Monday, July 27, 2009

Arihant launched at Visakhapatnam

NEW DELHI, 26 JULY: As the nation today paid homage to the soldiers who a decade ago beat back Pakistani intruders in Kargil, it also inducted its first indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine, taking the first visible step towards creating the sea leg of its nuclear triad. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh however said that the country has no aggressive designs, though it would take all measures to safeguard itself.

The Prime Minister, who with defence minister AK Antony spent almost the entire Sunday with the armed forces, laid a floral wreath at the memorial to the unknown soldier in India Gate in New Delhi in the morning, while in Drass, Kargil, families of many of the slain soldiers gathered at the invitation of the armed forces to observe the 10th anniversary of the Kargil Vijay Diwas.

It was in the summer of 1999 that India and Pakistan almost came to the edge of having a fourth full-scale war as they faced-off in the snow-capped mountains of Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir. An estimated 530 Indian soldiers were killed in two months of fighting before the Pakistanis were pushed back across the international border.

Wreaths were laid at the War Memorial amid a flypast by Mig 21 Bison aircraft and showering of petals by Chetak helicopters, as the relatives got an account of the bravey of their loved ones from the personnel of the forces, colleagues and friends.

The finale of the two-day ceremony was a musical show by military bands drawn from all over the country followed by a spectacular illumination of Tiger Hill and Tololing, two of the peaks recaptured from the Pakistani intruders after savage fighting.

While the ceremony at India Gate was attended by the defence minister, Mr AK Antony, he and the Army chief Gen. Deepak Kumar gave the ceremony in Drass a miss.

A contingent of tri-services guards presented the salute and buglers sounded the last post as Dr Singh laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. A two-minute silence was observed for those killed in the 60-day war. “I join the entire nation in paying homage to the martyrs of the Kargil war. They sacrificed their lives in defence of Indian unity and integrity,” the PM wrote in the visitor's book.

Later the PM headed to Vishakhapatnam where his wife Mrs Gursharan Kaur broke a coconut and offered a prayer at the launch of the country’s first indigenous nuclear-powered attack submarine, INS Arihant, putting the country in an elite club that includes the USA, Russia, China, France and Britain.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the Navy had a major role to play in re-adjusting “our military preparedness”.

The launch of the 6,000-tonne, 110-metre long and 11-metre wide nuclear-powered submarine that can carry nearly 100 sailors comes 25 years after the project was initiated when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister.

In a clear message to Pakistan, the Prime Minister asserted that India did “not have any aggressive designs nor do we seek to threaten anyone. We seek an external environment in our region, and beyond that is conducive to our peaceful development and the protection of our value systems.”

Congratulating the personnel associated with the submarine, he said this was “a reflection of the immense technical expertise that exists in our country and the strength of our research and development organisations.” Dr Singh said the deep sea strategic capability was necessary in view of the increasing relevance of the sea in the country’s security scenario.

The dockyard where the submarine was housed was flooded before the vessel could be tugged out. Officials said it would take two years of sea trials before the vessel is commissioned into the navy. The steel for the submarine was cut in 1998.

Defence minister Mr AK Antony said the “present situation in our neighbourhood” demanded greater acquisition of strategic assets. Though neither the PM nor Mr Antony named China, the launch of INS Arihant was a clear message since China has the biggest navy in Asia.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mahavir Jain Vidyalay to set up management institute

VADODARA: Ninety-five-year old Mumbai-based Shri Mahavira Jaina Vidyalaya (SMJV) will make its direct entry into higher education here by starting a management institute in the city. Established by prominent Jain philanthropists, SMJV presently runs eleven hostels across India. Now, the trust will start CK Shah Vijapurwala Institute of Management (CKSV), for which it has registered Shri Mahavira Jaina Vidyalaya Education Foundation at Mumbai.

The Wi-Fi campus which will be inaugurated on Sunday is coming up with Rs five crore investment excluding the cost of land, which is owned by the trust at Pratapnagar.
"The institute will have 60 seats in Master of Business Administration (MBA), which will be a two year full time post graduate degree programme, approved by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in affiliation with Gujarat Technological University (GTU) from the academic year 2009-10. Admission to MBA is through GCET 2009," said its director Dr Rajesh Khajuria. The institute has facilities that exceed requirements stated by AICTE, said Khajuria.

"AICTE allows setting up a MBA institute on less than 8,000 square feet of land. We are starting the institute on 25,000 square feet. AICTE guidelines state that there should be 1,100 books in the library, one director and three faculties. We are starting the institute with 1,200 plus books and 166 e-books apart from one director, four faculties and various visiting faculties," said Khajuria.

The institute is also getting membership of the Association of Indian Management Schools, CII, FGI, VCCI and BMA for industry interaction.

Trustees of the institute are also approaching GTU with a proposal to have ten management quota seats reserved for students of Vadodara district. At the same time, it is setting up four research centres Centre of Excellence in Knowledge Management (proposed in collaboration with IT industries), Centre of Excellence in Communication, Centre for Small & Medium Enterprise Development and Centre for Executive Education & Skill Development all of which will be run in collaborations with industry, government, banks and NGOs.

"It is dream come true for the alumni of SMJV," said SMJV alumni, Vadodara, Divyang Shah, adding that over 15,000 students of SMJV are working across the world.

Parshwanath Vidyapeeth hot pick of foreign students

VARANASI: The International School for Jain Studies (ISJS), Parshwanath Vidyapeeth, Karaundi, is nowadays frequented by foreign students from various countries to study Jain philosophy.

In the recent past, two groups of foreign students from countries like the US, UK, Belgium, Japan, Thailand and Norway made visits for study purpose.

According to Dr SP Pandey, director in-charge of Parshwanath Vidyapeeth, the first group of 13 foreign students was on an education tour from June 14 to 19 while the second group of 12 students stayed for study purpose from June 30 to July 11. Lectures of noted scholars like Prof Anne Valley, department of Religious Studies, University Ottawa, Canada, Prof SN Upadhyay, director, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Prof RS Ambasht, professor emeritus at BHU, and others were organised for them.

The Parshwanath Vidyapeeth, established in 1937 as an Institute of Indology, is an institution of higher learning in Jain Studies.

Remains are of a Jain temple, says monk

Vadodara: The remnants of an ancient temple, which were found on the SSG hospital premises during digging a few days back, are of an ancient Jain temple. This was claimed by a Jain monk who visited the site on Monday. The remnants included an arc, some carved stones and an idol.

MSU vice-chancellor, Ramesh Goel, has appointed a committee to investigate the matter and submit a detailed report in this regard.

The remnants were found while digging was going on for construction of an auditoriumat the SSG hospital. Dr Adish Jain, who was passing by the place, saw the sand stones found at the site.
On a close look, he was astonished to see carvings on the stone. He immediately informed senior officials of the hospital about it, and soon the archaeology department officials were informed about the remnants.

According to a team of archaeology department, which visited the spot, it was difficult to state whether the remnants were of a Jain temple or Hindu temple, as the architecture of both kinds of temples are more or less the same.

Senior members of the Jain Youth Association, along with Jain monk Niranjansagar Suriswarji Maharaj Saheb visited the spot on Monday.

After observing the carvings and stones, he said these were the remnants of a Jain temple. Talking to DNA, association's principal Deepak Shah said, "The remnants belong to a jain temple, thought to be of the pre-Moghul era. MSU V-C, along with senior members of the university also visited the spot. He has appointed a committee to investigate the matter and file a detailed report. We have demanded conservation of the temple's remnants as this is a part of our ancient heritage."

It may be noted at this juncture that in 1992-93 idol of a Jain Tirthankar was found during the stone installation ceremony of the urological department at the SSG hospital. In 2001-02, some other sandstones were also found on the hospital premises. According to investigations, they belonged to 14th century. Before that, some coins and an idol were found in 1951-52 from the SSG hospital premises.

The archaeology department has initiated investigations to get information about the remnants found.

Remnants of Jain Temple found from hospital

Vadodara: The remnants of an ancient temple were found while digging ground near the nursing hostel of SSG Hospital here.

The remnants contain an arc, some carved stones and an idol. After preliminary investigations, the remnants are believed to be of a Jain temple.

While digging of ground for the construction of an auditorium at SSG hospital was going on, some sand stones were found along with the soil. Dr Adish Jain, who was passing by the place, saw the stones. He found them interesting and when he took a close look at them, he was astonished to see carvings on the stones.

He immediately informed senior officials of the hospital about it, and soon archaeology department officials were informed about the remains.

A team of archaeology department rushed to the spot, and during investigations found an arc, an idol and some carved stones from the site. According to archaeology officials, it was difficult to say whether the remnants belonged to a Jain temple or Hindu temple as their architecture are more or less the same.

Talking to DNA, ex-superintendent and dean of the hospital Dr Kamal Pathak said, "It is for the third time that the remnants of a temple have been found from this area of the SSG hospital.
In 1992-93, an idol of a Jain tirthankar was found during the stone installation ceremony of the urological department at the hospital. In 2001-02, too, some other remnants of sandstones were found from the hospital premises.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jains Congregate at Buena Park Temple

BUENA PARK, CA - Over 2,000 delegates from all over the country, Canada and India converged on the holiday weekend for the 15th Biennial JAINA Convention held at the Jain Center in here from July 2 to 5. While the number appears to be large, in reality this figure actually represents a drop in attendance compared to the 5,000 attendees at previous conventions in recent years. The fall was due to the financial downturn the country is still reeling under. Officials speaking at the opening ceremony explained that these are the circumstances that prompted them to move the event from the Anaheim Convention Center to the Jain Center to conserve financial resources.

The change of venue did not in any way diminish the spirit of the event and the huge congregation gathered for four days of educational, religious, social and entertainment activities with a host of programs filling up the days. The theme of the convention was “Ecology – the Jain Way,” a subject most appropriate for the present times when the future of the planet itself is at enormous risk on account of rampant overuse of natural resources and excessive emissions. The three keynote speakers at the convention spoke on the Jain Way of Going Green – a concept which has been an integral component of the religion from the time of Lord Mahavira.

“ I stand before you as a Jain and not an American” said Dr Gary Francione, Distinguished Professor from Rutgers University in his keynote address at the opening ceremony on July 3 morning which was met with thunderous applause. What is needed today ,he proclaimed, is a change of heart, adherence to the tenets of Jainism and the practice of ahimsa . Carrying the concept still further he appealed to all Jains to consider giving up all dairy foods because he stated “ there is more suffering in a glass of milk than in a pound of steak,” with an explanation of the suffering endured by cows and calves when separated to produce milk and milk products commercially.

Speaking with occasional touches of humor on the serious subject “ Nurturing Nature Back to the Past,” Dr Jagdish Sheth, Professor at Emory University expounded on the urgent need to understand the dynamics of nature and nurturing it as against radical attempts to changing its processes for short term gains. He referred to Jainism as a “scientific” religion in that it recognizes nature in its principle of “ live and let live” and suggested that Jains should not hesitate to market its beliefs to make people aware of the need of cooperating with nature for the well being of the planet.

In his keynote address on July 4, Dr Dipak C Jain , Professor at Northwestern University provided valuable tips on how to exercise restraint on usage of valuable resources such as water and power in one’s day to day life. He spoke on how core Jain principles combined with proper faith, knowledge and conduct can serve as a valuable framework to cultivate enlightened leadership to address a range of global issues.

Participants to the convention started arriving by the afternoon of July 2 which started with pujas and ended with Raas Garba. The official program commenced the next morning with a colorful procession around the temple with ladies singing songs and dancing to the beat of a dhol. Several dignitaries also joined the march along with a few hundred attendees , many bearing bright standards with the name of the chapter they represented.

The business segments of the event started with the recital of the Namkar Mantra and the Manglacharan. The event received the blessing of Gurudev Chitrabhanu , the pioneering Jain monk who brought the Jain message to America. He said he was very happy to have been able to see his dream in the mid 1960s of the Jain dharma take root and establish itself in the USA come true.

Hamilton Brewart, the main sponsor with $51,000 lit the inaugural lamp.

Conveners Rashmi Shah, Dr.Nitin Shah and Lata Champsee, President of JAINA , Dilip Shah, Jain Center of California President Ashok Savla and Founder President of Jain Center, Southern California Mahendra Khandhar also spoke on the occasion.

The convention was loaded with several discourses and discussions moderated and led by prominent speakers and experts on a variety of subjects apart from 14 specific sessions on ecology and going green. Meetings were held concurrently , 4 at a time in both the Jain Center and the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fullerton.

Several competitive Jaina Awards were presented to individuals during the Convention , selected by a committee from nominations received from all over US and Canada. The prestigious Jaina Ratna Award went to Dr Sulekh Jain from Sugar Land , TX and the Jaina Recognition Awards for Adults were picked up by Amita Desai(Anaheim,CA), Narendra Jain(Torrance,CA), Rakesh Jain (Columbus,OH), Mayur Mehta ( Clarksville TN,) Kirit Shah ( Edison, NJ), Nilesh Shah(Clarksville,MD) Pravin Turakhia (Fremont,CA) Hamir Vadi(Mountainside NJ) and Rasik Vagadia( Foxboro,MA) . Corresponding youth awards were presented to Naman Jain ( Norwood,MA), Rajiv Jain (Odenton,MD) Pina Mehta (Tustin,CA), Parinda Shah (Schaumburg ,IL), and Shaneshi Shah ( Torrance,CA). The Jaina Presidential Awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the community were presented to Udai C Jain (Sugar Land . TX), the longest serving member of the JAINA Executive Committee and to Mahendra G Mehta( Mumbai, India) who established the Ratna Nidhi Charitable Trust 2 decades ago with a vision to tackle problems of poverty in Mumbai.

The entertainment highlights included the world premiere of the play “ Siddha Hem” based on the life of Acharya Hemchendra Charya and a Bollywood show “ Black” presented by 10 blind performers. There were fun activities for children and adults of different age groups which comprised cruises, dancing, treasure hunts, movies, stand up comedies and a mega mela at the hotel with 10 stalls for games. One of the most popular features among the youth were the morning Masala Bhangra workouts conducted by the Sarina Jain. Numerous stalls were also set up on the premises of the Jain Center with vendors providing various products and services.

Education loan for Jains

Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) has launched a loan scheme to encourage Jain students to pursue higher studies.

Under the JITO Educational Loan Programme, the organization has joined hands with Oriental Bank of Commerce to provide loans up to Rs 20 lakh for international studies and up to Rs 10 lakh for higher education in India. For all students who avail loans of up to Rs 1 lakh, JITO will contribute a significant portion of the interest amount. JITO president Hemant Shah said loans worth Rs 25 crore will be disbursed this year. For more details, log on to

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jains are Gentle, Non-violent - Dhananjay Kumar

Bangalore, Jun 30: "The policy of the Jains is to live and let others live. They are gentle, soft-spoken and do not expect anything from others," said V Dhanjay Kumar, special representative of the state government at New Delhi.

He was speaking at the valedictory ceremony of Jain Sanskriti Festival being held at Jain Bhavan here. Kumar added that the Jains never create problems or harm for others. "Jains believe that the Lord can be appeased by causing as little hurt as possible, to other living beings. They try to lead an ideal life by following the principles and preachings of Jainism. They also have dedicated themselves to the welfare of the society," he explained. He claimed, that the Jains who belong to minority community, make use of the little opportunities that come their way and never approach the government with a request for favour or facilities.

South Indian Jain Mahasabha president Kallappanna Awade in his address felt that organizing of Jain Festivals often is advantageous as it provides a forum for the Jains to come together.
On the occasion, Dharmasthala Surendra Kumar was conferred with the titles, 'Samaja Ratna' and 'Sanghatana Sarvabhouma'. Karnataka Jain Sangh president S Jitendra Kumar was honoured with 'Shravaka Ratna' award.

Shravana Belagola Charukeerti Bhattaraka Swamiji, scholar Dr Hampa Nagaranaiah and many other dignitaries participated.

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