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.


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

Ancient Abbakkadevi Basadi resurrected

By Team Mangalorean
Photograph: 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.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Woman arrested for attempting to sell an antique Mahavir idol

Express news service

Mumbai, February 20 The Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested a woman for trying to sell a Mahavir idol, suspected to be an antique piece, without a licence to deal in antiques.

Experts from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are being consulted to ascertain the age and worth of the piece, the police said.

The woman, Jagruti Atul Shah (48), a garment trader and a resident of Borivli, was trying to pawn the item for Rs 4 crore when she was trapped by the Crime Branch officials at her parent's residence at an apartment complex in Tardeo.

"We do not know the exact age and worth of the idol yet, as an expert from the ASI is yet to give us a report on it. However, investigations are on to ascertain where she sourced the idol from, who else is involved in the case, and whether this is an organised racket in antiques," said Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Rakesh Maria.

According to the police, the idol — Mahavir in a standing posture — is approximately 7 inches in height and weighs between 9 and 10 kg. It is made of an alloy of five metals.

"Shah was arrested after we received a tip-off that she was looking for buyers for an antique idol. We communicated with her on the phone, set up a deal and sent a dummy customer before arresting her. We do not know much about the idol, but Shah claims that it is at least three centuries old. She demanded Rs 4 crore within seven days. We have booked her under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act (1972)" said senior police inspector, R Mahale, of Crime Branch Unit 1.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Temple tries again to secure visas

As a Jain house of worship sits unfinished in Bartlett, officials scale back request to allow stonemasons from India into the U.S.

Haverford student to greet pope

Senior Aditya Vora will be one of five young adults representing five faiths to meet Benedict XVI.

A Haverford College student who follows the Jain religion has been picked to greet Pope Benedict XVI during the pontiff's first trip to the United States.
Aditya Vora, 21, a senior from Kings Park, N.Y., is among five young adults chosen from around the world for the honor. Others will represent the Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, and Islamic traditions. The pope will be in the States from April 15 to 20.
When Vora learned of his role, he said he was "filled with nervousness and excitement."
"I felt honored, but I felt like I didn't deserve it," said Vora, a science major who hopes to become a physician.
The meeting, set for April 17 in Washington, is meant to embody the pope's belief that religions must unite to achieve peace.
"The cry for peace in our world calls for religious bodies to come together," said Bishop William Sklba, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, which is hosting the visit.
The meeting "exemplifies what must happen all over the world," Sklba said.
On April 15, the pontiff will arrive in Washington. The following day, his 81st birthday, Benedict will meet with President Bush and the Catholic bishops.
On April 17, he will say Mass at Nationals Park, new home of the Washington Nationals. At 6:30 p.m., the pontiff will receive Vora and the other young adults.
Afterward, he will welcome 10 prominent religious figures, including Vora's father, Arvind, a member of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America.
On April 18, the pope will go to New York to address the U.N. General Assembly. The next day, the third anniversary of his election to the papacy, Benedict will meet with seminarians and disabled children.
On the last day of his visit, April 20, he will visit site of the attack on the World Trade Center and celebrate Mass at Yankee Stadium.
At the April 17 meeting, Vora will shake the pope's hand and give him a small metal cube, according to the Rev. James Massa, who helped organize the event.
The cube represents the Jain principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, tolerance of others' views, and never stealing or being swayed by materialism, Vora said. The ceremony is expected to last 10 to 15 minutes.
"That 10 to 15 minutes will probably seem like an hour to me," Vora said. "My adrenaline will be pumping. I can't believe this is actually happening."
Massa said Vora might get to speak to the pope.
"He'll probably ask, 'Where are you from and what do you do?' " Massa said.
Earlier this year, Massa was seeking young people who could represent their sects at the meeting. They had to be involved in interfaith work and be advocates for peace.
Vora's name came up because Massa had visited a Jain peace center on Long Island and knew Vora's father. Massa and Aditya Vora met at a restaurant on the N.J. Turnpike early one morning, and Massa was impressed with him.
"He has a remarkable social conscience, one informed by his religion," Massa said.
Vora, a slim, quiet man, didn't expect to receive such an honor. Called A.D. by friends, Vora was singled out because of work he did on Long Island.
The work since his high school days involved talking with Holocaust survivors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and antibias and multicultural programs he fostered.
Jains believe that their religion, centered in India, had no beginning, Vora said. Instead, 24 teachers, or tirthankars, guided its formation by achieving, then teaching, the path to salvation.
Jains believe the principle of nonviolence must be reflected in their every thought, word and deed, Vora said. Most are vegetarians.
"If there's a spider in your house, you have to get a dust pan and sweep it out," he said. "We don't kill anything."
Vora's small step for interfaith unity comes as Benedict makes his first appearance in America as pope. He had visited before as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany and is familiar with U.S. culture.
"To come as pope is a whole different experience," Massa said. "He comes because he's our pastor, but also in the role of peacemaker and advocate for justice."
Massa said the interfaith meeting grew out of discussions with five religious groups with which the Catholic bishops conference has a relationship.
"I think it appeals to the heart when there are religions meeting together and a person who has great symbolic significance, such as the pope, is present," Massa said.
That provides a platform for "working through our differences," he said.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

'Abattoirs to close for Jain festival in Guj'

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a Gujarat government order closing slaughter houses for nine days every year during the Jain festival of 'Paryushan' and said that non-vegetarians could remain vegetarian for this short period.

Drawing liberally from poetry penned by sages, Puranas and history as also the Constitution, a bench comprising Justices H K Sema and Markandey Katju rejected the argument of the meat traders' association, "Mirzapur Moti Kuresh Jamat", that this nine-day restriction was violative of their fundamental right to business.

"The traders in meat of Ahmedabad will not suffer much merely because their business has been closed down for nine days in a year. There is no prohibition to their business for the remaining 356 days in a year," said Justice Katju, writing the judgment for the bench.

Asking the communities to be respectful to each other's sentiments, the bench said: "In a multi-cultural country like our's with such diversity, one should not be over-sensitive and over touchy about a short restriction when it is being done out of respect for the sentiments of a particular section of the society."

"Great Emperor Akbar himself used to remain a vegetarian for a few days every week out of respect for the vegetarian section of Indian society and out of respect for his Hindu wife. We too should have similar respect for the sentiments of others, even if they are a minority sect," said Justice Katju.

Commenting on the heterogenicity of India, the court said: "India is is a union of states and there is one nationality that is Indian. Hence, every Indian has a right to go anywhere in India, to settle anywhere, and work and do business of his choice in any part of India, peacefully."

After Delhi, Ahmedabad Jain sanghs might ban marriages at night

Express news service

Ahmedabad, March 16 The Jain sanghs in Ahmedabad may soon follow the precedent set up its counterparts in Delhi against solemnising marriages after dusk.

"This is a great move, which is being appreciated by the community here, but to pass such a resolution, a lot will depend on the Acharyas (religious leaders)," said Hemantbhai Broker, trustee Anandji Kalyanji Pedi. "We had a meeting at Surat today and the move by Delhi Jain bodies have generated a lot of appreciation there as well," he added. The Delhi Jain Mahasabha has passed a resolution banning marriages at night. The resolution had also banned organising marriage parties after dusk.
"While some people here already practiced this, no such institutionalised resolution to this effect was ever passed," said Babubhai K Shah, a Jain community leader from Ahmedabad. "However, this is a welcome move and we expect more people to follow suit," Shah said, adding that the rationale behind banning marriages at night stem from the Jain practice of not eating after sunset. "People are gradually getting more appreciative of the religious customs and if the Acharyas so decide, we are likely to have a similar resolution passed here as well," said Hemantbhai Broker.
Meanwhile, Acharya Naipadmasagar has appreciated the decision and is learnt to have expressed his desire to see the move being replicated all over Gujarat.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Birth Centenary Celebrations of Kavi Veeranuyayi Start on the 18thMarchThe Birth Centenary Celebrations of noted Marathi writer, poet andpublisher Aa. Bha. Magdum, also known as 'Kavi Veeranuyayi' , will start on 18th March 2008.

Kavi Veeranuyayi was born on 26th March 1908 at Samdoli, a villagenear Sangli in Maharashtra. In a short life span of 40 years he wrotelot of articles, poems, lyrics and 19 books. He wrote in Marathi andalso wrote in Hindi. His greatest achievement was to run a publishinghouse 'Shree Veer Granth Mala' from a village situated in remote area,that too in first half of the 20th century. This publishing housepublished 24 books of his own alongwith books of some other scholars.His writing was appreciated by great scholars like Bramhachari SitalPrasadji and Ravaji Sakharam Doshi.The birth centenary of Kavi Veeranuyai will be celebrated by thepeople of Samdoli, Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha, Marathi Jain SahityaParishad, Maharashtra Jain Sanskritik Mandal, Arihant Jagruti Manch,Institute for Jain Studies and few other institutions throughout theyear 2008-2009. The Birth Centenary Celebrations Committee has plannedto republish some of Kavi Veeranuyayi' s books, seminars on hisliterature and writing competition for new writers. Some of his bookswill be translated in English.The birth centenary celebrations will start in the holy presence ofJain Muni Tarunsagarji at 5 P.M. in Veeranuyayi Appa Bhau MagdumNagar, Samdoli Highschool, Samdoli. Noted personalities from variousparts of Maharashtra will be present at the ceremony.You can reach Samdoli by City Bus from Sangli. Samdoli is just 8 KiloMeters away from Sangli.
-Dr. Ravsaheb Patil Co-Ordinator, Birth Celebration Committee
Cell: 09890203549
P.S.Please find out more about Veeranuyayi Appa Bhau Magdum at:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Welcome as religous conversion law is withdrawn in India

But a human rights group, while welcoming its removal, called for the original law to be repealed.

The amendment redefined the word 'convert' and said that converting from one denomination to another was acceptable. However, it defined Jainism and Buddhism as denominations of Hinduism, a stance which attracted strong criticism from Jain groups.

Despite the amendment being withdrawn the original 'Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003', remains on the statute books. The Act is a somewhat convoluted law which rules that anyone converting another person must get prior permission from the district magistrate. In addition, the law is extremely difficult to challenge, owing to a complex web of additional rules and legislation.

Sam Paul, Secretary of Public Affairs at the All India Christian Council, said: "The status of this law is extremely confusing to ordinary citizens and police alike. Many people believe that they cannot change religion in Gujarat, even though the law has not been officially implemented. The Gujarat government must respect the religious freedom of its people and withdraw the original anti-conversion law, which was introduced to appease extremist Hindu nationalists in the state."

In Britain the advocacy director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Tina Lambert, said: "Although we welcome this news, it is not enough that the amendment is withdrawn. As long as the original anti-conversion law exists on the statute books, it contributes towards creating a culture in which religious conversions are anathema, and a climate of fear exists among religious minorities.

"We call for a full repeal of the Gujarat anti-conversion law, to ensure the full expression of religious freedom as defined by international standards and protected in the India constitution."

Last month a Christian in Madhya Pradesh, India, was charged with forced conversion, according to a report by Vijay Burman was charged after a complaint against him claimed he was trying to lure converts with promises of good jobs.

Locals who know him insist that Mr Burman, who converted to Christianity from Hinduism 14 years ago, was doing no such thing.

Gujarat pulls out anti-conversion bill

Gujarat government pulls out the controversial Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill on Monday which made state interference necessary for conversion but allowed conversion from one faction to another in the same religion.

The move came only after the Governor N K Sharma returned the bill to sought explanation of the provision given in the bill against Article 25 of our Constitution.

The Governor remarked, “The provisions of amendment bill violated Article 25 of the constitution, which guarantees to all citizens to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion. The bill should be reconsidered for suitable amendments so as to bring its contents in conformity with the constitution.”

“The proposed amendment would amount to withdrawing the protection against forceful or inappropriate religious conversions, particularly in case of Jains and Buddhists,” he added.
A provision in the bill clubbed Jain and Buddhism into the same religion Hindu, Sunni and Shia in Muslim while placing Protestants and Catholics in Christianity.

The ire of the people and various institutions lied in the provision for seeking the DM's permission mandatory for any conversion, unlike other state where this is not mandatory.
The withdrawal of the bill is also seen as aftereffects Asma Jahangir who visited Gujarat on March 9 as UN special representative on freedom of religion and met Narendra Modi who assured her that there is complete religious freedom in Gujarat and the minorities are safe in the state.

The bill aims at discouraging conversion but especially it will batter Dalits as the bill clubbed Jainism, Buddhism with Hinduism. Dalits generally convert to Buddhism, who might be forcibly converted or lure back to convert to Hinduism. The bill also wanted to replace the definition of forced conversion under which a person if relinquished one denomination and adopt another of the same religion would be excluded from the purview of conversion. The amendment but considered Sikh as separate religion.

The All India Digambar Jain Dharam Sanrakshini Sabha reacted strongly with the other social and religious organisation against the union of their religion with Hindu.

This step as many experts view will flare up communal tensions and it also defy Supreme Court verdict which identified both Jainism and Buddhism as separate religion in 1992 and 2004 respectively.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gujarat to withdraw Freedom of Religion Amendment Bill

8 Mar 2008, PTI

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government has decided to withdraw the controversial Freedom of Religion Amendment Bill 2006 after Governor Nawal Kishor Sharma returned it to the Assembly for reconsideration.

The bill will be withdrawn by the government in the Assembly on Monday, official sources said.

The bill proposed to allow conversions among different sects of the same faith as well as among Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Analysts say the government might not have to intervene in case of conversion of Shias to Sunnis among Muslims or Protestants to Catholics among Christians.

Significantly, the same yardstick was applied to conversion among Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism as the bill had said that Buddhism and Jainism are part of Hinduism.

With this amendment, a person did not have to seek permission of authorities to convert from one sect to another.

There was a furore at the national level following the passing of the bill in the Assembly. Jains and other religions had protested saying this was a violation of Article 25 of the Constitution, which gives freedom of religion.

Governor Sharma had returned the bill to the Assembly last August after analysis.

The government has decided to just withdraw the amendment, while the original law passed in 2003 will remain in force, the sources said.

The original Freedom of Religion Bill makes it mandatory for a person to take permission from authorities before converting to another religion.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Jain Woman Becomes Belgaum Mayor

BANGALORE — For the first time in the last 17 years, a Kannada-speaking Jain corporator was elected as Mayor of Belgaum, a town on Karnataka's border with Maharashtra.
Prashantha Budvi, a Kannada-speaking Jain corporator, defeated Neelima Pavshe of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi (MES) by a narrow margin of two votes in a neck and neck race for the post of Mayor of Belgaum. Pudvi bagged 30 votes against Pavshe's 28 votes in a house of 58 members.
The election for the post of Mayor of Belgaum had become a prestige issue for various Kannada and Marathi groups in Belgaum, which has become a bone of contention between Karnataka and neighbouring Maharashtra.
Since the inception of Belgaum City Corporation in 1984, the post of Mayor has remained with Marathi-speaking groups, except for period of one year in 1991 when Siddanagouda, a Kannada-speaking corporator was elected as Mayor. Budvi's election as the new Mayor of Belgaum has come as a major setback to MES, which has launched a campaign for merger of the Belgaum and other parts of the district with neighbouring Maharashtra.
An eight-member group of Urdu-speaking corporators of Belgaum played a crucial role in the election of Budvi as the new Mayor of Belgaum.
The Urdu-speaking group's representative Yunus Momin was elected Deputy Mayor of Belgaum, defeating MES candidate Netaji Mangutkar by two votes.
The election of Budvi and Momin came about after 29 members of the 58-strong Belgaum City Corporation formed a forum called Sarva Bhashik Samavichar Vedike to defeat the MES candidate.
Though the Vedike was eying even a few Marathi-speaking corporators, MES managed to shift its flock of corporators to a resort in Amboli in Maharashtra to prevent poaching. Eventually, MES lost the race for the coveted post of Mayor to a Kannada-speaking candidate

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Female foeticide is religious crime, says Jain

Punjab Newsline Network
Saturday, 01 March 2008

CHANDIGARH: The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijender Jain Saturday said that female foeticide was not only a legal crime but also a religious crime and it was the responsibility of everyone to completely eradicate this evil from the society.

Chief Justice Jain was addressing the Legal Literacy Seminar on 'Eradication of Female Foeticide and Women Empowerment' jointly organized by the Haryana State Legal Services Authority (HSLSA) and Health department of Haryana Government at Narnaul.
Chief Justice Jain, who is also the Chief Patron of the HSLSA, expressed his serious concern over the declining sex ratio and cautioned that if the people did not make it a voluntary public movement, the survival of the society would be at stake. Besides government efforts, he said that every one should take a pledge to work against the female foeticide.
Haryana Health Minister, Kartar Devi gave details of various programmes launched by the present government in the state for the welfare and social security of girl child and empowerment of women.
She also stated that there had been some improvement in the sex-ratio in many parts of the state, but it required more efforts and commitment to make the people conscious of the disastrous effects of widening gap of sex ratio.
Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the High Court, who is the Executive Chairman of HSLSA, said that around 36 lakh cases of female foeticide were being reported every year in India and this evil practice had to be curbed to save the society. He opined that because of the involvement of the father and mother in the cases of female foeticide, it becomes difficult sometimes to implement the law.

The Irrigation Minister, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav praised the Chief Justice Jain for making the campaign against female foeticide a movement in Punjab and Haryana and said that the State Government was also not leaving any stone unturned to eradicate this evil and promote the interests of girl child and women. He also gave details of various incentives being given by the State Government for women education, their employment and social security.
Justice L.N.Mittal of the High Court, District Sessions Judge M.P.Mahendiratta and DC Mrs Amneet P. Kumar also addressed the seminar.
On the occasion, Chief justi ce Jain gave cash award of Rs one Lakh to village panchayat where the sex-ratio of male and female was 1000 : 1062.
Justice S.K.Mittal, Justice TPS Mann, Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justic SD Anand, Justice A.N. Jindal, Justice Rakesh Kumar Garg, Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain & Justice K.S. Ahluwalia, Advocate General Haryana Hawa Singh Hooda, Radhey Shyam MLA and other Judicial and administrative officer were present on the occasion.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Archaeologists find terracotta plaque bearing image of only female Jain Tirthankar in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Jan 1 (ANI):
Archaeologists have discovered an 1,800-year old terracotta plaque bearing the image of the only female Jain Tirthankar Mallinath, at Damdampir of Manirampur upazila in Jessore, Bangladesh.

According to Shihabuddin Mohammad Akbar, director of the Khulna regional office of Archaeology Department, Mallinath was the daughter of Kumbharaja of Mithila and Prabhavati. Mallinath was 19th of the 24 Jain Tirthankars, he said.

A report in The Daily Star says that though the Khulna office of the Archaeology Department discovered the rare terracotta piece after digging a large mound of earth at the site, it was kept a secret for security reasons.

"We did not immediately disclose the facts about this particular discovery for security reasons," said Shihabuddin Mohammad Akbar, director of the Khulna regional office of Archaeology Department.

Besides the seven-inch-long red sandstone terracotta image of Jain Mallinath, more antiques including earthenware from the 200-year-old Jain dynasty were discovered at the site.
Archaeologists expect that more antiques will be found at the site where digging work is still going on. (ANI)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

7 th century idols of Yamraj and Jain Gods excavated

By Sarathi

Sirpur (Chhattisgarh), March 6 (ANI):

Archaeologists in Chattisgarh claim to have discovered 7th century idols of Yamraj, the Lord of Death in Hinduism, astride a buffalo and Supasharvanath, a divine figure of Jain faith.

The excavation of lands in search of the Jain monuments is being carried out at Sirpur in Chhattisgarhs Mahasamund District.

"This idol is made of metamorphic rock, which is found in Mahanadi and I found it at a distance of 30-40 feet from the place where I am standing. It is in two parts and a part of a big pillar of some temple. It has a female structure on one of its side and structure of Yamraj sitting on a he-buffalo on the other side, said Arun Kumar Sharma, an archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India.

The idols are believed to be dating back to the seventh century.
"I think this idol belongs to 7th or 8th century, when Jains were in power in Sirpur and Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism had ample patronage from the Kings. We have a number of Jain monuments also," Arun added. Archaeologists hope the latest finding will enable them to uncover the ancient history of Digambar Jains in the region. (ANI

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