious.

14. As a matter of fact the entire tenor of the SC observations on the National and State Minority Commissions as leading to “fissiparous tendencies” and hence calling for their closure are highly objectionable as they question the basic tenets of the India secular constitution and hence need to be expunged.

15. In view of the forgoing observations of the Supreme Court the Jain community and the petitioner in the impugned Judgment are concerned to make a Review Petition in the matter.

-BAL PATIL,

Jain Member, Maharashtra State Minorities Commission, Govt. of Maharashtra,
Chairman, Jain Minority Status Committee, Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha
Secretary-General, All-India Jain Minority Forum,
Co-Author: JAINISM (Macmillan Co 1974). with Colette Caillat, (Member Institut de France, Paris,) & A.N. Upadhye, (ex-President, All-India Oriental Conference,)
Author: SUPREME COURT'S VOLTE FACE ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT (Published by Govt. of Maharashtra, 1980)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

उग्रवादियों ने जैन तीर्थस्‍थल मधुबन पर हमला किया

गिरिडीह (झारखंड): उग्रवादियों ने जैनियों के सबसे बडे तीर्थस्‍थल मधुबन पर हमला किया है. गिरिडीह स्थि‍त मधुबन में निर्माणाधीन टूरिस्‍ट कॉम्‍प्‍लेक्‍स को बम से उडा दिया. 20 लाख से अधिक की संपत्ति नष्‍ट हो गई है. किसी के हताहत होने की सूचना नहीं है. इस घटना से दूर-दराज से आ रहे जैन यात्रियों व धर्मावलंबियों में भय व्‍याप्‍त हो गया है.

घटना मंगलवार अर्द्धरात्रि की है. करीब 40-50 की संख्‍या में हमलावरों का एक जत्‍था उस भवन परिसर में पहुंचा. चौकीदार को कब्‍जे में लेने के बाद वहां दो केन-बम लगा कर विस्‍फोट कर दिया. दूसरे दिन घटना स्‍थल पर पहुंचे एसपी ए के सिंह के अनुसार यह करतूत भाकपा माओवादियों के एक गुट का है. दरअसल, इस इलाके में माओवादी दो खेमों में बंटे हुए हैं. एक खेमे को लेवी नहीं मिली थी उसी का खामियाजा इस तीर्थ स्‍थल को उठाना पडा है. करीब सवा करोड की लागत से बन रहे इस टूरिस्‍ट कॉम्‍प्‍लेक्‍स का निर्माण भारत सरकार की ओर से कराया जा रहा था.

तीन जैन साध्वियों की दर्दनाक मौत

उदयपुर,
उदयपुर-अहमदाबाद हाईवे पर खरपीणा गांव के निकट बुधवार सुबह टाटा सुमो के चपेट में आने से तीन जैन साध्वियों की दर्दनाक मौत और तीन घायल हो गई। इनमें से एक की हालत गम्भीर है। दुर्घटना सुमो के चालक को नींद की झपकी आने से हुई। पुलिस ने नाकेबंदी कर चालक को वाहन सहित उदियापोल क्षेत्र से गिरफ्तार कर लिया। उधर इस भीषण दुर्घटना के समाचार से जैन समाज में शोक की लहर छा गई। अस्पताल में लोग उमड पडे। दिवंगत हुई साध्वियों की पार्थिव शरीर को पंचायती नोहरे में दर्शनार्थ के लिये रखा गया।

उदयपुर से 20 किलोमीटर दूर उदयपुर-अहमदाबाद हाईवे पर आज सुबह खरपीणा गांव के स्कूल से विहार कर उदयपुर की ओर आ रही स्थानाकवासी श्रमणसंघ के शीतल सम्प्रदाय की साध्वियां आधा किलोमीटर की दूरी तय ही की थी कि पीछे से तीव्र गति से अहदाबाद की ओर से आ रही टाटा सूमो ने छह साधिवयों पर चढा दी जिससे तीन साध्वियों की घटनास्थल पर ही मृत्यु हो गई जबकि एक साध्वी गम्भीर रूप से घायल हुई और दो को मामुली चौटें आई।

बताया गया है कि श्रमण संघ के शीतल सम्प्रदाय के पूज्य उदयमुनि व अरविन्द मुनि की शिष्या जसकुंवर जी की विदूषी शिष्या साध्वी सिद्घ कुंवर (64), साध्वी विनयप्रभाजी (40), साध्वी दिव्यप्रभाजी (25), साध्वी संयम प्रभाजी (35), साध्वी विमल प्रभाजी (57), साध्वी मुक्ति प्रभाजी (32), साध्वी किरण प्रभाजी (40) व साध्वी शशी प्रभाजी (39) कल मंगलवार का विहार करते हुए खरपीणा गांव पहुंचे। शाम को खरपीणा गांव के स्कूल में रात्रि मुकाम पुरा किया। सुबह भोर होने पर विहार पुनः शुरू किया। विदूषी साध्वी सिद्घ कुंवरजी आदि ठाणा विहार कर उदयपुर की ओर आ रहे थे। स्कूल से करीब आधा किलोमीटर ही चले थे कि पिछे से तेज गति से आ रही टाटा सूमो ने छह बजे करीब साध्वियों को चपेट में ले लिया। इस भीषण दुर्घटना की शिकार हुई साध्वी शशि प्रभा ने संजल आंखो से बताया कि वह सबसे पीछे चल रही थी और अहमदाबाद की ओर से टाटा सूमो लेकर चालक तेज गति से आ रहा था सबसे पहले मुझे टक्कर मारी जिससे मैं उछल कर दूर गिरी और मेरे हाथ में जो पात्रे थे वह टूट गये। उन्होंने बताया कि मुझे टक्कर मारने के बाद साध्वी सिद्घ कुंवर, साध्वी विनय प्रभा, साध्वी दिव्य प्रभा व संयमप्रभा को कुचलता हुआ सबसे आगे चल रही साध्वी विमल प्रभाजी को टक्कर मारता हुआ चालक तेज गति से उदयपुर की भागते समय दुर्घटना स्थल से करीब 100 मीटर दूर जोकर गाडी को रोककर पीछे देखा तो सभी साध्वियां जमीन पर गिरी हुई थी और यह देख वह उदयपुर की ओर भाग छूटा। इन्ही छह साध्वियों के कुछ ही दूरी पर पीछे आ रही साध्वी मुक्तिप्रभाजी व साध्वि किरणप्रभाजी ने यह दृश्य देखते ही उनकी आंखो से आंसू बहने गले। हिम्मत कर मामूली घायल हुई साध्वी विमलप्रभाजी एवं साध्वी शशिप्रभाजी ने मिलकर उछलकर दूर गिरी साध्वी संयमप्रभाजी को खिंचकर सडक के किनारे लाये। उनके बाद उन्होंने करीब 20-25 वाहनों को रूकने का इशारा किया। लेकिन कोई भी इनकी मदद के लिये नहीं रूका। दुर्घटना करीब पौने छह बजे करीब हुई थी। दुर्घटना के 10-12 मिनिट बाद बाडोली निवासी भगवतीलाल पुत्र सोहनलाल नवलखा अपनी गाडी से पत्नी लीलादेवी पुत्री अलका के साथ उदयपुर की तरफ आ रहा था। वह अपने ससुराल राकोला गंगाुपर में शादी समारोह में भाग लेने जा रहा था। उसने देखा कि करीब दो वर्ष पूर्व बाडोली में चातुर्मास कर गई साध्वियों की यह दशा देख वह रूका। वह गाडी से उतरकर सभी साध्वियों की नाडी देखा तो साध्वी संयमप्रभाजी की सांसे चल रही थी। वह तुरन्त साध्वीसंयम प्रभाजी को अपने वाहन से लेकर एमबी चिकित्सालय पहुंचा रास्ते में ही उसने मोबाइल से अपने गांव सूरत में सूचना दे दी। सूचना मिलने पर सबसे पहले सूरत से ज्योतिषाचार्य कान्तिलाल जैन के यहां टेलिफोन पर यह सूचना आई। सूचना की जांच करने के बाद उन्होंने तुरन्त नाकोडा ज्योतिष कार्यालय में विराजित श्रमणसंघ के वरिष्ठ प्रवर्तक रूपमुनि को दी और सभी समाज के पदाधिकारियों को भी इस घटना की सूचना दी। नवलखा अपने वाहन से करीब 6.30 बजे साध्वि को लेकर एमबी चिकित्सालय पहुंचा वहां पर पहले ही सकल जैन समाज के नवयुवक मण्डल श्री महावीर युवा मंच संस्थान के पदाधिकारी एवं अतिरिक्त पुलिस अधीक्षक व हाथीपोल थानाधिकारी मय जाप्ते के वहां मौजूद थे। उन्होंने तुरन्त सयंमप्रभाजी को गाडी से उतारकर उपचार के लिये ले गये। इस बीच सूचना के आधार पर एमबी चिकित्सालय के अधीक्षक डा एसके कौशिक भी वहां पहुंच गये। उन्होंने तुरन्त डा फतहसिंह मेहता और डा आरएन लढ्ढा को बुलाकर साध्वि संयमप्रभाजी को इजाज मुहैया कराया। साध्वि संयम प्रभाजी का उपचार चल ही रहा था कि अस्पतालमें जैन समाज के सभी घटकों के पदाधिकारियों एवं लोगों के पहचने का क्रम शुरू हो गया। 7.20 बजे जब एम्बुलेन्स से साध्वियों के पार्थिव शरीर पुलिस दल लेकर एमबी चिकित्सालय पहुंचा तब यह देखकर अस्पताल में कोहराम मच गया। हर किसी की यह दृश्य देखकर आंखे छलक पडी उधर इस दुर्घटना से अपनी विदूषी साध्वी तथा दो अन्य के अकाल निधन पर चारों साध्वियां फूट-फूटकर रो रही थी। वे अपने शरीर पर आई चोटे भी भूल गई। समाज के सभी लोगों ने साध्वी संयमप्रभा को पुरा उपचार मुहैया कराया। इसके बाद 8.30 बजे तीनों साध्वियों के पार्थिव शरीर को एम्बुलेन्स में लेकर तथा चारों साध्वियों के साथ सिन्धी बाजार स्थित पंचायती नौहरे में ले जाया गया जहां उनकी धार्मिक क्रिया के बाद तीनों को समाधि की अवस्था में तीन पाट पर बिठाया गया। जहां सकल जैन समाज ही नहीं अन्य समाज के लोगों ने भी साध्वी श्री के दर्शन किये और सभी की आंखे छलक रही थी। बेगू, भीलवाडा व उदयपुर संघ के बीच रूपमुनि की निश्रा में हुई बैठक के बाद अन्तिम संस्कार गुणी साध्वि यशकुंवर के सानिध्य में भीलवाडा में कराने का फैसला किया गया। दोहपर 1.50 बजे लोगों ने साध्विश्री के अन्तिम दर्शन किये और बाद में उन्हे अलग-अलग एम्बुलेन्स से तीनों साध्वियों को समाधी की अवस्था में बैठाकर भीलवाडा की और रवाना हुए।

दो साल से गुजरात में कर रहे थे चातुर्मास साध्वि सिद्घ कुंवर आदि ठाणा 8 2005 से गुजरात में ही विहार कर रहे थे और चातुर्मास कर रहे थे। सबसे पहले 2005 में बाडोली, 2006 में उधना व 2007 में व्यारा में चातुर्मास किया। व्यारा से चातुर्मास समाप्त कर अहमदाबाद, गांधीनगर होते हुए उदयपुर की और आ रहे थे। इन्होंने होली चातुर्मास हिम्मतनगर में किया। महावीर जयन्ती उदयपुर में करकर अपनी गुरूमयी यशकुंवर के पास विहार कर जाना था और इन सभी का गुरूमयी यशकुंवर के साथ शाहपुरा में 2008 का चातुर्मास तय था।

बाडोली के नवलखा ने दी पहली सहायता बाडोली के रहने वाले भगवतीलाल नवलखा ने सडक पर अचैत पडी साध्वि संयम प्रभा को तुरन्त अपनी गाडी से एमबी चिकित्सालय पहुंचाया और अपने मोबाइल से सूरतसंघ को सूचना दी और सूरत से यह सूचना उदयपुर में आई।

किसने क्या कहा डा अमरेशमुनी ने कहा कि इस तरह के जो हादसे किसी के हाथ में नहीं होते लेकिन अकाल मृत्यु संवेदना पहुंचाती है। साध्वी विजयलक्ष्मी ने कहा कि जीवन को जागृति संदेश देती है। जिन्दगी के पल भर का भरोसा नहीं इसलिये हर श्रण सावधान रहे। डा स्नेह प्रभाजी ने कहा कि हादसा हुआ जो बहुत बडे दुख की बात है। जितनी सडक की सुविधा बढ रही है उतने ही हादसे बढे है इसलिये चालक को व्यसन मुक्त होकर वाहन चलाना चाहिये। होनी को कोई नहीं टाल सकता लेकिन प्रयत्न करना इन्सान के वश में है।

घटनाक्रम
5.45 पर स्कूल से विहार,
5.55 पर दुर्घटना,
6.04 मिनिट पर उदयपुर में सूचना,
6.30 पर साध्विी संयम प्रभा को अस्पतल पहुंचाया,
7.20 पर तीनों साध्वियों की पार्थिव देह अस्पताल पहुंची,
8.30 बजे पंचायती नौहरे में अन्तिम दर्शनाथ के लिये साध्वियों को समाधि की अवस्था में बिठाया,
1.50 पर भीलवाडा के लिये रवाना, जगह-जगह लोगों ने किये अन्तिम दर्शन तीनों साध्वियों के पार्थिव शरीर को उदयपुर से फोरलेने मार्ग से भीलवाडा ले जाया गया जहां मार्ग में जगह-जगह लोगों ने साध्वियों के पार्थिव देह के अन्तिम दर्शन किये।

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lord Parshwanath as Vishnu, Padmavati as Durga!

Recently I visited Udaygiri-Khandgiri caves near Bhuvaneshwar in Orissa. While other devotee Jains were putting their heads on the feet of Lord Adinath and others at the Jain temple on the hill, I took a chance to visit a so called Hindu temple in the mid of the hill.

This Hindu temple is nothing but two Jain caves with beautiful ancient Jain idols. Jain pilgrims rarely visit these caves and miss many things that they must know.

photo: Parshwanath converted to Vishnu

Photo: A Panda in front of Jain idols

When I visited the cave, a hindu Pandya in saffron and yellow cloths was standing in front of an idol of a Godess at the right side wall of the cave. I entered the cave and

saluted him. Then I saluted the Godess and asked, 'who is she?' 'She is Maa Parvati' he replied.

Then I went to the front wall and found that there were a row of 24 black idols of Jain Teerthankars followed by 24 Goddesses, which are called as Shasan Devis by Jains. However, to know wahat the Pandya says, I asked him, 'Which Godd and Godesses these are?'

'In upper row, they are 24 avatars of Lord Vishnu, and the Goddesses here are avatars of Maa Parvati' he said.

'Can I take some photographs?' I asked the pandya. He allowed me to do it.

I found that the idol of Lord Parshwanath was converted to Lord Vishnu by wearing him cloths. The same thing was done with the idol of Padmavati to convert her in Durgadevi.

I took some photographs on my digital camera.

When I was leaving the cave, the Pandya told me that there is another cave at left and suggested me to go there. So I went there and saw a young and dirty pandya with a saffron dhoti and a thread on his chest had seated in front of the beautifully carved Jain idols on the front wall. I took a photograph of the front wall along with him. Then I requested him to move from there to take photographs of just the wall. He went out. There were more Jain idols on the left and right side wall of the cave.I took a lot of photographs in that cave also.

Later I discussed the issue with the manager of the Jain dharmshala. He was surprised that how could I got entrance there as the Pandyas do not allow Jains to come there. I said immediately 'because I didn't go there as a Jain'.

He told, 'The Pandyas are making thousands of Rupees per day from Hindu pilgrims'

I think this is one more case of converting Jain idols to Hindu one.

Now Conversion law violation is a criminal offence in Gujarat

GANDHINAGAR: From now on, anyone wishing to convert will have to tell the government why they were doing it and for how long they had been following the religion which they were renouncing, failing which, they will be declared offenders and prosecuted under criminal laws.

Forced conversion could land those responsible a three-year jail term. This clause is contained in the rules of the anti-conversion law which came into effect on April 1.

The new law is called Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, and took five years to be implemented because of the failure of the state government to come up with rules on the kind of information to be provided when applying for permission to convert to any religion.
The Bill confirms that Jainism and Buddhism are not sub-sects of Hinduism. The rules have been published in the Gujarat government gazette.

The rules make it obligatory for a priest seeking to convert someone from one religion to another to take prior permission of the district magistrate in order to avoid police action.

The priest, in fact, will have to sign a detailed form providing personal information on the person whom she/he wishes to convert, whether the one sought to be converted is a minor, a member of Scheduled Caste or Tribe, her/his marital status, occupation and monthly income.

Anyone willing to convert will have to apply to the district magistrate a month before the rituals and give details on the place of conversion, time and reason.

After getting converted, the person will have to obligatorily provide information within 10 days on the rites to the district magistrate, reason for conversion, the name of the priest who has carried out the ritual and full details of the persons who took part in the ceremony.

The district magistrate will have to send a quarterly report to the government listing the number of applications for prior permission, comparative statistics of the earlier quarter, reasons for granting or not granting permission, number of conversions, and number of actions against offenders.

From TOI

Monday, April 21, 2008

BJP's caste gamble in Karnataka irks Jains

The distribution of tickets by the Bharatiya Janata Party for the forthcoming elections to the Karnataka assembly has caused heart burn among the minority groups who had been supporting the party in North Karnataka districts.

It was north Karnataka, which gave BJP the biggest strength in the 2004 elections. The party had won 33 seats from the Mumbai-Karnataka districts with Belgaum contributing 12, Bagalkot 7, Haveri 4, Dharwad and Uttara Kannada three each and, Bijapur and Gadag two legislators each.

In the Hyderabad-Karnataka region Gulbarga and Bidar districts had sent four legislators each from the BJP while Raichur and Koppal had contributed two each, taking the number of BJP legislators from North Karnataka to 45.

But going by the pattern of BJP''s ticket distribution so far in these districts, Veerashaivas/Lingayats have bagged the lion's share. The party has announced candidates for over 70 constituencies in North Karnataka.

Barring the constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, others have candidates belonging to the Veerashaiva/Lingayat community. The party has so far given tickets to three Brahmins, two Marathas and one candidate belonging to Uppar community.

While Shrikant Kulkarni (Jamkhandi), Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri (Sirsi) and Shashibhushan Hegde (Kumta) are Brahmins, Suresh Latur (Arabhavi in Belgaum district) belongs to Uppar community.

Vijayendra Jadhav (Haliyal) and Prahlad Remani (Khanapur) are of the Maratha community. The party had no alternative in Sirsi and Kumta as all the parties are forced to give tickets to Havyak Brahmins who dominate the constituency.

Veerashiava/Lingayat candidates dominate the party's list in Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri districts. Kurubas and Jains constitute a good chunk of the voters in Belgaum district and the party has not given representation to these communities in the lists announced so far.
Only K K Mendegar of the Kuruba community has been nominated for the Babaleshwar in Bijapur district. Similarly, other minority communities which have traditionally supported the BJP feel let down by the party.

"While Congress is making an all-out effort to ensure a judicious representation to all, the BJP has failed on the social engineering front, going by the present list of candidates. It has sent a wrong message," said a party leader.

Devotees pray to Jain lord

SHALINI SABOO

Ranchi, April 18: People across the capital practised the moral virtues of non-violence and truth while propagating the teachings of Lord Mahavir, the last of the 24 Tirthankaras.

Mahavir Jayanti, marking the birth anniversary of the leader, was celebrated across the state capital today.

Jain temples were busy hosting cultural programmes to mark the holy occasion. At Digambar Jain Temple in the Upper Bazaar area, 1,008 pots (kalash) were dedicated in the memory of the leaders.

Speaking on the occasion,C.M. Gangwal, the president of the Pradesh Jain Sabha, said: “Over 2,000 years ago, Mahavir, the personification of God for the Jains, left us but his teachings remain relevant even in the contemporary society.”

Later during the day, a shobha yatra was organised by the members of the community, where over a thousand devotees participated. The two-hour procession, which passed through all major lanes of the capital, had a deity of the lord with beautiful jhakis accompanying it. The jhakis depicted the teachings of the lord.

Mahavir Prasad Sogani, the secretary of the state Jain Sabha, said: “The celebrations will continue till tomorrow evening.Children will also participate in bhajans and a dance drama, enacting the virtuous preaching of the saint. Mayor Rama Khalkho will be the chief guest.”
The celebrations at the Swetambar Jain Temple in Doranda were simple.

“We started the day after praying to lord Mahavir. This year, we have resolved free our community from all evils, especially dowry and illiteracy,” said L.K. Jain, a devotee.

Rally, Demand for Holiday Mark Mahavir Jayanti

Patna: April 18, 2008
Mahavir Jayanti Celebrated Image 1Image 2Image 3Image 4 Photo by Shashi Uttam The Jain community in Patna on Friday took out a rally to mark the birth of Lord Mahavir while also pressing for their demand of declaring the Mahavir Jayanti a state holiday since Mahavir was born in the state of Bihar.

The rally was taken out from the Jain Temple in Mithapur and after covering R-Block, Bir Chand Patel Marg, Income Tax roundabout, Dak Bungalow Crossing, Exhibition Road, Bakerganj, Kadam Kuan, arrived at the Congress Maidan where it turned into a public meeting.

Pradeep Jain, a senior office-bearer of the Jain Sangh in Patna, expressed his disappointment with the state government for not declaring Mahavir Jayanti a state holiday.

"Jains have only one day in a year to celebrate their faith and that too was taken away by the state government. This is highly troubling since Bihar is the birth place of Lord Mahavir," Pradeep Jain said adding the government was clearly ignoring the religious sentiments of the Jains in Bihar.

Featuring elephants, horses, and local bands, the rally included thousands of devotees chanting religious hymns with women outnumbering men in large number.

Following the rally, the Jains visited the school for blinds and fed the students.

community in Delhi demands minority status

By Madhusree ChatterjeeNew Delhi, April 20 (IANS) The Jain community in the capital is raising the pitch for minority status on par with the Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs, Muslims and Parsis, listed as notified minority groups under the Delhi Minorities Commission Act, 1999. Members of the community say they want minority status primarily because they want to incorporate Jainism, the religion of the community, as a subject in Jain schools. The capital and its adjoining areas have eight Jain schools.

They are not being able teach Jainism to their children because most of the Jain schools in Delhi are partially funded by the government, which doesn’t allow the teaching of any particular religion at schools unless it is a minority community.

“The government is ignoring the community. We want minority status as enshrined (under Article 25) in the Indian Constitution, which empowers the government to accord minority status to six marginal ethno-religious groups, so that we can teach Jainism to our children in schools run by us. We don’t want reservations in jobs or in education,” Chakresh Jain, head of the Delhi Jain Samaj, told IANS.

Members of the Jain Samaj had assembled at Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s home Saturday to celebrate Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain spiritualists. Mahavira was born 2,604 years ago in Vaishali (now in Bihar).
Chakresh Jain said children of the community here were losing touch with their traditional culture because they were not being taught Jainism in schools.

The community, comprising mostly businessmen, trace their lineage to Lord Adinath, a seer-king who preached non-violence, tolerance, vegetarianism and the importance of karma and literacy during the Vedic Age (2nd-6th century B.C.).

The members of the Jain community in the capital are traditionally jewellers by profession with the highest literacy rate.

Till the middle of the last century, the community lived in the old walled city of the capital. According to official estimates, there are 480,000 Jains in Delhi.

The Jain community is known for its social work and service in the sphere of education.
Underscoring the need for minority status, Chakresh Jain said Jains were included in the list of minorities in seven states across the country - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal (which enacted a law to bring the community under the minority fold three weeks ago). According to 2001 Census, the Jain community forms .45 percent of the population.

“Delhi is one of the few states where the Jain community has nor been granted minority status,” he said.

According to Jaipur-based Jain scholar Hukam Chand Bharill, “Jainism as a religion is older than Buddhists, Sikhism and Islam”.

Bharill has authored 66 books on Jain spirituality and way of life.

“Sikhism, the dominant religion of Punjab, is barely 500-years-old whereas you will find mention of the Jain community in the Vedas. The ancient Indian scriptures acknowledge Rishab Dev, hailed as the first Jain guru,” the scholar told IANS, arguing in favour of minority status for the community in Delhi.

“One must not forget that Lord Mahavira’s grandfather, the ruler of Vaishali, propounded the concept of a republic (Loktantra),” Bharill said.

Bharill runs 400 Jain elementary night schools across the country (known as Vitrag Vigyan Pathshala), which churn out nearly 500 Jain scholars every year.

“We want to teach our children compassion, good behaviour, health and hygiene in school, according to Jain tradition. But we cannot do so because the government provides aid to most of our education institutions in the country. Minority status would solve the problem. But we will never teach our children to look down upon other religions,” he said.

The Jain community, who don’t like to be clubbed with Hindus, have their own temples, texts, religious mores, food habits and deities. Like Buddhism, the group is divided into two sects - the Shwetambar and Digambar folds.

“We do not believe in Jagatguru Shankaracharya, we have our own spiritual identity,” Chakresh Jain said.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CM assures people of erecting new statue of Bhagvan Mahavir at Mollem

NT News Service
Ponda, March 31 The police have failed to achieve any breakthrough in the case of disfiguring of the Lord Mahavir statue, reported on March 27 at Nandrem, Mollem. This has triggered tension among the members of the Jain community who were forced to meet the Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat.

Mr Kamat has assured a delegation of Jain community that the statue of Bhagvan Mahavir erected along the Karnataka-Goa highway in Mollem would be replaced with a new one.
Mr Kamat made this assurance during his visit to Mollem to see for himself the reported damage caused to the statue by unknown miscreants. He instructed the police to pursue the case seriously and book the culprits as early as possible. The Forest Minister, Mr Filip Neri Rodrigues, accompanied Mr Kamat.

Mr Omkar Singh, chief conservator of forests, senior officials of forests and police departments were present on the occasion.

The Chief Minister during the course of discussions with the delegation who handed over the memorandums to him and Mr Rodrigues said that the existing statue of Bhagvan Mahavir would be shifted to the state museum.

The statue, according to information, was installed at the entrance of the  National Park of Mollem Wild Life Sanctuary.

It may be noted that in the past too, a case of desecration of idols was reported here in areas under the Collem police station.

  The Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat, Forest Minister, Mr Filipe Neri Rodrigues alongwith the police and forest officials taking a stock of the damaged Lord Mahavir at the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Ancient Abbakkadevi Basadi resurrected

By Team Mangalorean
Photographs: Rajesh Shetty
ULLAL, March 21, 2008: The 16th century old Chowta Rani Ullal Abbakkadevi Basadi a hallowed place of worship has been renovated and is ready to be handed over the Ullal people according to the chairman of the Apex Bank of Karnataka and a prominent Jain leader M.N. Rajendra Kumar here today.
Addressing a press conference here today Mr.Kumar stated that the 500 year old Basadi was a revered praying shrine for the Jains of Dakshina Kannada. This shrine is stated to have received the queen of Ullal Abbakka Rani during her life time in 16th century.
Mr.Kumar said as a sign of completion of the renovation the ritualistic programmes including "panchakalyan mahotsav", will be held for five days starting from March 23. Mr. Kumar outlining the works taken up by the Trust of the shrine said that the shrine had artistically beautiful depiction of Parshwanath and Aadinatha carved in black granite which had however been mutilated during the last five hundred years. But the Trust had taken pains to replace the idols with the same beauty and same material. The shrine now wears the historical splendour Mr.Kumar added.
Mr.Kumar acknowledging the phenomenal interest shown by the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala Dr. Veerendra Heggade said that the Dharmotthana Trust of the Dharmasthala temple had taken personal interest in renovating the shrine. However the minor shrine outside the main Shrine belonging to the Kshetrapala has been renovated with the help from the people he added. Charukirthi Panditacharyavarya swamiji of the Moodbdiri Jain Math will perform the Panchakalyana ritual on that day he informed.

Global Vectra to focus on Religious Tourism



Mudbidri: 'Bimba Shuddhi' Rituals Begin at Thousand Pillar Basadi

Daijiworld Media Network - Moodbidri (GA)
Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje


Moodbidri, Apr 12: 'Bimba Shuddhi' and 'Dhama Samprokshana' of the Thousand Pillar Basadi at Jain Kashi here began on Friday April 11. The rituals will be held till Sunday April 13. This marks the end of the renovation of the 15th century Basadi.
"Thorana Muhurtha" for "Bimba Shuddhi"(cleansing of the statue) of Chadraprabha Swami and "Dhama Samprokshana"( cleansing of the premises) of Thribhuvana Thilaka Chudamani( Thousand Pillars) Basadi were held in the presence of Cahrukeerthi Bhattaraka Swami of Moodbidri Jain Math and Dhavalakeerthi Bhattaraka Swami of Arihanthagiri.
The Basadi was renovated jointly by Shree Jain Math, Dharmothana Trust of Shree Dharmasthala and ITACT together with the help of philanthropists and others.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

JAINA Announces ‘Ellis Island’ Honor to Dr. Dhiraj Shah

By LISA TSERING
India-West Staff Reporter

Dr. Dhiraj H. Shah, a retired radiologist near Buffalo, NY, has been selected as a recipient of the 2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, according to a Mar. 24 press release from Jaina, the Federation of Jain Associations in North America.

Shah, who became one of the first Indian Americans to win conscientious objector status in 1970 when he refused to fight during the Vietnam War, has long worked for peace.

Asked by a reporter if he would use this opportunity to make a statement about the state of world peace, Shah said, "Absolutely."

"There is no question that I will speak out for peace," the 64-year-old Shah told India-West April 1 from his home in Grand Island, NY. "All my life, I have tried to help the disadvantaged and underprivileged."

He will receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a ceremony May 10 on Ellis Island in New York City. The Ellis Island Medals of Honor are given out each year by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations Foundation, Inc., at the location in which millions of immigrants historically first set foot on United States soil.

According to a statement on the NECO Web site, the awards are "designed to pay homage to the immigrant experience, as well as for individual achievement. The honorees are remarkable Americans who exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives, while continuing to preserve the richness of their particular heritage."

This year's recipients have not been publicly named (and a NECO representative could not be reached by press time), but Dilip V. Shah, president of Jaina, contacted India-West with the news and a copy of the letter from NECO to Dhiraj Shah.

It is not known how many individuals will receive this year's Medal of Honor.

Shah was awarded the Jain Ratna award in 2001 by Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee, and has also been quite active in Indian American, Jain and medical groups here and in India.

He earned medical degrees at Gujarat University and at State University of New York before becoming a Fellow of the International College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

A past president of Jaina and the current chairman of Jaina's World Community Service program, Shah is on the boards of the Rotary Club of Niagara Falls and the India Association of Buffalo, and is a trustee with the Hindu Cultural Society of Western New York.

He has been a director of Jaina for 20 years and has a long and impressive list of humanitarian activities to his name that includes helping Tsunami, drought, flood and earthquake victims; donating hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical equipment to clinics in India; building a school in Andamans/Nicobar Island for Tsunami-affected youth, and many, many other projects. In January 2008 he traveled to Kucch, Gujarat, to participate in a medical camp, where he treated hundreds of indigent patients.

"Human beings are blessed by the Lord with the power of empathy, so that we can feel the pain of other human beings," he told India-West. "I just try to help others."
:by indiawest



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Monday, March 31, 2008

K.P. Jain Becomes TN Director General of Police

Chennai, March 31: K.P. Jain , IPS, took charge today as the new Director General of Police in place of P. Rajendran, IPS, who had retired today.

Mr. Jain, who belongs to the 1971 batch of IPS officers, prior to this appointment was Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Tamil Nadu Police Housing Corporation.

He started his career as Assistant Superintendent of Police (Training), Salem, and served in various capacities including SP Madurai (South and North), Vigilance and Anti-Corruption and Railways.

Deputed to the Intelligence Bureau in 1983 as Assistant Director, Mr. Jain rose to the position of Joint Director in the organisation.

Mr. Jain addressing the media after assuming charge, said ''I don't foresee a law and order problem (in the wake of BJP in Karnataka politicising the issue and a Kannada outfit's threat to prevent Tamil Nadu buses from entering Karnataka),''If it occurs, we will handle it,'' he added.
He also dismissed reports of LTTE activities in Tamil Nadu and said ''I cannot not comment on it now as I assumed charge just now.'' Mr Jain, however, put his foot down on tackling the menace of rowdyism in the state and said it would be one of the tasks of the police.

''We will identify the people indulging in anti-social acts like extortion and goondaism, prepare a district-wise list, monitor their movements and deal with them sternly,'' he added.
He also parried a question on revival of naxal activity in the state in the wake of arms theft at a police station and detonator explosion in a railway track near Oothangarai, once a hot-bed for naxal activity, and said ''we are well prepared to cope with the problem.'' He said the Police Department had taken a serious note of the recent theft of arms from Adhiyamankottai police station. - Staff Reporter



A Feel For Jainism

Jinal Shah

Mumbai, March 23 It has made it to the bestsellers' list among the visually impaired in India. And now, several manuscripts from Jain literature are all set to be translated into English and then put on the Braille system for blind people living abroad and harbouring an interest in Jainism.

Four years ago, the Blind Graduate Forum of India, a body comprising 700 members—all graduates and all visually impaired—who assist blind students get through their graduation, had discussed an idea. Considering the population of students learning about Jainism though various courses, including certificate courses, diploma courses as well as the MA or PhD level courses, the number of Braille books available on the subject was abysmal.

"When I was a kid, I had read a Braille book on Jainism. So, when the idea struck us at the forum, we approached a social group comprising doctors," says Hasmukh Shah, president of the Blind Graduate Forum of India.
At the forefront of this silent effort is Dr Bipin Doshi, a doctor with a flourishing practice as a private physician in Borivali. His love for Jainism, however, forced him to also take on the mantle of a full-time professor of Jainism at Mumbai University. When contacted by the Blind Graduate Forum who had zeroed down on the idea of converting Jain literature into Braille form, Doshi and the others had to decide on what texts should be converted first. "We consulted an 87-year-old Jain scholar at Navsari near Ahmedabad. We then decided to convert two of the oldest books, the Panch Pratikaman Sutra and 24 Jinvandana," says Dr Doshi.
Four years ago, it was merely an idea. Today, Jainism has reached 500 visually impaired individuals across India, both Jain and non-Jain, for academic purposes, through the efforts of this group.
"The big challenge was to translate the original Ardhmaghdhi language into Hindi. After all, students are taught only the commercially viable languages. Then we had to get everything dotted into Braille," he adds.
This year alone, the demand for literature on Jainism from blind students has increased to 1,200 copies in Braille, from across the country. "It is a no-profit-no-loss venture; we deliver books on demand. Last year, we delivered 500 copies to various institutes in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, etc," says Dr Doshi.
The two books are creating immense interest not only among blind academicians in India but those abroad as well. "We have got three letters from visually impaired individuals from the United States and from Europe, all people interested in learning Jainism. We have already started translating the literature into English now," says Dr Doshi..
"Our ultimate goal is to prepare a rich database for blind individuals interested in studying Jain literature," he adds.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Structure with artefacts found below Paharpur site temple

Archaeologists have found another ancient brick-built structure with floor and artefacts under the basement of the main temple at world heritage site Paharpur.

Earlier, two brick-built structures of Gupta dynasty were found during an excavation, according to archaeologists of the Department of Archaeology.

Dr Md Shafiqul Alam, director, Department of Archaeology, said the recently excavated structures were built in pre-Pal period.

"Most probably the structure of temple was built by followers of Jain religion," Alam added.

Nahid Sultana, custodian, Rabindra Kacharibari, Sirajganj and member of the excavation team, said the 2.1-metre width brick-built structure crossed the basement of the main temple built by King Dharmapala in the eighth centaury.

The structure was found in the northeast corner of more than 1,200 years old main temple "Somapura Maha Vihara", which is locally known as Paharpur Monastery.

Md Mahabub-ul-Alam, assistant custodian, Paharpur Museum and excavation team member, said a huge number of potsherds have been found under the monastic cell no-21 in the northeast corner of the Vihara.

Probably, these were used over 1,500 years ago, said Mahabub, adding that it is likely to be the first habitation over the virgin soil in this area.

World famous archaeologist Dr KN Dikshit believes there was a Jain monastery at Paharpur but no traces have survived.

Archaeologists of the archaeology department believe the recently discovered structure was the part of the Jain temple.

There has so far been no structural existence of Jain temples in Bangladesh. But Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang saw several Jain structures during his visit to Pundranagar in Bogra and adjacent areas in 639-645 AD, said Mahabub.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jharkhand Tourism: Moving ahead through PPP

The Madhu Kora Government in Jharkhand has accorded top-most priority to promotion of tourism in the state. The state plans to globally promote all the facets of tourism, be it eco, spiritual or rural. The mission being to put the state firmly on the global tourism map by 2010. On an average 30-35 lakh domestic tourists visit Jharkhand every year during the peak tourist season. Of this, 25 lakh visit Deoghar, which is famous for religious tourism. Domestic tourists generally come from neighbouring West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Deoghar or Baidyanath Dham is an important pilgrim centre of the state. Scores of pilgrims visit the temple on foot travelling for around 100 km during the month of Shravan (July-August as per the English calendar) to pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva.
Speaking on the state's tourism plans and initiatives, Dipak Singh, Director-Tourism and Managing Director, Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) said, "We are looking for partners for progress. The State Government is also keen on improving tourism infrastructure in the state, it is facilitating the creation of tourist bungalows, yatri niwas, lodges, budget category hotels, wayside facilities and resorts with private participation on a PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) model."
The state government aims to set up more budget hotels in the state under the PPP model. Presently, JTDC is refurbishing its existing properties, as well as improving on the road network, electricity and air connectivity to the state capital. Few private airlines have started their operations from Ranchi, connecting the state capital with other important metros. JTDC is also contemplating to offer land at concessional rates to hospitality groups for construction of hotels and other wayside facilities.
To attract more foreign tourists into Jharkhand, the state government has also identified the famous Ranchi-Netarhat-Betla circuit for developing tourism and also an inter-religious circuit in Parasnath temple. Situated at 4431 ft above sea level, Parasnath also known as Samved Shikhar is the most sacred place of the Jains and attracts Jain tourists throughout the year. It is the highest hill in the state and is about 190 km from Ranchi, the state capital.
To promote adventure tourism in the state, the Tourism Department is also looking at developing several sites in the state as water sports destinations under the PPP-model.
Jharkhand is undoubtedly a treasure-house of herbal plants and forest resources. More than 1,500 herbal plants are found in the country and a huge chunk of them is found in the State. The state therefore sees an opportunity for eco-tourism.
On the hospitality front, the department has received encouraging feedback from domestic and international hospitality groups to set up star-category and budget hotels in the state. The state has also embarked on an aggressive marketing and promotion exercise. It is participating at major travel and tourism marts in the country and abroad. A high-level delegation from the Department of Tourism visited WTM London and now Jharkhand Tourism will be participating at the forthcoming ITB Berlin event. As part of its marketing exercise, it plans to launch a comprehensive website and tourism information centers in different parts of the country.

NEW SPECIAL COVER ON JAINISM ISSUED AT KOLKATA

On the occasion of 80 years of Shree Swetambar Sthanakvasi Jain Sabha, a special cover has been issued on 10th Feb. 2008 at Kolkata. The cover bears a painting of Padmawati Devi. Indian Postal Department provided a special cancellation on this occasion which bears SWASTIKA, GRANTHA and three Ratnatraya - SAMYAK DARSHAN, SAMYAK GYAN, SAMYAK CHARITRA.

- Sudhir Jain,
Universal Cables Ltd.,SATNA (M.P.) 485 005.Phone ; 07672 257121 to 257127Mobile : 9425174190E-mail : mrsudhirjain@ yahoo.comand mrsudhirjain@ hotmail.comWebpage : www.geocities. com/mrsudhirjainWebpage : www.geocities. com/mrsudhirjain

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