Ahimsa Times 194/195, 2016-09/10

Posted: 10.11.2016

Ahimsa Times


DIWALI AND JAINISM

Diwali has a very special significance in Jainism. It marks the anniversary of Nirvana of Mahavira's soul, the twenty fourth Jain Tirthankara of present cosmic age. It is celebrated at the same time as the Hindu festival of Diwali. Diwali marks the New Year for the Jain group and it likewise remembers the passing commemoration of their 24th Tirthankara Mahavira and his achievement of moksha. Mahavira attained Moksha on this day at Pavapuri on Oct. 15, 527 BCE, on Chaturdashi of Kartika, as confirmed by Tilyapannatti of Yativrashaba. Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of this era, revitalised Jain dharma. According to tradition, the chief disciple of Mahavira, Ganadhara Gautam Swami also attained complete knowledge (Kevala Jnana) on this day, thus making Diwali one of the most important Jain festivals. Mahavira attained his nirvana at the dawn of the amavasya (new moon). According to the Swetamber text Kalpasutra, many gods were present there, illuminating the darkness. The following night was pitch black without the light of the gods or the moon. To symbolically keep the light of their master's knowledge alive, 16 Gana-kings, 9 Malla and 9 Lichchhavi, of Kasi and Kosal, illuminated their doors. They said:

"Since the light of knowledge is gone, we will make light of ordinary matter"
"गये से भवुज्जोये, दव्वुज्जोयं करिस्समो".

Dipavali was mentioned in Jain books as the date of the nirvana of Mahavira. In fact, the oldest reference to Diwali is a related word, dipalikaya, which occurs in Harivamsa Purana, written by Acharya Jinasena and composed in the Shaka Samvat era in the year 705.

ततस्तुः लोकः प्रतिवर्षमादरत् प्रसिद्धदीपलिकयात्र भारते |
समुद्यतः पूजयितुं जिनेश्वरं जिनेन्द्र-निर्वाण विभूति-भक्तिभाक् |२०|

The gods illuminated Pavanagari by lamps to mark the occasion. Since that time, the people of Bharat celebrate the famous festival of "Dipalika" to worship the Lord Mahavira on the occasion of his nirvana. Dipalikaya roughly translates as "light leaving the body".Dipalika, which can be roughly translated as "splendiferous light of lamps", is used interchangeably with the word "Diwali." The Jain new year starts with Pratipada following Diwali. Jain calendar is known as Vira Nirvana Samvat and their year 2539 started with Diwali of year 2012. The Jain business people traditionally start their accounting year from Diwali. The relationship between the Vir and Shaka era is given in Titthogali Painnaya and Dhavalaa by Acharya Virasena. Thus the Nirvana occurred 605 years and 5 months before the Saka era.

On Diwali morning, Nirvan Ladoo is offered after praying to Lord Mahavira in all Jainsm temples all across the world. Jains tends to avoid firecrackers during Diwali as they cause harm to living organisms. Diwali is celebrated in atmosphere of austerity, simplicity, serenity, equity, calmness, charity, philanthropy and environment-consciousness. Jain temples, homes, offices, shops are decorated with lights and diyas. Relatives distributes sweets to each other. The lights are symbolic of knowledge or removal of ignorance. Swetambar jains observe two days of fasting in remembrance of the penance and sacrifice of Mahavira. In temples and homes, devotees sing and chant hymns and mantras from Jain religious texts in praise of the Tirthankar and congregate for a prayer and recite verses from the Uttaradhyayan Sutra which contain the last teachings of Mahavira. Jain pay visit to Pava-puri on this special day to offer their prayers. The Jain year starts with pratipada, next day of Diwali.

 

PM MODI VISITS ACHARYA VIDYASAGAR AT BHOPAL

14th October 2016, Bhopal: Everyone in political circles is asking the same question - why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Acharya Vidyasagar. During his whirlwind three-hour visit to Bhopal, the prime minister has especially taken out the time to head to a Jain temple in Habibganj to meet the Jain monk for 10 minutes. Given the population of the Jain community in Madhya Pradesh0.8% of the total number of people, according to the 2011 census, the meeting hardly assumes any political significance, not even in view of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. However, sources said Modi's meeting with the Acharya should be seen in context of BJP national president Amit Shah's June meeting with the monk in Kundalpur.

Acharya Vidyasagar is the most renowned saint in the Digambar Jain community and wields influence beyond the community too. His present campaign focuses on how to promote Hindi and make available justice to people in Hindi, encourage cottage industries, how to get the government to reduce meat exports and how to check brain drain inter alia. Sources said the Acharya has had a meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat too in this regard. The RSS agenda gets amply reflected in Acharya's agenda as well. This is the reason Amit Shah and Modi have great regard for the Acharya. The Acharya wants that the language of justice delivery system in any state be the official language of that particular state. Hence, in the Hindi-speaking belt, the language of justice primary should be Hindi, not English. Amid reports that meat export has gone up during the current regime at the Centre, the Acharya wants the government to reduce such exports. In his view, cottage industries will give a boost to the economic prosperity of society.

Perhaps it's his campaign that he chose to stay in the heart of Bhopal during Chaturmas. So far, he always avoided camping in the city limits and chose a place either at the outskirts of towns or further away during Chaturmas. However, staying in the city will help him create more awareness among people on the abovementioned subjects. State BJP leader Shailendra Sharma sees nothing between the lines during the meet. He said Modi is making a courtesy call, given the Acharya's prominence in Bhopal. However, Digambar Jain MahasamitiPresident Ravindra Jain said the meeting definitely assumes significance and that in the present circumstance, it appears more than just a courtesy visit.

Sources in the Jain temple saidPM also followed the ritual of 'Pad Pralakshan', as per which he washed the Acharya's feet and sought his blessings. Before PM, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also performed the ritual. The sources said the monk toldPM to play a proactive role in promoting Indian handloom and the language Hindi across the world. Among other things, the Jain sect leader suggested PM that the country should be called only 'Bharat' instead of having the alternative official name of India. Digamber Jain Community's local spokesman Ravindra Jain said, "No country has two names and so should be in the case of our nation, he told the Prime Minister." The Acharya talked about the role of women in the society and how they should be empowered. They also discussed how education was important for development of the country, sources said.PM released the Gujarati version of Mook Maati, a religious book written by Acharya Vidyasagar.

ThePrime Minister was reportedly happy to receive the first copy of the book and is said to have taken it for his onward journey to Goa. The Jain monk also gifted a hand-made cotton sari to the Prime Minister for his mother. Only five other monks, Chouhan, and Pramode Jain were present inside the temple withPM and the Acharya. Governor OP Kohli, finance minister Jayant Malaiya and MoS Sharad Jain were seen waiting outside.

 

VISHAL DADLANI APOLOGISES TO JAIN MONK TARUN SAGAR OVER HIS 'SARCASTIC' TWEET

21st September 2016, Chandigarh: Music composer Vishal Dadlani apologised to Jain monk Tarun Sagar in Chandigarh for his tweet on the leaders address to the Haryana assembly that created controversy.

Muni Tarun Sagarji said, “I have forgiven Vishal Dadlani and the Jain Samaj should also forgive him. Dadlani had described Muniji speech in the assembly on August 26 as "monkery" and later deleted the tweet. He was critical of the speech saying the monk has no clothes on, suggesting that it reflected an unhealthy trend of religion colouring politics. Dadlani reached the Digambar Jain temple, Sector-27 and held a close door meeting with the monk that lasted for about 20 minutes. Prior to this, Dadlani also held meeting with Digambar Jain society in Chandigarh. He said, "I regret whatever I had said earlier." "Unknowingly, I had commented about guru ji. But after hearing his 'kadve parvachan' (harsh words), I found them sweet," he added. The controversy had also led to Dadlani quitting the Aam Aadmi Party. The Supreme Court had also refused protection from arrest to the music composer on the issue after an FIR was lodged against him in Haryana. The bench had asked him to approach the high court concerned. The FIR was lodged against Dadlani by the Ambala Cantt police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments with his sarcastic tweet on the Jain monk.

 

ACHARYA LOKESH SAYS US & INDIA SHOULD JOINTLY FIGHT TERRORISM

19th September 2016: The founder of Ahimisa Vishwa Bharti and eminent Jain Acharya, Dr. Lokesh Muni ji, recently met United States Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in California and held a round of talks with her, on US elections, India - US relations and Modi Government's development policies in detail. During the meeting, the two agreed that India can play a prominent role in global affairs in the years to come. Hillary Clinton said that spiritual leaders can also play an important role in this. Clinton, while appreciating Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni's Peace and Harmony Tour to USA, said that terrorism, violence, poverty and illiteracy are the major global problems. Political, Spiritual, Social and Business leaders of America and India can work together to solve these global problems.

On his turn, Acharya Lokesh said that not only India and America but different parts of the world are affected by terrorism. America and India should together fight against terrorism. He said that India and US need to work together to find solutions for the menace of poverty and illiteracy in other parts of the world. Acharya Lokesh Muni told Clinton during this meeting that Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi is laying a strong foundation for the development of India. One should realize that it takes time to fix things. His government is moving in the right direction. Its results in the coming days would be visible.

Acharya Lokesh invited Clinton for Jaina Convention 2017 to be held in New Jersy from 30 June to 4 July in which around 7000 representatives from 70 Jain Centres in America and from India, Canada, Britain also from other parts of the world willparticipate.

 

UDDHAV THACKERAY VISITS ACHARYA SHRI VIJAY PREMSURISHWARJI

On the occasion of Paryushan, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray paid a visit to the Breach Candy hospital along with senior members of his party, to check on the health of Acharya Maharaj Shri Vijay Premsurishwarji, one of the Jain community's senior most personalities who was in ICU. Uddhavji spent time with Acharya Maharaj. He also spoke to the doctors, who were treating him and inquired about the progress of his health and treatment. He also took the opportunity to wish Michhami Dukkadam to all the Jains across India. Thackeray's gentle ways in stark contrast to his more strident late father Bal Thackeray have set him apart.

 

MUMBAI: OVER ELEVEN CRORE BID MADE TO LIGHT JAIN MONK'S PYRE

26th September 2016, Mumbai: The Jain Community bid farewell to the senior-most Jain monk, Tapagachadipati Premsuriswarji Maharajsaheb, of the Tapagacha sect of Shwetambar Murti Pujak Jains. The senior-most Jain monk passed away in the wee hours of September 25 at around 12.18AM. He had been unwell for over a month and was in hospital for cough related ailments and old age. On Saturday night, hours before the monk passed away, community members had sent messages to Jains across the world to fast for the monk's better health.

About 10000 community members took part in the procession. The monk's body was taken around in a palkhi before the final rites were conducted. The procession started from Walkeshwar's Babu Amichand Pannalal Jain Derasar (Temple) to Napean Sea Road to Kemps Corner, Prarthna Samaj, Navgrah Derasar Near Marwadi Vidyalay and Dharam Palace, Hughes Road, Panchsheel Plaza and then to Banganga, where the monk's last riteswere performed. Amrita Fadnavis, wife of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Corporator Jyotsna Mehta were among those who paid their last respects. Almost all Jain temple trustees in the city were present, along with members of Jain International Organisation.

As part of a Jain tradition, money is collected through bids to perform last rites. The money is to be used strictly for the welfare of sadhus and sadhvis, the temples and other charitable work. There were 15 bids and Rs. 18 core was collected. Of the total amount, Rs. 11 core was collected by five people who also performed the last rites. About Rs. 7 cr. was collected for charity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted his respects after the monk passed away.

 

PROMINENT BALOCH LEADER VISIT JAIN SAINTS ACHARYA SUBHADRA MUNIJI

24th September 2016: Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh: Prominent Baloch leader Mir Mazdak Dilshad Baloch recently met Jain saints and sought the blessings of Acharya Subhadra Muniji Maharaj for the success of Balochistan movement. The Baloch leader, who arrived with Director Shahzad Rai Research Institute Indology, Mr. Amit Rai Jain, told the seers that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief was only a face while it was the army which was running theGovernment in Pakistan. Talking to reporters later, Mr. Amit Rai Jain said that Baloch leader apprised them of the problems and hardships faced by his people in Pakistan.

 

JAINISM REACHES JAPAN

21st September 2016: Ahmedabad: When a group of Japanese nationals visited Gachchanath Manoharpritisurishwar Maharaj at Paldi, other devotees were left stunned.The visitors were wearing Indian traditional clothes with forehead tilak. They also recited the Navkarmantra. However, for the devotees from Japan, it was nothing out of the ordinary, as they have adopted a number of Jain practices.

Acharya Udaykirtisagar Maharaj said the group has adopted vegetarianism and also perform religious rituals at home. They also observe practices such as Aththai and Chovihar and drink boiled water. Members of the group accepted vaskshep and raksha potli from gurus. They also visited Nakoda Tirth. It has become a ritual for the group to visit the Gachchanath Manoharpritisurishwar Maharaj, wherever he is in chaturmaas every year. Mai Tahibana, a wedding counsellor in Japan, said that vegetarianism is catching on fast in that country.He also said "Jain practices give peace of mind and takes practitioners to a higher plane of consciousness."  He further said, " many members of the group are learning Hindi to understand Indian culture". Kon Taro, an academician, said that he has been studying Jain astrology under experts. "I have embraced Jain practices for the past seven years. We perform group prayers in Japan. I was not a practitioner of Buddhism, but when I came to know about Jainism, I found a connect," he said. The group members said that they keep in touch with the Jain monks through technology to understand various practices, and also to seek guidance over issues ranging from personal to professional matters.

 

JAIN MONKS PERFORM SPECIAL POOJA IN COIMBATORE FOR RAIN

27th September 2016: Coimbatore: Jain monks performed a special pooja at a temple in R. S. Puram in Coimbatore for calling rains. The monks poured water and milk on the idol of Tirthankara Shankheshwar Parshwanath for over an hour and 273 special mantras were recited. Nearly 50 people took part in the pooja performed by Jain monk Mitra Prabhashriji and her three disciples. Nilesh who took part in the pooja said, while there were heavy rain across the country, Coimbatore alone had not received rain. So the monk decided to perform a pooja in which we chanted special mantras for an hour and 15 minutes.

 

SUPREME COURT PONDERS INTO SECULARISM, POLITICS, VOTES AND RELIGION

New Delhi: Amid a high-voltage legal debate on curbing use of religion to seek votes, the Supreme Court asked whether secularism meant complete separation of politics from religion and said it would attempt to give a pragmatic interpretation of the law dealing with using religion and caste to promote hatred during elections. A seven-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice T. S. Thakur and Justices Madan B. Lokur, S A Bobde, Adarsh K. Goel, U. U. Lalit, D Y Chandrachud and L N Rao observed, "It will be difficult to accept as a proposition that a political party should have nothing to do with religion and those who have something to do with it must cease to be political parties. Can a particular political party hurtthe sentiments of a religious group? Will that amount to seeking votes in the name of religion? Secularism does not mean aloofness to religion but giving equal treatment to every religion. Religion and caste are vital aspects of our public life.Is it be possible to completely separate religion and caste from politics? The SC bench reserved its verdict on the mode and manner in which a court should try an electoral malpractice committed to seek votes using religion, community, caste or language. The SC is also examining how to deal with a religious leader appealing to people to vote in a particular way.

The court's remark on what constituted secularism came when senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for social activist Teesta Setalvad, argued that the SC should lay down guidelines on what would constitute a permissible speech during elections. When the debate got lively, the CJI headed bench veered away by declaring that the task before it was not to answer or lay down guidelines on what would be a permissible speech. We will answer the reference for interpretation of Section 123 as well as the interplay between Sections 98 and 99 of Representation of the People Act and nothing more. Appearing for former MP CM Sunderlal Patwa, senior advocate Shyam Divan laid bare the thin dividing line between religion, language, caste and politics in India. He read out from the constituent charter of Shiromani Akali Dal and Indian Union Muslim League to show that these parties explicitly said their basis was to further the interest of a particular religious group.

 

UNIFORM CIVIL CODE: GOVERNMENT & SUPREME COURT IN DILEMMA

Over the last few months, there have been two big religious debates, one has to do with whether the Shar'ia Laws, particularly those to do with the triple talaq and polygamy, ought to be allowed to overpower the legal rights of a citizen of India; another has to do with whether the Jain practice of santhara ought to be considered suicide. Organisations working for the rights of Muslim women have approached the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter of whether Islamic personal law can be allowed to encroach upon their rights. The Law Commission decided to get feedback on the Uniform Civil Code, while the government's affidavit in the Supreme Court opposed 'triple talaq' as gender discriminatory. As various leaders use the issue to score political points, the apex court will make a pronouncement that could change the lives of millions of women in India. Not so long ago, the Supreme Court stayed an order of the Rajasthan High Court, which had held that santhara or the Jain practice of starvation unto death, was not an "essential religious practice" of Jainism, and that it ought to be punishable as suicide and abetment to suicide under the Indian Penal Code. This sparked off protests by Jains.

The issue that connects the two is this India allows for each religion to have a set of personal laws. In a country that deems itself secular, the question we have to address is this does the 'secular' tag imply that each religion must be free to make its own laws, or does 'secular' mean that all citizens of the country will have equal rights, irrespective of the religion to which they belong? This is particularly crucial in a context where someone's life hangs in balance. In September, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board was reported to have said in its reply to the Supreme Court that triple talaq was a better option than murdering one's wife which, if the reports are true, is what the Board believes husbands will be forced to do if they can't get rid of their wives with six syllables uttered in quick succession. Even in countries which follow Islamic law, the issue of triple talaq is a contentious one.

There have been cases where wives have been divorced by text message. Scholars of Islam have often engaged in debate over the guidelines that govern the delivery of the three utterances of 'talaq'. Women's rights organizations in those countries have questioned the fact that women don't have the same recourse to divorce. Should a secular country permit it? And if the secular country decides that it cannot be permitted, and that all citizens are subject to the laws laid down in the Indian Penal Code, there are two further questions - (a) What about other laws that have been enacted by governments in order to appease minorities (in the interest, perhaps, of creating vote banks), such as the bizarrely titled Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act (1986), which essentially made a mockery of the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case? (b) Is Islam the only religion whose governing body voices support for practices that would horrify most of us if they were to find place in a secular country's laws? In other words, in a secular country, can one's religion reverse one's culpability? If Irom Sharmila Chanu can be considered a criminal for undertaking a fast-unto-death and force fed to prevent that death, can someone else be considered a martyr and demigod for abstaining from food and water? Can those elevating her to the status of a martyr and demigod by encouraging the fast be considered free of culpability because they belong to a religion which sanctions it? x A 13-year-old schoolgirl died in Hyderabad on October 9, after fasting for 68 days, following a Jain ritual. She was hailed as a 'bal tapasvi' by others of her community. She had previously survived a fast of 41 days. Her grandfather said people had flocked in to take selfies with the child when she as on a fast. Advertisements printed in newspapers for an event celebrating the completion of the fast announced Telangana minister Padma Rao Goud as the chief guest. Is a girl of thirteen old enough to decide whether she wants to be a "bal tapasvi"? Even if the decision was hers, should the adults in her family have permitted it? Didn't the unrelated people who knew she was destroying her health have a duty to report it to the police? If the girl had belonged to any other religion, even if she had not been a minor, she would have been guilty under IPC section 309 (Attempted Suicide) if she had survived the fast, and those who kept their peace would have been guilty under IPC section 306 (Abetment to Suicide) when she died. Can one's religion convert to heroism what would otherwise be a crime? No man is permitted polygamy without the consent of the first wife under Indian laws. No man is allowed to divorce his wife in three words under Indian laws. Yet, why are some men given a loophole by dint of belonging to a religion, under Indian laws? When laws don't apply equally to people of different religions, can we call ourselves a secular country?

 

PARENTS BLAMED FOR DEATH OF HYDERABAD GIRL

9th October 2016, Hyderabad: The parents and other family members of 'Aradhana'a 13-year-old girl, who died after undertaking a 68-day fast as part of a community ritual, have been booked on the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for causing her death. Based on a complaint lodged by a local child rights NGO (Child Rights Association) with police, the case was registered under section 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC and section 75 of JJ (Juvenile Justice) Act. "President of Shree Simandhar Digambar Jain Mandir, Ramkote, said that it was objectionable that a minor was allowed to observe such a long fasting. AP State Commission for Protection of Child Rights member said, below the age of 18 child's consent does not amount to consent. Quoting the Convention of Rights for Child article that mandates adults / guardians to take decisions based on ‘best interests of child'. " Making a child starve to death, even if parents say that it is in the best interests of the child or according to religious rituals or beliefs, amounts to crime against children." Police said that parents allowed Aradhana to observe such long fasting after she pressured her parents.

Media trial of the unfortunate incident is upsetting for the entire Jain community. Its a matter of fact that, "Our ancient religion is very scientific and we do not believe in superstitions. Tapasya is a ritual which has been followed by believers of the community from ages and it has well established rules. "Aradhana had also successfully completed 34-day tapasya last year. Even now, before the unfortunate and tragic demise, she completed the 68-day tapasya and then went to have liquid diet as prescribed by the practitioners of tapasya." Some community elders also feel, the family members are responsible as they failed to take precautionary measures during the fasting. The girl was a student of class VIII in a Private School.

It is also a matter of fact that, this was clearly an extreme case, one in which a minor girl paid a fatal price for religious indoctrination. But away from the media glare, perhaps in less severe ways, thousands of children in India continue to suffer the consequences of their parents  religious faith or practices.

 

RELIGIOUS LEADERS PAY TRIBUTE TO URI SOLDIERS

Mumbai: A Flag March was organized at the Azad Maidan, Jai Jawan Army Memorial to pay tribute to the resolute 18 Army Jawans who laid down their precious lives for the country while protecting the integrity and sovereignty of the country during a surprise attack by terrorists at Uri Army Camp on September 17, 2016. The event was organized by Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, All India Anti Terrorist Front, SRK Foundation, Vishwa Jain Parishad and Spread the Love Foundation. Around 2000 strong crowd gathered to pay their tribute to the resolute soldiers. Among the huge gathering were the religious heads or the Dharma Gurus representing India's diverse religion creating a vibrant hue and colour of national integration. The Flag March was headed by Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, head of World Peace Ambassador and Founder of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, Shri M. S. Bitta- Chairman, All India Anti-Terrorist Front, Jain Acharya Shri Sagarachandra Sagar Surisvarji- Founder of Vishwa Jain Parishad. Besides, Bollywood actor Mukesh Rishi also joined the Flag March.

Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni Ji and Jain Acharya Shri Sagarachandra Sagar Surisvarji paying tribute to the soldiers said that people in the country live and work peacefully because soldiers of our military forces guard our countries borders. They said that the level of toughness with which our armed forces deal with enemy nations is same as the level of compassion and kindness with which they save lives during times of natural calamities. On this significant occasion, Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni Ji and Jain Acharya Shri Sagarachandra Sagar Surisvarji both announced to give Rupees 5 Lakh to each affected families of the martyrs of Uri attack. Following cue, Shri M. S. Bitta also announced that a special program will be organized at the Prestigious Vigyan Bhawan to posthumously honour the resolute soldiers and to distribute the monetary assistance to the family members of the martyrs on the sublime occasion.

 

THEFT AT SAVINA JAIN TEMPLE

25th October 2016, Udaipur: Thieves made away with precious idols made of Asht Dhatu (combination of 8 metals including gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tin, iron and mercury) from Digamber Jain temple at Savina. Not satisfied, the thieves then targeted the AmbaMata temple and made away with cash. As per media sources, the thieves made away with 7 idols from the Digamber Jain temple at Savina. The theft happened in the night between Monday and Tuesday, 25 Oct. After making away with the idols, the thieves targeted the donation box at the Ambamata temple and took away all the cash. When the locals came to know of the theft in the morning, they rushed to the police station and lodged a complaint. Police has initiated investigation into the matter. Initial investigation suggests that the thieves cut open the grill in both the temples for making an entry.

 

ISJS INVITES APPLICATION FOR 13TH SUMMER SCHOOL

After completing 12 annual summer schools International School for Jain Studies now accepting applications for the following 2017 summer programs:
1. ISSJS.2017 - 4W (June 11th - July 8th, 2017): This program is designed for undergrad. students, grad. students, degree holders, PhD candidates, professors and faculty members.
2. ISSJS.2017 - 6W (June 11st - July 22nd, 2017): This program is designed for graduate students, PhD candidates, PhD scholars, full time professors and full faculty members.
3. ISSJS.2017 - Teaching for Peace (July 8th - 28th, 2017):This program is designed for teachers who wish to integrate practical nonviolence into their lives, classrooms and schools.
For further details & online application please visit www.isjs.in, Source: Sushil Jana, Admission Officer, International School for Jain Studies, E-Mail: issjs_india(at)yahoo.co.in

 

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS ANNOUNCES A JAIN STUDIES PROFESSORSHIP

Members of the Jain Society of North Texas applauded and stood often during a program at the University of North Texas in Denton. They beamed with pride as they heard speakers announce "very important news." The news was that UNT and the Jain Education and Research Foundation Inc. (JERF) reached an agreement to start a professorship in Jainism at UNT's College of Arts and Sciences. According to Anant K. Jain, who opened the program said, about 100,000 Jains live in the United States. JERF was started to promote the study of Jainism in the Americas. The nonprofit established its first professorship in 2010 at Florida International University in Miami. Its second will be at UNT. George James, a UNT professor of religion and philosophy, will be in charge of the professorship. Following the speeches, Jain officials presented a $500,000 check to UNT President Neal Smatresk. The evening ended with a vegetarian dinner and cultural performances.

 

VIPIN JAIN RECEIVES AFFORDABLE HOUSING AWARD

19th September 2016, Mumbai: The award was presented by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping to Vipin Jain, Director of Tulip Infratech. This Affordable Housing award was given to Tulip Infratech's prestigious 'Tulip Lemon' Affordable Housing project. Tulip Infratech, one of the leading real estate development organizations in NCR Gurgaon area received the award of 'Scroll of Honour for Exceptional Contribution in Residential - Affordable Housing Segment' at a glittering convention ceremony of NAREDCO.

Located at Sector-69 Gurgaon, Tulip Lemon the Affordable Housing project comprises of a few towers of 2BHK & 1BHK units. The special feature of this project is that it is using the latest construction 'Mivan' technology. This is an Aluminium formwork technology where the whole structure is of RCC (Reinforced Cement concrete) and brick walls are not used. This gives a very strong earthquake resistant structure, easy to make typical floors with cement concrete pouring at one go for a large area with pipes & conduits embedded in it, time taken reduced to a great extent for construction and results in an impeccable smooth finish.

 

BHAGWAN MAHAVEER FOUNDATION AWARDS PRESENTED

4th October 2016, Chennai: 19th Mahaveer Awards were presented at a function organised by Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation recently at Chennai. Dr. R. V. Ramani of Sankara Eye Care Institutions, Coimbatore, received the award for Excellence in Medicine. He was recognised for his dedicated and persistent service, especially benefitting economically and socially backward sections of the society. Other awardees were Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Bengaluru, under the Non-Violence & Vegetarianism category, Dr. Sapam Nabakishore Singh of Assam for Excellence in Education and Shamshad Begum of Chhattisgarh for Community & Social Service. A cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh was given to each category along with citation and a memento.

Former Chief Election Commissioner T. S. Krishnamurthy presided over the event and released the 19th Mahaveer Award Day Brochure. In his presidential speech, he recalled the valuable contribution of the community and said, "The Jain community has been doing excellent work. At a time when violence is spreading across the world, this community is spreading non-violence and love. Non-violence is the theme of India but sometimes violence is needed to eliminate terrorism. I salute our Armed Forces for the work done to defend our borders." Chennai-based BMF, since 1995, has been bestowing the prestigious Mahaveer Awards on outstanding personalities and organisations in recognition of their excellence in propagation of 'Non-violence & Vegetarianism', 'Education', 'Medicine' and 'Community & Social service'

 

RACHANAA JAIN WINS 2016 INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER RADIO WORKS WORLD AWARD

6th October 2016, London: Rachanaa Jain, received an award as the International Speaker Radio Works World Award 2016 at the Prestigious Royal Horseguards Hotel, London. The event couldn't have started out more exciting when the announcement that Rachanaa won the coveted International Speaker Radio Works World Award out of all the contestant of the Radio Works World 2016 event.

Rachanaa Jain is a leading entrepreneur with years of experience in the industry. She has devoted her life to helping people achieve their own potential as well as making sure that they understand their strengths so they can go on to develop themselves as outstanding members of society. It doesn't matter whether you need help with your personal life, professional career or even your health and relationships, because Rachanaa Jain has everything you need to turn your life around. She has created a six steps Dreams system in her book "Awake Your Dreams, Stop Procrastinating! Start Achieving!" which will help you create a plan and take action in life.

She has been featured in numerous magazines, TV shows and radio podcasts and her experience alone makes her stand out as one of the top coaches out there. Radio W.O.R.K.S World brings together people of significance from around the world. Helping them to share their stories, their vision and their knowledge with a global audience! Over 75 hosts from over 26 countries are already using the platform to engage with new audiences. From book authors to CEO's and even Olympians, their hosts have actually walked the talk and can give an honest and true experience for all to enjoy and use for their own personal growth.

 

COW VIGILANTES MISTAKE CHICKEN FEED FOR BEEF, SLAP RAJESH JAIN

5th September 2016, Bhopal: Cow vigilantes torched a truck carrying chicken feed, and beat up the owner of the vehicle suspecting that it was carrying beef, at Zhora village, 40 km from here. Following the incident, Bablu Thakur (22) and Gaurav Thakur (24) were arrested. The truck, carrying raw chicken feed and headed for Manpur in Uttar Pradesh, developed a snag at Zhora village. Its owner Rajesh Jain, resident of Dholpur in Rajasthan, asked his driver to fetch a mechanic, the inspector said. But the stench raised due to dry animal bones and organs like intestines used in the preparation of chicken feed, attracted the attention of some locals. They suspected that the truck was carrying beef out of Bhopal and knocked on its door. Jain, who was sleeping in the cabin, got down from the other side. The crowd got hold of him and bashed him.

Within minutes, kerosene was brought, poured on the truck and it was set on fire. A patrolling police jeep reached the spot about the same time and alerted the Bairasia police station and the fire brigade. Police rushed there along with fire tenders and swiftly brought the situation under control. The fire only damaged cabin of the truck before it was put out and Jain had been slapped only once and did not sustain injury. Accoriding to police reports, they have booked the accused under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntary causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 427 (mischief) and 436 (mischief caused by fire and explosive) and other sections of IPC.

 

TWO BOOKED FOR SELLING CHICKEN DURING PARYUSHAN

4th September 2016, Ahmedabad: Gujarat police have booked two persons for selling chicken in the open market in Bhuj town of Kutch district in violation of the order banning sale of non-vegetarian food in municipality areas across the state during the Jain festival, Paryushan. Last month, the director of municipalities had issued a circular prohibiting killing of animals and birds, and sale of mutton, poultry and fish from August 29 to September 5 during Paryushan as a mark of respect for the religious sentiments of the Jain community. Bhuj city police booked Abbas Habib Khatki, 42, and Hasan Ali Khatki, 32, under section 188 of the IPC for violation of teh notification issued by police authority. Habib and Hasan Khatki have a chicken shop near Bhuj Mutton Market.They were allegedly caught selling non-vegetarian food despite the ban on sale of meat. After booking them, they were issued notices instructing them to appear before the authorities concerned whenever they were summoned for the purpose of investigation, police officials said.

 

400 ACTIVISTS CELEBRATE ANIMAL RIGHTS IN MUMBAI

For the first time in Mumbai, over 400 animal activists participated in three day India for Animals Conference 2016. The event had several speakers who held workshops, discussions by renowned panelist to share and collaborate on strategies to protect animals and their rights. While on one hand, atrocities over animals in India is growing on a large scale, so is the animal protection movement in India growing consistently. None the less, the manner is usually un-organized, primitive, marked by a grave need for information, education and skill development in the sector. The workshops were divided into three broad categories, mainly skill development for organizations and activists, tracking the issues and strategies to finding solutions around issues. The workshops touched issues like breeding, first-aid, stray animals, volunteering etc. Noted activists like Vandana Shiva, Anand Grover, Abodh Aras, and Bittu Sahgal lead the international and national activists and organisations.

Talking about the future road map of dealing with animal protection issues, Norma Almares, FIAPO chairman, said, "Two things that will be helping us to deal with the current situation of the animal rights protection is to make stricter laws and education. The issue with the laws in this country is that they are often lesser used and here, with this conference, we are trying to bridge the gap between organizations and the judiciary. We are going to help these organizations make a path which leads to stricter laws for animal rights. Besides, education for sensitivity towards animals need to start at a very early age, thus, education is important."

Anand Shiva, animal activist said," It is a brilliant opportunity for all animal activists to come under one roof, connect with each other, share views, and discuss issues without having an ailing animal in hand. Ironically, we seldom get an opportunity to do so."Sonia Alicea from Indian Canine Up-liftment Centre, Delhi said, "it was a good opportunity for us to mingle with NGOs and get to know like-minded people and share views which is important for an organization like ours since we're a pet boarding centre." Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO says, "In Mumbai, animal activists have a huge network. The whole purpose of IFA is to bring all the speakers and activists under one umbrella. The main motive is to give exposure to the activists to deal with issues on a day to day basis. The issues and exploitation is huge, way much more than it is visible. There are 25 million dogs but 3 million cattle we need to cater to all issues at large. "Commenting on the policy issues and the way to deal with it, Mehrotra said, "Policy change is a long shot and one cannot deal with it on his or her own way. Larger issues, require more numbers, activists and organization all these need to come together, and then, policy makers will have to listen to large number."

 

ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP ATTACKS TRUMP'S "INHUMANITY"

The national animal rights and protection group, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, announced that it was taking the "unusual step" of wading into the presidential race to endorse Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The reason the animal rights group gave was because they believe "Trump represents the greatest threat ever to federal policy-making and implementation of animal protection laws, and we are taking the unusual step of wading actively into a presidential campaign." The group made it very clear that it "evaluated candidates based on a single, non-partisan criterion-their support for animal protection-and did not default to one party or the other.

The HSLF is a lobbying affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States that also said that Ms. Clinton's Republican opponent was "a threat to animals everywhere." On the exact same day the HSLF announced their endorsement of Hillary Clinton, they launched a vicious anti-Trump ad campaign that cited his past record on animal protection; a record that should sicken any animal lover, even Trump supporters. The group also explained that its biggest concern was that a Trump administration would be stocked with anti-animal rights barbarians.

The HSLF said that based on potential policy decisions under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Fish and Game, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Institutes of Health, and various other executive level agencies, the stakes are just too high to allow a Trump presidency. The HSLF also noted that "there could not be a greater contrast among the White House hopefuls" that guarantees either the "potential for advancing animal welfare reforms at the federal level, or rolling back the recent gains and rule-making actions" that will have devastatingly adverse effects on animals. They also, rightly noted, that where Hillary Clinton has a clear, compelling record of support for animal protection, the opposition has already assembled a team of advisors and financial supporters "intricately tied to trophy hunting, puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and other abusive industries."

 

OBAMA SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER CLOSING ANIMAL CRUELTY LOOPHOLE ON U.S. MILITARY BASES

Even the U.S. military, possessed with so many brave, self-sacrificing individuals, has not been immune from a handful of its recruits perpetrating some very awful cases of cruelty. In recent years, authorities charged a U.S. Marine couple living at Camp Pendleton in California with shattering their dog's legs and binding his mouth with rubber bands for days. In Fort Bragg, North Carolina, law enforcement charged a soldier, who had a history of domestic violence, with slitting the throats of two dogs and then dumping their bodies in trash bags. In another well-publicized case in El Paso, Texas, a Fort Bliss soldier and his wife adopted two dogs and just two weeks later, one dog was dead and the other-a puppy-had suffered a broken leg that hardly seemed accidental. The soldiers were charged with animal cruelty by the local sheriffs' offices but had these offenses happened on a military base anywhere in the world, there would have been no action taken against them because U.S. state cruelty laws cannot be applied internationally.

Recently, President Obama signed an executive order closing this loophole in our anti-cruelty laws. The new provision under the Uniform Code of Military Justice will now apply anywhere in the world where the military is stationed and will be on a par with states' animal cruelty statutes. Violations will be separated by abuse, neglect, or abandonment of an animal and bestiality. The maximum punishment will include bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and jail time ranging from up to one year to up to five years, depending upon the offense. This is a significant advance from the prior circumstance when animal abuse was classed under a general provision with other disorders and neglects to be addressed with a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense. The HSUS's Sherry Ramsey worked diligently for five years to see this new policy adopted. We're also grateful to Representative Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., for leading a letter cosigned by a bipartisan group of 13 of his colleagues, urging the Administration to amend the UCMJ to include the specific crime of animal cruelty.

The FBI recently started to track animal cruelty crimes in its National Incident Based Reporting System, and it's good to see the military join the movement within the federal government to treat animal cruelty with the seriousness that it deserves. This reflects a now widespread recognition about the close link between animal cruelty and violence toward humans. The PACT Act would empower the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to prosecute animal abuse cases that occur in interstate commerce or on federal property, and it's a common-sense piece of legislation. There's no meaningful opposition to it, and a raft of support. It would be an easy matter to take this up in the lame duck session of Congress and do something good for the country, delivering a blow to the worst offenders of animals everywhere.

 

WORLD ANIMAL DAY CELEBRATED

5th October 2016, Ujjain: Children in the city conveyed a strong message on the occasion of World Animal Day by enacting a skit on the need to save animals. The play depicting the plight of animals and birds in captivity was staged at the Panchayati Digambar Jain Temple in Freeganj. Nirbhay Sagar Maharaj, who was present during the programe stressed the need for human beings to adopt a compassionate approach towards animals. In his thought provoking address, he said, animals and birds are the true companions of man and life without them would be practically impossible, while on the other hand they would survive more safely without humans. The World Animal Day, he said, should be marked as a day of penance in this respect. The day also marks the birthday of Saint Francis, and is dedicated to him.

 

UNABLE TO BEAR PAIN, KOLKATA JAIN CANCER PATIENT FASTING TILL DEATH

29th September 2016, Kolkata: Another case of Jain 'Santhara' that is turning the nation's gaze towards the eastern metropolis, an Octogenarian Calcuttan Jain unable to bear the pain of her cancer treatment, has taken the Jain path of 'Santhara'. Sohini Devi Dugar, 83, stopped taking food or water since her return from a hospital. She had lost her voice due to tracheostomy. She was diagnosed with throat cancer in July. "Doctors had also lost their hopes. How long can we make a person survive through pipes? By performing Santhara, one can do away with all the sins," told her daughter-in-law Madhu Dugar to mediamen. "It's a very bold decision which we support. Body is temporary but soul is permanent," her grandchild Anand Dugar said. Rajasthan High Court had banned Santhara or Sallekhana, a Jain ritual of fast-till-death in August last year comparing it to an act of suicide. However, Supreme Court put a stay on the ban.

 

IDOL, VALUABLES STOLEN FROM JAIN TEMPLE

2nd September 2016, Indore: Unidentified men entered a Jain temple located in a residential area near Gomatgiri and stole the idol along with other items valuing over Rs. 5 lakh. The CCTV cameras captured two men but they had their faces covered making identification difficult. Police have registered a case and are investigating the matter. According to the police, the theft occurred between 2:44 and 3:08 am at Parshwanath Digamber Jain Temple in Samarth City. The theft was discovered when temple's priest Sanat Kumar Jain arrived at the temple at 5:00 am. Jain found that thieves had jimmied three locks to enter the temple and stole the cash box and idol along with other valuables. He called the community members and the police and informed them of the theft.

 

MEMORIAL IN THE HONOR OF SLAIN STUDENT TARISHI JAIN

8th September 2016: Students, faculty and staff paused to honor Tarishi Jain, an 18-year-old UC Berkeley undergraduate who was among 22 people killed on July 1 during a terror attack on a busy cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh. An incoming sophomore at UC Berkeley, Jain was studying the growth of e-commerce as an intern at Eastern Bank Limited as part of a summer program of the Institute for South Asia Studies' Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies. The memorial was led by Sanchita Saxena, executive director of ISAS, along with community mental health care specialist Sarwang Parikh, who initiated a guided meditation that began as the Campanile's bells sounded at 5 p.m. The ritual to reflect on Jain's life and spirit, as well as the grief surrounding her death, was incorporated into the institute's annual fall reception at Stephens Hall. Sanchita Saxena commended Sridevi Prasad and Waheed Baksh, two other Chowdhury Center summer interns in Bangladesh last summer, for their support "for Tarishi's family, for the Berkeley community and for one another during what had to be some of the most horrific moments of their lives."

After Jain's death, Alexander von Rospatt, a UC Berkeley professor of Buddhist and South Asian Studies, remembered the young woman as "full of enthusiasm and energy and the aspiration to make a difference in the world." On campus, Jain worked with students leading an "Ethical" clothing line to make clothes with the UC Berkeley insignia, with proceeds to support micro lending projects.

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