Friday, September 18, 2009

Jains should not be rivals in polls

Ashutosh Shukla

Mumbai: Jain sadhus want the community to exploit its collective strength in the state assembly elections. They have urged Jains not to contest against one another; instead,they should vote for the same candidate.

Community leaders claim that one in five voters in Mumbai and its suburbs is a Jain. According to their estimates, of around 98 lakh voters in 36 constituencies in the city, 18-19 lakh are Jains.

The sadhus' advice, which the community usually accepts, comes amid reports that two prominent Jains may be fielded by the Congress and the BJP from the posh Malabar Hill constituency.

The BJP is believed to be considering the names of sitting MLA Mangat Prabhat Lodha, a Marwari, and Shaina NC. Surendra Savai and Rajkumar Bafna, both Jains, are believed to be in the race for the Congress ticket.

At a meeting on September 12, community leaders decided that no two Jains should contest against one another.

Savai claims to have withdrawn from the race for the Congress ticket.

"Jains and Marwaris are from the same place -- Rajasthan. Marwaris have more or less the same culture as Jains, so we do not want two members of the community to fight against each other," said Ganivarya Nai Padmasagarji Maharaj, who is the force behind the "one community one voice" campaign.

Suryodayasagar Suriswar Maharaj, a sadhu, said: "For us, the party does not matter. One who favours non-violence and respects life will get our support."

Savai said: "I was sure of getting the Congress ticket, but withdrew after the Guruji's aadesh."

Savai, who is said to be close to the Deoras, could have ruined the chances of Lodha, community members say.

Lodha is considered part of the extended Jain family. He had defeated Sushil Kumar Shinde's son-in-law Raj Shroff in the 2004 assembly polls.

It's not clear whether Bafna has also withdrawn from the race for the Congress ticket.
The community leaders say of the 2.8 lakh voters in Malabar Hill, one lakh are Jains. Besides, 40,000 to 50,000 Gujarati-Marwari voters will also support a Jain candidate, Nai Padmasagarji Maharaj said.

"Borivili, Kandivili, Vile Parle, Mira Bhayander, Ghatkopar and Sion Koliwada have a sizeable Jain population, whose votes could influence results," he said, adding that the community votes could prove decisive in at least 16 assembly segments.

The Sadhus have also asked Jains in other parts of Maharashtra to not contest against one another. The Jain population in the state is pegged at around 42 lakh.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jain festival in Kumari district

Yogesh Kabirdoss

Chitaral Jain Temple in Kanyakumari district, where the Department
of Tourism intends to conduct the Jain Temple Tourism Festival–09
on September 6.

CHENNAI: In a bid to showcase Tamil Nadu’s unique Jain monuments that stand testimony to a cultural past that saw the religion propounded by Mahavira flourishing for several centuries in various parts of the State, the tourism department is organising a ‘Jain Temple Tourism Festival’ at a remote village called Chitharal in Kanyakumari district on Sunday.

An initiative of the State secretary of tourism, Dr V Irai Anbu, the festival is the first of its kind event in Tamil Nadu that will ultimately turn the various heritage Jain structures, hitherto unknown to tourists and visitors to the State, into places of tourist attraction and also a pilgrimage for followers of Jainism.

At Chitharal, situated near Marthandam, a huge cave with rock-cut sculptures of Jain Tirthankaras and attendant deities exemplify how Jainism has thrived and has spread close to the land’s end, 2000 years ago, and how much it has contributed to the religious and cultural heritage of the State.Though the cave, which have been carved in a hillock standing amidst a scenic landscape, was converted into a Bhagavathi Amman Temple around the 13th century, the Jain images have not been tampered with. The preserved relics will be the highlight of the festival, which will be marked by folk performances and cultural events.

The Department of Tourism has developed a pathway leading to the hillock, which is about 200 feet high, for the convenience of those visiting the cave that is likely to be added to the list of popular places of interest in the district.

Besides the Chitharal site, there are 13 other Jain monuments spread across the State from Kancheepuram to Kazhugumalai to Sittanavasal to Uthamapalayam. Each of these temple has a fascinating history to narrate. By popularising the heritage sites, the department of tourism expects the State’s profile as a tourist destination and also as a place for pilgrimage to undergo a sea change. That there is more than the historic temples, will draw more visitors to the places that have been hitherto neglected and not showcased appropriately.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jain Community to observe fast

Jalandhar Aug 29 In protest against the arrest of Sadhvi Chelna Devi for allegedly hurting religious sentiments, the Jain community of Punjab today announced that it would observe a fast tomorrow.

Vipin Jain, General Secretary of the Jain Temple in Jalandhar Cantonment, in a statement said Digambar Jain Sabha Punjab, a representative body of the community of the state, had decided that the community members would give up food for a day on Sunday.

Chelna Devi (50) delivered a religious discourse at the Jain Temple on late Thursday night during which she allegedly made comments against Maharishi Valmiki drawing the ire of the Valmiki community.

She was arrested under Section 3 of Prevention of Atrocities on SC/ST Act.

Jain Sadhvi arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments

Jalandhar: A Jain sadhvi was arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments of a community after her comments sparked violent protests in Jalandhar cantonment area where a complete bandh was observed today.

50-year-old Chelna Devi was remanded to judicial custody by the court today which said the case was not under its jurisdiction after she sought bail.

Angry locals armed with sticks took to streets and damaged some vehicles against the alleged comments made by the sadhvi against Maharishi Valmiki during a sermon at a Jain temple late last night.

The protesters dispersed after senior police officials assured them of necessary action.

Chelna was last night booked under section 295 A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) (to outrage religious feelings) but today DSP Parminder Singh told the court that the police had also slapped Section 3 of Prevention of Atrocities on SC/ST Act against her.

Jain Sadhvi's Remarks Creates Tension

Jalandhar, Aug 30 : Tension continued to prevail in the cantonment area of the city on the fourth day today even after the arrest of the Jain Sadhvi Chelna Didi of Jharkhand for her alleged derogatory remarks about Maharishi Valmiki during her discourse in the Digambar Jain Mandir on Thursday night which outraged the Valmiki community.

The activists of the Jain community made a futile attempt today for a complete bandh in the cantoment area. The police, however, did not allow the activists to use pressure tactics against the shopkeepers who opened their shops today.

The administration is worried over the religious procession (Shobha Yatra) to be taken out on September 3, when the week-long annual religious function of the Jain community in progress at the cantonment’s Digambar Jain Mandir will come to an end. In the procession, distinguished Jain Munis and prominent leaders of the Jain sect across the country are expected to participate.

In order to prevent any untoward incident and check violence the police have made elaborate security arrangements around the mandir.

The leaders of the Jain community have started parleys with the Valmiki leaders to resolve the matter.

Mr Sukhpal Jain, president of the mandir managing committee and Anup Jain said the community wanted to resolve the dispute so that the arrested Sadhvi could go to her home state without any legal complications. Meanwhile, the sermons restarted in the mandir today.

There are indications that leaders of the Valmiki organisations have softened their stand in view of the apology tendered on behalf of the Sadhvi, who was arrested on Friday last.

Jain Vishva Bharati Offers Degree Courses in Jainology

Nagaur, Rajasthan: Jain Vishva Bharati is the world’s first Jain University. The inspiring forces behind the establishment of Jain Vishva Bharati University (JVBU) were Gurudev Tulsi, Great seer, saint and scholar of modern era.

His holiness was the ninth Acharya, the supreme head of Jain Terapanth religious sect, comprising more than 700 monks and nuns, and millions of followers all over the country and abroad.

Transcending sectarian boundaries, he had been incessantly working during the last six decades for the welfare of mankind - eradicating social evils, reforming social customs, building up national character and educating the masses about the principles of non-violence Universal peace and brotherhood.

The institute JVBU was founded by Gurudev Tulsi in 1970. In 1991, Government of India notified Jain Vishva Bharati Institute as Deemed University under section 3 of University Grants Commission Act, 1956.

At present Acharya Mahaprajna (a great thinker, philosopher and writer, often described as walking encyclopedia of Jainology) is the Anushasta (The Preceptor) of JAIN VISHVA BHARATI University.

The institute is located at Ladnun, a small town in Nagaur District of Rajasthan, it is 380 kms. west of Delhi and 225 kms. north west of Jaipur. It is well served by deluxe and express bus services from Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Udaipur, Ajmer, Ahmadabad, Delhi and other cities. The nearest airports are Jaipur and Jodhpur.

The campus of JAIN VISHVA BHARATI, sponsoring body of JVBU, is spread over 1, 00, 600 sq. meters of area with trees on either side of the road and parks in the center.
Regular Courses:

Presently, JVBU offers regular, residential, two years post graduate degree courses and three year undergraduate courses commencing every year in the following disciplines:

1. M.A in Jainology and Comparative Religion & Philosophy
2. M.A in Prakrit and Jain Agama
3. M.A/ M.Sc. in Science of Living: Preksha Meditation, Yoga- Therapy
4. M.A in non-violence, Anuvrat, Peace Research
5. M.A in Social Work
6. A certificate course in “SCIENCE OF LIVING” and “PREKSHA

MEDITATION” of one month classroom teaching and two months correspondence is held every year during summer season.
Distance Learning Courses:

The University offers correspondence courses in the following disciplines:-

1. MA in Jainology and Comparative Religion & Philosophy. (Same syllabus as regular course)
2. BA with special emphasis on Jainology and allied Subjects: -
Syllabus covers Jainology and Prakrit as Major subjects and Sanskrit, Science of living, Non- violence and peace as electives.
Capsule Course for Foreigners:

On demand from various scholars of some foreign countries, JAIN VISHVA BHARATI INSTITUTE has planned a 21-day -residential capsule courses on ‘Doctrine and Application of Jainology, Non-Violence, Peace, Science of Living and Preksha Meditation’. Those desirous of attending the course may write to the Registrar, JVBU so that the detailed program could be sent to them individually as soon as possible.
Eligibility, Fee Structure and Admission Procedure

Post Graduate Courses: Applicants should be graduate in any discipline having secured at least 50% marks in aggregate (5% relaxation in case of ST/SC/OBC/Women).Candidates appearing in final year exams may also apply.

Undergraduate Courses: Applicants should have passed 10+2 or equivalent examination from any recognized University or board with minimum 50% of marks in aggregate(5%relaxation in case of SC/ST/OBC/Women).
Admission Test and Interviews:

Test and interviews followed by group discussion is held in the month of June - July every year.For Prospectus cum application form applicants may apply to the Registrar during April and May.The Entrance examination is based on objective General Knowledge and Hindi or English.

Facilities Available:

Central Library: The JVBU’s Central Library known as “Vardhman Granthagar” has over 40,000 books and over 5,000 rare manuscripts. A large number of journals and periodicals are regularly subscribed.

Computer Center: The institute has a well equipped Computer center. Regular students can selectively avail the facility.

Hostel: The institute has co-education. Hostel facility is available to those coming from outside the boys hostel is housed in “AMRITAYAN” an elegant spread out structure on Sadhna Marg .Women’s hostel is in “GAUTAM GYANSHALA” on sewabhavi Marg.

Yoga and Meditation Center: The above center is located in “Tulsi Adhyatma Needam” and offers theoretical and practical training to build spiritual cum scientific personality. There are 60 Meditation room here.

Ayurvedic dispensary: An Ayurvedic Pharmacy research and dispensary for the free treatment of patients is located at the JVBU campus where herbal medicines are also prepared.

Audio visual Center: There is an Audio visual educational center for recording lectures, sermons of holy saints and scholars, discussion and seminars known as “AMRITVANI”

Guest Houses: There are three guest houses for the accommodation of guests coming from outside they are “SATKAR” “SAGAR” and “SUMERU”.

Extension & Training wing: The institute has a separate training cell run in collaboration with Jeevan Vigyan Academy for providing exposure to “Science of Living” and “Preksha Meditation” and provides training to teachers, students, administrators, Police personnel and all those who are interested in it.

Research/Project wing: This research wing focuses on study and research in oriental learning particularly in Jainology under the able guidance of its Anusastha. The critical edition of all Jain Agamas has been prepared in Hindi and English.

Career Prospects:

After successful completion of M.A or M.Sc. degree a student may opt for further Ph.D. degree in the institute with attractive fellowships.

The subject of ‘Science of Living, Preksha Meditation, and Yoga Therapy’ is becoming increasingly popular all over the world. Jeevan Vigyan Academy has various centers, and there is a demand for resource persons for teaching in these centers.

Those qualified in this subject can also become counselors in hospitals, medical institutions, social welfare organization and consultants in industrial houses or may run their own training center or practice as a consultant in the area of Preksha Meditation and Yoga. With the inclusion of Science of Living as a subject in value- education in schools run by Govt. of Rajasthan and Govt. of Delhi, the students may find employment opportunity in such schools.

The subject of ‘Non-Violence, Anuvrat, and Peace Research’ is highly relevant in modern society riddled with Tensions, conflicts, agitation and terrorism. Those qualified in this subject may be usefully employed by non- governmental institutions engaged in rural upliftment, Environmental promotion, value-education, conflict resolution, crime prevention etc.

They can also serve as moral and spiritual guides in international organizations working for social equality, social justice and world peace.

Subjects of ‘Jainology and comparative Religion &Philosophy’ and Prakrit &Jain Agama are all included in NET and SLET examination conducted by UGC and state govt. A student may get job in schools, colleges, Universities especially meant for Oriental studies all over the world.

The subject of ‘Social work’ can offer remedial and rehabilitate services to avert sufferings of individuals, groups and communities on account of exploitation, injustice and deprivation, which can bring social change and development in the society.

The profession has successfully established its utility in handling practical problems as rural development, tribal welfare, development of SC/ST/OBC, women welfare, sex and child abuse, poverty and unemployment, conflict resolution, slum improvement, labor welfare and marriage counseling.

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