Friday, August 9, 2013

Jain Workshop at Houston TX

Workshop Theme
STRIKING A BALANCE: - EXAMINING Social, Cultural, and Spiritual environment that our youth face while growing up in North America.
Dates – August 16, 2013 to August 18, 2013
Time – August 16 Friday 7 PM to 9 PM and August 17 and 18 - 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Location – Jain Society of Houston (Big Trailer)
The workshop will be most beneficial to Pathashala teachers, potential teachers and any adults who are open minded to understand the principles of Jainism and their applications in American culture environment.  The Workshop is open to all.
Workshop Moderator
Pravin K Shah, Chairperson Jaina Education Committee and Jain eLibrary in-charge.
Workshop Coordinators –
Chini Mehta at (832)584-4327 or Smita Bora at
Registration required but no fee:(Limited space available).
Overview of Jain Workshop
After the first few sessions on Jain axioms and fundamental principles, the workshop delves into the brain storming and discussion on powerful and thought provoking questions that have no absolute answers.  It includes the social and cultural perceptions as well as stereotypes and generalizations from both youth and adult’s perspective.
The discussion will provide insights into questions that are important to our youth in order to develop them spiritually, ethically, and socially in the western world.
While often difficult to reconcile divergent influences, it is critical to understand the distinctions and strike a balance amongst Indian heritage, Jain religion, spirituality and Western lifestyle.
We will be digging deep, challenging ourselves/our limiting beliefs and exploring new possibilities. Regardless of your current level of understanding, you are bound to walk away with a new expanded view.
List of Questions
We have compiled the list of questions that our youth, young Jain professionals, Pathashala teachers, and adult community have asked us over the past 10 years of time. The following two links contain the listings of all such questions.
During the workshop we will be discussing these questions and their possible answers using the fundamental principles of Jainism.  Keep in mind that some questions are not easy to answer and some questions may have more than one answer.  Also for some questions we may not have enough knowledge of Jainism to answer.
If you have any question that is not being covered in the above two lists, please send your question using the following link:
I would also like to put together a team of Scholars and Pathashala teachers from North America to work on the answers of these questions.  We need to prepare the answers appropriate to our time, place, and circumstances and not violating the fundamental principles of Jainism.  If any of you have an interest to work on this team, please send me an email.  (Qualification - You should be living in North America and have raised families here.)
Prerequisite for the Workshop
Please read the Jaina Education material Reference book – Jainism 101 (JES 901/902) located at the following link
Future Workshop
I will be conducting similar sessions every day during Paryushana in London UK organized by the Jain Network (Dr. Natubhai Shah - and Young Jains UK organizations.
If your Jain center would like to organize such workshop, please contact Pravin K Shah
Brett Evans’s Article on “A Perspective on Panjarapoles (Animal Shelter) of India”
We have received about 80 email responses around the world basically appreciating his work.  Brett is trying hard to respond individually.  However he will prepare general answer that will be distributed in next week.
Pathashala Presentations at the Jaina Convention
We have uploaded the Pathshala presentation of 18 different Jain centers of North America that we have received at the Jaina convention.  Now you will be able to see the various activities of different Jain Centers of North America at the following link.
If you want to modify/change your existing information, please send us a new file and we will replace it on the website.  If your center has not provided its presentation, please do it now and we will upload it on the website.
If you have any questions, please fill free to contact at

Pravin K Shah
Jaina Education Committee
Jain eLibrary.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Goof up by Jains in the Hindu-Jain dispute at Shri Girnar ji Siddhakshetra

Dear fellow Jains,
Jay Jinendra

Here at Shri Mahavirji Digambara Jain Atishay Kshetra, Shri Mahavirji, Rajasthan, - a seminar (sangoshthi) with ~ 80 participants was organized on June 8-9, 2013 on the Girnarji Hindu – Jain dispute [where on January 1, 2013 Jain Muni Prabal Sagarji was gravely assaulted by Muktanandgiri, the Jains are not allowed to have equal right as to Hindus to worship at 5 th peak (known as Neminath Tunk and also as Dattatrey Tunk) and the Jains face many other problems and harassment during pilgrim].

During this seminar colored pamphlets (small booklet) were distributed in which it was mentioned at many places that despite efforts of many prominent leaders of Jain Community the Interim Order of Gujarat High Court dated February 17, 2005 is not being implemented by Gujarat Government therefore Jains are getting all these problems and it was projected as if most of their problems will be solved if this order is implemented.

I requested the participants of this seminar to provide me the copy of this Interim Order and on June 20, 2013 I got this order copy (which I can email if your email ID is SMSed at 07829074704) from one of the participant (advocate in this matter) and I am surprised to see this Interim Order. In fact this Interim Order is against Jain Community and more or less is being implemented therefore Jains are facing all the said problems.

It is evident from this Interim Order that Jains committed blunder of taking burden of proving (before asking any thing from Court) that the site is Neminath Trunk and idols / scriptures / foot-prints are of Lord Neminath without putting similar burden on Hindus to prove that the site is Dattatrey Tunk and idols / scriptures / foot-prints are of Lord Dattatrey. And in the process naively gave practical exclusive possession & title of site to Hindus and accepted the arrangement of visiting the site as tourists or as followers of any other religion like Muslims etc of a secular country. In a nutshell Hindus got the possession & title and everything [that is why they took permission from authorities (a right recognized by even Jains in Interim Order) for new construction and for replacing idol of Lord Dattatrey] without proving anything.

As told to me by many participants of this seminar, the main factor behind not fighting cases in Courts etc properly by Jains is the unfounded fear of Jains where (in a legally baseless & ridiculous manner) Jains think that Hindus are much more in numbers than Jains and Narendra Modi is ruling in Gujarat.

But Still there is time, Jains should organize another small seminar with few participants at Girinarji where after studying all the pending & so called decided cases (in Courts and with Police & Administration) and by taking ground realty in reckoning - instead of wasting their time in digging-out references to prove the title (as they unnecessarily did in Shri Mahavirji on June 8-9) - the Jains should vigorously renew legal battle to gain exclusive possession of 5 th peak (Neminath Tunk) so that after Sidh Kshetra Sammed Shikharji the second most sacred place for Jains the Girinarji Sidh Kshetra can be retrieved from Hindus so that Jains can offer Pooja-Archana over there as per Jain-Amnay {faith} during the time allowed by Court.

Here one more point is important and relevant. The Jain Tirth Kshetra / Atishay Kshetra / Sidh Kshetra are owned, controlled and run by Trusts of handful of people mostly from outside. For example in Girnarji Trust, the Jains from Gujarat have negligible representation. But for protecting Girinarji, the Gujarati Jains from Girinarji, Junagadh District, its Division and Gujarat State are expected (being effective) to fight & struggle - which is impractical in a democratic country because now days nobody takes interest unless he / she has representation and stakes in it.

Therefore if Trusts of all these are not reconstituted by giving proper representation to local Jains through Jain Temple Societies and their Federations and to such International Organizations of Jains in other countries like USA, UK etc, then these apex places of Jain Religion are bound to face more and similar problems in future and that will be fatal for Jain Community and Religion

Yours truly,
Hem Raj Jain

My contact details are as under:

Hemraj Jain
A 3 Shri Mahavirdham
Shri Mahavirji
Pin Code 322220
District Karauli

+91.78290.74704 (m)


Friday, April 12, 2013

Minority status: Govt to give a fresh look into demand of Jain community

New Delhi, April 10
Ahead of poll season, the government has decided to give a fresh look into the demand of the Jain community for grant of central minority status. Currently there are five centrally notified minorities-Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis. 

The assurance to this effect came from Minister of Minority Affairs K Rahman Khan after he met 10 delegates of Jain organisations earlier this week. The minister has asked the delegation to submit a fresh representation for the same to be taken up with the PM.

Present in the meeting was Sneh Lata Jain, wife of MoS Rural Development Pradeep Jain, who is said to be facilitating the process. The government met the delegates after their leader Sanjay Jain today broke his fast unto death following the Centre's assurances in this regard.

Speaking to The Tribune, Amit Jain, a delegate, said: "Our demand is old. In 1991 when the Census was published, Jains made up 0.1 per cent of the population. The National Minorities Commission Act under which the minorities were notified was passed in 1992 and the notification regarding five central minorities came in 1993. Jains were ignored." Jains are demanding the minority status on grounds that they are a religions minority and their religion is separate from Hinduism.

The Centre, however, keeps citing a review petition currently pending in the Supreme Court on this issue. The review was filed by Bal Patil, Convenor of Dakshin Bharat Jain Subha, after a three-judge bench of the apex court ruled that the Centre should take a decision on the matter while also adding that no further addition be done to the list of notified minorities.

The government says the matter is sub judice and no decision can be taken on it despite Jains constituting only 0.4 per cent of India's population as against 13.4 pc Muslims, 2.3 pc Christians, 1.9 pc Sikhs, 0.8 pc Buddhists and 0.4 pc Parsis, the notified minorities under Section 2 C of the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992.

National Commission for Minorities chairperson Wajahat Habibullah told TNS that the Centre can go ahead on the issue. "The Commission has interpreted the Bal Patil judgment to be in favour of Jains because the judgment said if any minority feels challenged, it can approach the NCM and through it the Centre. In the past, the Centre said it was for the states to decide on grant of minority status to communities but we told the Centre that it was empowered under the NCM Act to decide on its own," Habibullah said.

Jains argue that they have a separate set of rituals of birth and death and deserve their due as a minority. UP, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra - have notified Jains as a minority.

But Jains seek the protection under NCM Act to protect their places of pilgrimage which are allegedly under attack. "Recently Udaygiri and Khandgiri caves in Odisha were occupied forcibly by some sections though these caves have a Jain stamp. Our saints are also being attacked," Sanjay Jain said. Central minorities are entitled to benefits under the PM's 15 point programme and including central scholarships.

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 and Acting President of Bharatvarshiya Digamber Jain Subha made an appeal in 1909 to the Governor General for the inclusion of Jains in the Council.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Revival of Prakrit Language

-Parth Shastri

AHMEDABAD: In the Middle Ages (5th century BC to 12th century AD) when Sanskrit was enjoying the position of Devabhasa (language of the gods) in India, especially in northern parts, the citizens of various states derived and used their own languages such as Ardhmagadhi, Shaurseni and Maharashtri known with umbrella term of Prakrit, literally meaning natural or vernacular.

Down the centuries, the language has again fascinated the scholars for a large pool of information yet to be tapped from manuscripts and documents belonging to golden age of Prakrit. LD Institute of Indology hosted a two-day seminar titled 'In Search of Rare Prakrit Literature' on March 23 and 24 where more than 50 scholars and researchers participated. The experts concluded that the rare literary treasure should be preserved for the generations to come.

Talking about Prakrit, New Delhi-based BL Institute of Indology's Professor Gayacharan Tripathi said that it was contemporary of languages such as Sanskrit and Pali. "Gautam Buddha and Mahavira spoke Magadhi and Ardhmagadhi to reach out to the masses. Later, Jainism adopted it for Jain canon of scriptures. While Sanskrit was used to write 'classic' literature, Prakrit documented common people's life outside general subjects revolving around kings and religion," he said.

Scholars said that Gujarat holds special mention in history of Prakrit as while Valabhi University was a major center of learning using the language along with Sanskrit, Hemchandracharya, 11th century scholar in Solanki era, wrote grammar for the language that was later followed widely.

Director of LD Institute of Indology J B Shah said that the event was organized with a view to collect the Prakrit works. "Every language is reflection of the contemporary society and Prakrit is no exception. It captured mood and currents of India and became voice of the parallel literature. By its proper study, we believe, we may get to learn hitherto unknown facts about regions, persons and history," he said.
Movement to preserve manuscripts

The participants at the seminar stressed on the need to sensitize citizens about preservation of manuscripts. "Many of the households in the country are in possession of manuscripts about which they don't know much. Unfortunately many of it either gets bundled up or discarded. We want to create awareness to donate such works to institutes where it can be studied and documented to further our quest for knowledge of the bygone era," said Shah.

Thursday, March 7, 2013



CLAREMONT, CA—Dr. Shalin Jain, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Delhi (India), has been  awarded  the prestigious Raman  Fellowship  for  Post Doctoral Research for Indian Scholars in the United States by the University Grants Commission  (Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government  of India) to  spend  six months as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Jain Studies at Claremont Lincoln University in the fall of 2013. Dr. Jain specializes in  Medieval  Jain  history,  with  special focus  on ecology and the environment,  and  will  pursue research on Contemporary
Environmental Concerns and Medieval Religious Communities during his time at Claremont Lincoln. 

The Jain Studies program was launched a year and a half ago in the fall of 2011 with the opening of the new University, and has since become one of the most active graduate- level  Jain Studies  programs  in  North  America.  Dr.  Jain  will be the first  visiting Post Doctoral Fellow in Jain Studies to come to Claremont Lincoln since the inception of the program.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Silent protest in Jhumari Tiliya over attack on Jain Monk

Daily Pioneer, Ranchi
8th January 2013

 Women, girls and men in large numbers took out a silent procession in Jhumari Tiliya on Monday to register protest against the attack on a jain muni, Prabal Sagarji Maharaj in Juna Gargh in Gujrat on the first day of this year.

Organised by Jain community, the procession started from Jain Mandir situated near docter gali of Jhumari Tilaiya and went up to Purnima talkies, backed to Jain Mandir.

The protesters held boards and placards. All small and big shops remained shut till 1 pm. The procession  was morally supported by peoples from different walk of life.

President of Jain Samaj Manik Chhand Shetty, Sect Sushil Chabara Jay Kumar Gangawal,Vimal Suraj Pawdilal Lalit Suri, district president of Marwari Youth Manch Himanshu Kedia secretary Sanjay Sharma Rajesh Jain,ward Parshad Pinki Jain Rotary District president Jay kumar Gangwal, president of Rotary Kupulse Jhumari Tilaiaya Ritesh Duggar were in also with the procession.

A group of office bearerswent to DC office and submitted a memorandum to Koderma DC Rajesh kumar Sharma in this regard.

Jain Protest March in Allahabad

ALLAHABAD: Protesting against the recent attack on a Jain saint in Junagadh district of Gujarat, members of Jain community took out a silent procession here on Wednesday to condemn the incident.

Holding placards and banners demanding punishment for the guilty persons, the protesters, including men, women and children, said the attack on saints amounts to insult of Indian culture and doctrine of Ahimsa.

The procession started from Zero Road Jain temple and after passing through Johnstangunj, Chowk, Leader Road and other parts of old city culminated at Subhash crossing in Civil Lines where a meeting was also held.

General secretary, Jain Samaj Prayag, Anoop Chandra Jain said Jainism preaches the doctrine of ahimsa in life and its followers are simple, austere and peace loving. They are guided by the principle of 'Live and let live'. The character and lifestyle of Jain saints who are involved relentlessly in hard penance is entirely different from others in society. In such a case, any attack on such person/persons is condemnable and government should punish the guilty severely.

Another speaker Rajesh Kumar Jain said the attack on Jain saints is an attack on Indian culture and Indian culture is identified by the presence of saints in such large numbers.

Hazaribagh Jains Protest against Attacks on Jain Monks

The people of Hazaribagh came on streets on Tuesday to protest against the series of attacks on Jain Munis in different parts of the country. After Maharastra and Rajasthan on 1st of January some unidentified criminals attacked on Muni Prabaal Sagar at Girinath Sthan, Gujarat. The criminals wounded him badly by using knife. Similar incidents had already taken place in Maharastra last month. 

 To protest these incidents people of all religion assembled at Bara Bazar Jain Mandir premises under the banner of ‘Sarva Dharma Qaumi Ekta Samiti’. From here they started their march and traveled almost entire town without telling or shouting anything. This was a silent rally of the denizens of Hazaribagh through which they registered their protest.

 At the end of the rally a memorandum to President of India was handed over to the SDO. In this memorandum demand of strong action against the culprits has been made. A large number of women from every religion of society took part in this silent protest march. It was led by leaders of every religions and political parties.

Justice Jain appointed Chairman of Law Commission

New Delhi, Jan 7, 2013, DHNS:
Supreme Court judge Justice D K Jain has been appointed as the chairman of the 20th Law Commission of India. Justice Jain is set to retire as the apex court judge on January 24, 2013. The 20th Law Commission was constituted through a government order with effect from September 1, last. Its three-year term would end on August 31, 2015. 

The terms of reference of the 20th Law Commission would include reviewing obsolete laws and identifying those legislations laws, no longer needed or relevant.

The Commission would also identify laws not in harmony with the existing climate of economic liberalisation or required changes or amendments and suggest suitable measures for quick redressal of citizens grievances.

 Besides, it would examine the existing laws with a view for promoting gender equality and would also look into the laws which affected the poor and carry out post-audit for socio-economic legislations.

CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan Saddened by Attack on Jain Monk

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has appealed to his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi to initiate stringent action against those responsible for allegedly attacking a Jain seer at Girnar.

"The entire state, including me, is anguished over the incident involving Jain Muni Prabal Sagar at Girnar town in Gujarat", Chouhan said in a letter to Modi.

The seer was allegedly attacked by some unidentified persons last week reportedly with sharp weapons.

"I appeal to you to take prompt action as per the feelings of followers of Jainism and Munishri against the accused persons", he said.


Truck driver who ‘ran over’ two Jain monks arrested

Indian Express Ahmedabad
10th January 2013

Bharuch police on Wednesday arrested the driver of the truck who allegedly ran over two Jain monks on National Highway 8 near Bharuch on January 1.

“We have arrested one person identified as Ashwin Nayka. Based on his identity established by CCTV footage, we picked up Nayaka from Padra in Vadodara and arrested him later,” Bharuch District Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gautam Parmar told The Indian Express.

The DSP said Nayaka is a resident of Kamrej taluka of Surat district and works with a brick kiln. “He was on his way to Vadodara when the accident took place. He has confessed that while attempting to overtake two vehicles from the wrong side, he could not see the monks due to fog and ran them over,” said Parmar.
Police said they had analysed CCTV footages of Karjan toll plaza and kept a watch on Nayka.

Jain monks Gyanshekhar Vijay Maharaj and Hastigiri Maharaj, both of Valsad, were killed on the spot when they were allegedly hit by the truck from behind, around eight km from Bharuch town towards Vadodara on NH-8. They were reportedly on their way to Asuriya village from Bharuch on feet when they met with the accident. The truck driver had sped away after the accident.

The death of the monks had sparked protests across the state with the Jain community alleging that the two were “murdered”.

During funeral procession and cremation of the monks, thousands of Jains had blocked the NH-8. Police had to resort to lathicharge to make the traffic normal on the highway. But angry mourners retaliated with pelting stones at police.

The lathicharge incident had enraged the community all the more and they had demanded suspension of Vadodra range I G Sashikant Trivedi and a probe by CID.

The forensic report stated that the sample of the clothes of the monks matched with the tyre marks collected from the spot.

The state DGP has decided to reward the police and forensic officers for the arrest.

BJP Boycotts Jain Rally at Ahmedabad

Daily Bhaskar 11th January 2013

In a surprising development, BJP councillors belonging to the Jain community did not take part in a silent rally on Thursday over the issue of death of Jain monks in road accidents. Sources claimed that the party has issued a gag order against participation in the rally. 

Thousands of Jain devotees belonging to different sects marched from Mahalaxmi Crossroads to the collector’s office, seeking action from the government. The procession, which started at 8 am, was 3-km long. The protestors handed over a memorandum to the collector, urging the government to protect Jain monks from assaults through road accidents. 
However, the BJP’s Jain councillors were missing from the rally. According to sources in the party, “As the rally was taken out to make various demands before the government, the party has directed us not to take part in it. Still we are with the sentiments of our community. Whenever needed, we will support openly if the party permits us.”
“There are over ten Jain councillors in the city but they were not present in the rally. Our community mainly sought to implement the scheme for construction of pedestrians’ passage on the highway,” another source said, adding that Ellisbridge MLA Rakesh Shah was present in the rally for a short time.”
In his response, Shah said, “It is not true that I was present in the rally for a short time. In fact, I took part in the rally up to the Town Hall.” 
The Jains are accusing Anoop Mandal, a spiritual sect, behind the killing of monks through accidents.
Thousands protested road accidents involving Jain monks

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pune Jains March to Protest Attacks on Jain Monks

To protest the attacks on  Jain monks, Jain community from Pune organized a rally on 10th January 2013, under the banner of Sakal Jain Sangh Pune. The main organizers were Jain Sena and Jain Yuvak Mahasangh, Pune, supported by all Jain organizations in the city.

The organizers had expected some 5000 to 6000 participants, but in actual, estimated 30000 Jains, mostly youngsters, took part in the march, the biggest March of Jains in the history of Pune. Thanks to the young generation of Pune Jains.

Two volunteers with the banner of Sakal Jain Sangh

Jain Acharya Dharm Dhurandhar Suriji (Center) with other monks at the start of the march

A small part of the march passing through a street.

Jain Achary Dharm Dhurandhar Suriji reading the memorandum 
to be handed over to the District Collector of Pune

 A Jain mob in front the District Collector office Pune

Jain women in front of the District Collector Office, Pune

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Death of Jain monks sparks violent outbursts across Gujarat

 Harish Joshi, TNN Jan 2, 2013

 Bharuch: Wide spread protests have been reported following the mowing down of two Jain monks by a truck near Asuria village located nine kilometres from Bharuch on Tuesday. Stone pelting on the police and subsequent lathi charge took place during their Palkhi Yatra in Bharuch on Wednesday.

More than 10,000 people from the Jain community across the state gathered in Bharuch to attend the cremation of the two monks. The route of the Palkhi Yatra of monks Shri Gyanshekhar Vijay Maharaj and Shri Hastigiri Maharaj Sahib was to begin at 9 am from Srimali Pole Jain Temple in Bharuch to the place where the accident had taken place. However, the route was changed following insistence by the police that was protested by the community leaders.

 The yatra reached Zadeshwar Chowkdi on the highway causing a massive traffic jam. Efforts were made by Inspector General of Police Shashikanth Trivedi, Superintendent of Police Gautam Parmar, MP Mansukh Vasava along with MLAs Dushyant Patel and Arunsinh Rana to maintain calm but they went in vain.

Some miscreants started pelting stones on the police and the latter resorted to a lathi charge to disperse the crowd.

The yatra eventually reached the spot of the accident late in the afternoon where the bodies of both the monks were cremated.

Ajitbhai R Mehta of Jain Monk Vihar Group based in Surat said, "We demand a thorough investigation in the accidental deaths of the monks which we believe is premeditated. We condemn the attitude of the police. Instead of beating innocent people who came to attend the cremation of respected monks they need to investigate the killing of saints who spread the message of peace and harmony in the society." He said that more than 40 monks have been killed in road accidents in the last five years.

Meanwhile, reports of protests by community members have also poured in from Vadodara, Navsari, Ankleshwar and other places.


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