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2008-03 Editors’ Visit To London (3)

Published: 04.04.2008
Updated: 29.11.2012

6th-7th March 2008
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theater

Jaina Art & Architecture
10th Jaina Studies Workshop at SOAS

We took a short rest as time of the Annual Jain Lecture at Brunei Gallery Theatre was near and we had planned to arrive early enough for installing the video camera conveniently. At 18:00 sharp the evening session started.

Letter from the Chair

Dr. Peter Flügel welcomed the audience and opened the event by reading his “Letter from the Chair” of the Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies, Issue 3, March 2008. Peter Flügel and Janet Leigh Foster from San Francisco were editors of the newsletter, Janet Leigh Foster also was responsible for its design.

Photo by Robert J. del Bonta (San Francisco). "A detail of Sarasvati from a ceiling at the Vimala Vasahi or Adinatha temple, Mount Abu, 1032 CE and later. One of the many ornate ceilings at the temple. Many depict the vidyadevis, a group of sixteen goddesses. Sarasvati is not part of that group, but as the goddess of learning is found represented throughout the history of Jaina art."

The Jnanabharati International Awards for the years 2005 and 2006 were given to two senior scholars from Germany, for the year 2005 to Professor Emeritus Willem Bollée of the University of Heidelberg, for the year 2006 to Professor Emeritus Klaus Bruhn of the Free University of Berlin. Both were honoured as stalwarts of Prakrit studies.

HereNow4U sincerely compliments both awardees. 

The initiative of Dr. Anne Vallely of the University of Ottawa for organising a panel on Jain studies at the AAR and other meaningful research projects were appreciated. The first print version of Vol. 1-3 of the online International Journal of Jaina Studies and other remarkable publications were also mentioned.

Prof. Olle Qvarnström from Lund University, Sweden, then gave his welcome speech. Thereafter SOAS Honorary President Prof. Clifford Wright awarded Jaina Essay Prize 2006-7 to Annie Rowling for her essay on “Is the Philosophy of Non-Absolutism only partly or absolutely true?” and Hugh St Aubyn for his ISP on “Sallekhana: its place within the Jain religious tradition and the context of its status as voluntary death or suicide”.

addressing the audience

Nicholas Barnard from Victoria and Albert Museum London then addressed the audience.

addressing the audience

Prof. Tiwari from Benares Hindu University, India, gave the 8th Annual Jain Lecture on “New Approach to the Study of Jaina Art and Architecture”. Unlike the lectures of the workshop, the Annual Jain Lecture is scheduled 90 minutes. All workshop lectures are limited to 30 minutes. The time limit was maintained by changing chairpersons. Their duty was to inform all lecturers when 5 minutes out of 30 were left.

The Annual Jain Lecture: "New Approach to the Study of Jaina Art and Architecture" 06.03.2008 SOAS, London

For us, not being specialists and not yet having studied the many books of Prof. Tiwari on the subject, the Annual Jain Lecture was highly informative. Prof. Tiwari takes Jaina Art and Architecture for an integral part of collective Indian Culture. He expressed the hope for future researches keeping this holistic concept in mind.

Time flew away, and we really wondered when Prof. Tiwari’s lecture was over. 80 minutes had passed all in a sudden. We not only enjoyed the presence of a specialist from India presenting his view to the audience, but also enjoyed the questions thereafter. The majority of the audience consisted of experts of the subject from 3 continents.

The following 90 minutes people got together and exchanged their views in a reception at Brunei Gallery Suite. We just report on a choice of encounters, as covering the many animated discussions would go beyond the scope of this report.

Dr. Max Deeg, Cardiff University, (l) & Dr. Janice Leoshko, University of Texas

Prof. Nalini Balbir from Nouvelle Sorbonne Paris exchanged views full of vigor and spirit with Dipl.-Ing. Gerd Mevissen of Freie Universität Berlin. Both of them were among the lecturers of the next day. We know Gerd Mevissen since many years; Prof. Klaus Bruhn once had acquainted us.

Prof. Nalini Balbir, Nouvelle Sorbonne Paris, Dipl.-Ing. Gerd Mevissen, FU Berlin Prof. Nalini Balbir, Nouvelle Sorbonne Paris, Dipl.-Ing. Gerd Mevissen, FU Berlin

When we met the eve before with Prof. Tiwari, he wanted to know how Prof. Bruhn is doing. Professor Bruhn’s book on Deogarh still is a benchmark in research on Jaina Art. Prof Tiwari was smiling when we told him that Prof. Bruhn is working like usual. Prof. Tiwari nodded smilingly, “That’s how I know him. I remember my stay in Berlin with him, about 10 years ago.”

05.03.2008 - the evening before the workshop started - some participants already arrived at the Indian YMCA hostel. A nice evening, dinner together & talks.

Dr. Robert del Bontà and Janet Foster, both from San Francisco, joked about their actual meeting in London and small talked on jetlag and how to fly comfortably. 

We got to know Mr. Manish Mehta from the Jain Society of Greater Detroit, USA, and had inspiring talks with Nicholas Barnard from Victoria & Albert Museum London and Mr. Raju Sobhag Shah, since many years a weekly volunteer to V & A Museum.

Mr. Manish Mehta, Jain Society Greater Detroit Nicholas Barnard, Raju Shah

We were happy to meet again with Dr. Atul Shah who in 2007 had released his book “Celebrating Diversity”, and with Mr. Devendra Shah from Oshwal Society UK.

Dr. Atul K. Shah Karuna Jain, Mr. Devendra Shah of Oshwal Society UK

Slowly all started feeling hungry, and departure for dinner seemed quite a necessity. Dinner was reserved in an Italian restaurant in walking distance from SOAS Brunei Gallery. It was an atmosphere filled with discussions and laughter nearly everybody enjoyed dinner. When we started for Indian YMCA, Prof. Babu, Prof. Tiwari, and Prof. Veluppillai joined us. We all knew that Indian YMCA was not far when we started walking. All cats are grey in the dark, and we had to ask a passer-by how to get there. It was just around the corner!


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      1. Anne Vallely
      2. Atul Shah
      3. Benares
      4. Berlin
      5. Centre Of Jaina Studies
      6. Deogarh
      7. Detroit
      8. Devendra
      9. Devendra Shah
      10. Freie Universität Berlin
      11. Gerd Mevissen
      12. Heidelberg
      13. HereNow4U
      14. International Journal of Jaina Studies
      15. JAINA
      16. Jain Society of Greater Detroit
      17. Jaina
      18. Jaina Art
      19. Jaina Studies Workshop At SOAS
      20. Janet Leigh Foster
      21. Klaus Bruhn
      22. London
      23. Lund
      24. Lund University
      25. Manish Mehta
      26. Nalini Balbir
      27. Non-absolutism
      28. Olle Qvarnström
      29. Oshwal
      30. Ottawa
      31. Peter Flügel
      32. Prakrit
      33. Prof. Bruhn
      34. Raju Sobhag Shah
      35. Robert del Bontà
      36. SOAS
      37. Victoria and Albert Museum
      38. Willem Bollée
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