Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bhagwan Mahaveer International Peace Award

Sarhad, Pune based renowned institution working for peace and harmony between people living in Punjab & Kashmir and rest of India, has decided to present Bhagwan Mahaveer International Peace Award from next year. This was announced by Sanjay Nahar, Founder President of Sarhad.

This award will be presented to the person who has devoted his/her life to promote non-violence on International level, especially who is working for peace and progress in South Asia. Simultaneously, 5 persons will be awarded by Bhagwan Mahaveer Life Time Achievement Award. All these awards will be presented every second year, starting from 2011.

The list of awardees for year 2009-2011 will be declared in January 2011. A selection committee headed by Dr. Abdul Kalam, ex-president of India, is being formed. There will be 11 members in the selection committee, out of which 6 members will be from all over India and 5 from the rest of the world.

A special center of Sarahad Research Center for Counter Terrorism, Conflict and Peace Management will be formed which will research, publish and implement useful teachings of Bhagwan Mahaveer for uniting and bonding people, states and countries.

Read About Sanjay Nahar and other prominent Jains at:

-Mahavir Sanglikar

Monday, September 13, 2010

7th Jain History Conference on 21-23rd January 2011

7th Jain History Conference will be held on 21, 22 and 23 January 2010 at Walchandnagar, District Pune of Maharashtra. Scholars of Jain History from everywhere will present their research papers in the conference.

Walchandnagar is 125 KM. away from Pune and you can go there by public or private vehicles.

If you are interested in reading your research paper, you are welcome. The research papers must be associated to Jain history. The subjects may be Religious/ Political/ Social history, archeology, art, literature, contribution to Indian culture, regional history, ancient / medieval/ modern history, Prehistory etc. The research papers should be in Marathi or Hindi language.

For more details, please contact any of the following persons:

Pro. Dr. Gajkumar Shah
President, Maharashtra Jain Itihas Parishad: 0 962 302 4372

Shrenik Annadate
Secretary, Maharashtra Jain Itihas Parishad: 0 986 750 8814

Jaykumar Kshirsagar
Chief Secretary of the Conference: 940 313 5921

Sunday, September 5, 2010

UK Jains Prepare To Celebrate Traditional Festival

UK Jains Prepare To Celebrate Traditional Festival
By Emma Foster, Community Newswire

Jains across the UK are preparing to celebrate their most important festival, Paryushan and Daslakshana.
It is a festival of forgiveness and repentance celebrated by two Jain sects at different times.

The Shvetambara Jains call the festival Paryushan, and they will begin their celebrations on Saturday. It lasts for eight days, ending on September 11 with the Universal Day of Forgiveness.

The Digambara Jains will celebrate the Daslakshana festival from September 12 to 21.

The theme of the festival is reflection and it is supposed to be a time to take stock of actions and repent for any misdeeds or violence. Fasting is common, with many Jains not eating for the entire eight days.

Tushar Shah, president of the Oshwal Association of the UK (OAUK), a Jain community organisation, said: "During Paryushan, people all over the UK make an effort to do something at least to connect to their heritage.
"At our branches in London, the energy is of deep introspection and reflection, and we can literally see a transformation happening among our members during this period.

"Fasting for eight days without any food whatsoever is not easy, yet more than 100 accomplish this every year. This shows their discipline and determination."

There are approximately 35,000 Jains living in Britain, and there are temples and community centres all over the UK in London, Leicester, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Where the community does not have a base, they often hire a local school or community hall to celebrate.
Every day during the festival there will be prayers and lectures from learned people, many of whom come from India especially for this occasion.

Dr Peter Flugel, director of the Centre for Jaina Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, said: "It is extraordinary that this living tradition is so alive and vibrant in the UK, despite being so far from its homeland in India. Jains are very committed to keeping their culture alive."

Lord Dholakia said: "The Jains are an important national barometer for peace in Britain and their presence in the country is critical to our diverse culture."

Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. The Oshwal Association of the UK is a Jain charity with about 25,000 members. For more information visit

Saturday, September 4, 2010

God Did Not Create the Universe : Stephen Hawking

British physicist Stephen Hawking says God was not necessary for the creation of the universe, just as Charles Darwin eliminated the necessity of God from biology.

In an exclusive interview, the science monthly Eureka of The Times of London released Thursday excerpts from Hawking’s new book “The Grand Design.” He asks the question “Did the Universe need a creator?” in a book whose title seems to imply the intelligent design theory.

Hawking`s answer? No.
He says the Big Bang was the inevitable result of the laws of physics, not something explained by the hand of God or coincidence. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.

Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist, he writes.”

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

His new book breaks from his previous views on religion expressed in his 1988 bestseller “A Brief History of Time.” Back then, he said God could co-exist with a scientific explanation of the universe, saying, “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we should know the mind of God.”

Co-authored with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, “The Grand Design” deconstructs the Newtonian view that the universe could not have risen out of chaos but was created by God.

Hawking said the first reason is the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than the sun.

“That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of earth-sun distance and solar mass, far less remarkable, and far less compelling evidence that the earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings. Not just other planets like the earth, other universes may exist,” he said.

You don't need a God to create a universe: Stephen Hawking

You don't need a God to create a universe:
Stephen Hawking
September 3rd, 2010 11:10 am ET

By Dennis Bodzash

Famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has created quite a stir of late in his most recent book, The Grand Design, in which he argues that the Big Bang, which created the universe as we know it (at least according to scientists), did not require divine help.

In fact, the book sets out to contradict Issac Newton, the deeply religious founder of modern physics, who believed that God created the universe. Hawking's latest work also contradicts his earlier book, A Brief History of Time, in which Hawking seems to accept that there could have been some divine intervention involved in the creation of the universe.

However, for Hawking, recent scientific advances since this book (especially the discovery of other planets/solar systems) have helped dispel the notion that we humans, and even our solar system itself, is anything special. Instead, as scientists make more and more discoveries, we continually seem to become more and more a cosmic accident.

In his new book, Hawking explains his belief that the law of gravity is what can spur spontaneous creation, thus the Big Bang, and therefore everything that exists today.

Obviously, such statements will get some people riled up at the mere thought of them. However, the good thing about living in a democratic society is that, for the most part, free inquiry, and free choice, are both equally valued, which means that we can investigate what we want and believe what we want without risk of persecution, unlike in the past.

So what do you think? Did God create the universe? Did the cosmos create itself? Is there even a God at all? Drop a comment (you don't have to be a member) and make your opinion heard!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ordinary people and their lives inspire filmmaker Sona Jain

How in the world did you manage to make a movie like this? You’re not even married,” writer-director Vishal Bhardwaj had said after the screening of my film, For Real,” says 34-year-old filmmaker Sona Jain. “I am single and yet managed to decode the life of a married couple. I guess it’s because I wrote it from a child’s point of view,” she adds. The film, which took nine years to complete, is what Jain describes as a “side-effect of her years in New York as a film student”.

If she managed to capture the layers marriages and relationships contain, Jain says it’s because she is a people watcher. “I love to meet and interact with people. The beauty of life lies in the dynamics of human interaction,” says Jain, having already garnered critical acclaim at various international festivals for her film. Seen from the eyes of a six-year-old, For Real is an entertaining yet moving take on everything that is going around her. Revolving around the lives of a busy workaholic father and a mother who has lost her sense of being, For Real is a movie that zooms into the lives of real people. “These writings are my take on relationships. An artist never gives up the child in her,” she says. “For Real happened when I got homesick and started writing stories about Delhi and of this little girl. When you are writing without any agenda, magical things may happen.”

Jain Tirthankara idol found in riverbed near Vedaranyam

NAGAPATTINAM: An 11th-century idol of a Jain Tirthankara has been found in a riverbed near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district.

The stone idol, about two feet tall, was found without its head. Experts who inspected it felt that the head could have been knocked off by vandals. However, the possibility of accidental wreckage could not be ruled out as well, they added.

"The Tirthankara is found on a pedestal in a sitting, meditative (dhyana) posture. The pedestal has been carved like a lion throne. In the rear side, floral symbols have been carved. The sculpture could be that of the 24th Jain Tirthankara belonging to the later Chola period," said G Thillai Govindarajan, a member of the team that found the idol.

The idol was found in the riverbed of the Mulliyar at Panchanathikulam near Vedaranyam in a face-down position. Villagers who were not aware that it was an idol were using it as a washing stone for years. However, B Jambulingam, working as a superintendent in Tamil University, Thanjavur, and Govindarajan, headmaster of a panchayat union middle school, found the idol during one of their recent field studies.

Some other parts of the idol were also found damaged, including one of the arm-rests of the throne, Govindarajan said. Images of yakshas' have been carved on either side of the Tirthankara. Similar idols of Jain preceptors have been found in many places in Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Nagapatinam areas, indicating the prevalence of Jainism in this region. Sithannavasal in Pudukottai is an abode of Jainism.

Courtasy: Times of India

No Jain temple was burnt in Kashmir: officials

Shujaat Bukhari

The temporary structure housing a Jain temple in a local hotel was not burnt by a mob but was dismantled as a local hotel's contract with a Mumbai-based travel agency which built the structure on its premises has not been renewed.

In the wake of reports in newspapers around India that the only Jain temple in Kashmir had been burnt by mobs leading the ongoing protests in the Valley, hotel and State officials told The Hindu that no such incident had taken place.

According to Ghulam Mohiuddin, manager of Silver Star Hotel in Lasjan on the outskirts of Srinagar, the temporary structure was built as per contract with Gem Tours and Travels, a Mumbai-based travel agency, which wanted to provide a place where Jain tourists from other parts of India could worship while visiting Kashmir.

“But the three-year contract ended and was not extended, so the structure was also dismantled,” he said. The temple was established to attract Jain tourists. “As the situation in the Valley worsened and the tourist inflow declined, the contract was not renewed and we thought there is no need for this,” he added. The 8x8 pre-fabricated structure was dismantled in the presence of the priest, Hans Raj, on August 10.

Mr. Mohiuddin categorically denied that the temple was burnt or destroyed by a mob. “This is just not true. It is a fact that a large mob passed through this area also but no one entered our premises so the question of touching the temple does not arise,” he told The Hindu. Before the hotel management decided to remove the structure, the owners of the travel agency were contacted through the priest Hans Raj, who hails from Uttar Pradesh. “The idols were removed and properly handed over to them when they arrived in Srinagar the next day,” he said, adding the rumours seemed to be a conspiracy to spread hatred against Kashmiris.

Deputy Commissioner (Srinagar) Meraj Kakroo also rubbished reports about the Jain temple being attacked. “The report about the burning of the temple is baseless and mischievous,” he said. He added that no proper temple existed and “as per our information, it was an internal arrangement made by the hotel owners.”

Members of the community said there is, in fact, no Jain temple in Kashmir. While there were 40-odd Jain families living in the Valley prior to militancy, only five have stayed back. “There is no Jain temple here, though a family has set up one in their house,” Amit Jain, a businessman, said.

Repeated attempts by this correspondent to get a response from Gem Tours and Travels drew a blank. However, a local news portal, Kashmir Dispatch, reported that a team from the Doshi family, which built the temple, flew in to Srinagar the day after it was dismantled.

“They packed the idols in cardboard boxes and returned to Sabarmati,” it said. “It was not burnt and [the newspaper which said it was] will come out with a corrigendum,” the portal quoted Jyotin Doshi, Chairman of Gem Tours, as saying. “The structure was broken; we don't know by whom, we had a contract with the hotel for five years under which the temple was built on the hotel property,” he said.

Courtosy: The Hindu

Vineet Jain Becomes PTI Chairman

The Board of Directors of Press Trust of India (PTI), the premier news agency of the country, has elected Vineet Jain as the new Chairman. The announcement was made at the 62nd annual general meeting of the PTI shareholders held at New Delhi. Jain succeeds Vijay Kumar Chopra, Editor of the Punjab Kesari Group.

Jain is the Managing Director of The Times of India (TOI) Group. Prior to being announced the Chairman Jain held the position of Vice Chairman in the PTI Board. Under his leadership the TOI Group has witnessed phenomenal growth in the print sector and expansion to the newer ventures in online, radio and television service. This is Jain’s second stint as the Chairman to PTI board, earlier he served as the PTI Chairman in 2002-2003.

Simultaneously M.P. Veerendrakumar, Chairman and Managing Director of the Mathrubhumi Group has been named as the Vice Chairman for the year. He is former Member of Parliament and Union Minister as well as served as President of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS).

Other members on the board of PTI are are Vijay Kumar Chopra (Hind Samachar), N. Ravi (The Hindu), R. Lakshmipathy (Dinamalar), Aveek Kumar Sarkar (Ananda Bazar Patrika), Shekhar Gupta (Indian Express), K.N. Shanth Kumar (Deccan Herald), Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Jagran Prakashan), Hormusji N. Cama (Bombay Samachar), Riyad Mathew (Malayala Manorama) and Sanjoy Narayan (Hindustan Times). The Directors from outside the newspaper industry are Professor E.V. Chitnis, Justice S.P. Bharucha and Fali S. Nariman.

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