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Digambar Jain Samaj Current News 2015 (English)

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83-year-old Jain woman in TN embraces death after 41-day santhara

CHENNAI, November 7, 2015: Marudevi Ammal, an 83-year-old woman in a remote village in Tiruvannamalai district of Tami Nadu who was observing santhara (sallekhana), a Jain ritual in which an individual fasts to death, attained samadhi at 2.40 pm on Thursday. Marudevi took the santhara vow at a Jain temple in Thensenthamangalam village 41 days ago.

In the days since then, she gradually reduced food and water intake. Eleven days ago, she gave up food and water completely and was in a meditative state.

This could be the first time a woman attained samadhi after embracing santhana in Tamil Nadu.  The cremation will take place as per the Jain agamas.

Chairs of Jain, Sikh and modern India studies in US varsity

Washington, October 29, 2015: University of California will establish three new endowed chairs in Jain, Sikh and modern Indian studies to expand knowledge of South Asian religions and culture. The School of Humanities at the University of California, has the Dhan Kaur Sahota Presidential Chair in Sikh Studies, Shri Parshvanath Presidential Chair in Jain Studies, and Swami Vivekananda-Dharma Civilisation Foundation Presidential Chair in Modern India Studies studies.

Donations of USD 4.5 million, plus another USD 1.5 million from the UC Office of the President, will fund these chairs, intended to expand UCI’s  scholarship in South Asian religions and culture, the university said in a statement.

Meera and Jasvant Modi along with their children established Shri Parshvanath Presidential Chair in Jain Studies. The chair holder will be a scholar with wide-ranging knowledge of, and research interests in, Jain ethics, philosophy, religion, history and culture, including the fundamental principles of Jainism nonviolence, nonpossessiveness and a pluralistic perspective and familiarity with Indian languages such as Sanskrit and Prakrit.

The chair is named in honour of Bhagvan Parshvanath, the 23rd savior of Jainism, with “Shri” being a Sanskrit title of veneration akin to “holy”. The Dharma Civilization Foundation, a California-based nonprofit, seeks to promote philanthropic giving to further the systematic study of Indian religious traditions in Modern India Studies. Source: PTI

Thieves strike Jain temple, flee with four idols

AURANGABAD, October 12, 2015: Unidentified suspects stole four idols from the Parshavnath Digambar Jain temple early on Saturday, making it the third successful theft at the temple. The police have failed to crack the earlier thefts and the temple management's step to install CCTV cameras does not seem to have deterred the culprits.

At 6.30 am on Saturday, when temple priest Pandit Ambekar reached the temple for paying morning obeisance, he was shocked to find the idols missing. He soon informed the people from the locality, who rushed to the spot and found the grill of one of the windows broken. The temple priest said that four idols, including that of Lord Parshavnath, Shantilal, Nandishwar and Chowesi, have been stolen by the suspects.

Representatives of the Jain community in the city lodged a strong protest over the theft of the four idols of panchdhatu - made by mixing the five metals of copper, gold, lead, silver and iron, from the temple situated at Vitthalnagar area.

Over the past year, thieves have managed to break into the temple twice and stealing the idols. The city police have not been able to detect the cases.

Deputy commissioner of police Rahul Shrirame said, "We have visited the spot and are working to identify the suspects. We have rounded up some criminals on record and we are hopeful of detecting the case at the earliest." He said that they were closely examining the CCTV footage in which the suspect is seen carrying all the four idols one by one. Source: Times of India

A nearly 1,100-year-old Jain temple on the verge of collapse

Tirupur, October 09, 2015: A nearly 1,100-year-old Jain temple found abandoned on a 20 cents land at Alathoor village, near here, is on the verge of a collapse due to lack of conservation.

Though the inscriptions point to a rich historical importance for the temple, it looks that the eyes of the authorities are yet to fall on the structure. A portion of the side walls of the temple has already fallen down after the construction was shaken by the roots of the trees that had grown wildly around as well as inside the shrine.

The ceiling as well as the wall that makes the rare elevation are in a dilapidated state looking to give in at any time owing to absence of maintenance.

C.M. Ramesh Kumar, a historian and teacher who had studied about the temple, told " The Hindu" that the holy place which was originally named as Veerasangathapperumpalli Aniyathazhaki temple (lady deity), attained the name of Amaneasar temple over the years.

“The word ‘palli’ in its original name indicates that the shrine has also been used as a ‘padashala’ (school) for teaching Jain principles and general ancient philosophies”, the historian said. The temple is located in the ancient trade corridor that passed through the North Kongu divisions. Source: thehindu.com

Seminar to focus on Jain poets contribution to Kannada literature

BELAGAVI, September 26, 2015: The two-day seminar on ‘Historical consciousness in ancient Jain poetry’ that will begin on September 26 will revisit the literary contribution of Jain poets to Kannada literature. It is being organised by Kannada University, Hampi and Bharatesh Education Trust. Over 23 scholars will present their research papers while writers, poets and experts on Jain literature and Kannada literature will participate in the deliberations.

Despite the appreciation of Jain writers’ contributions to Kannada literature, not much was comprehended about its contribution to the cultural values of Karnataka, N. Chinnaswamy Sosale of the Department of History at Kannada University and poet Jinadatt Desai said. The former Vice-Chancellor of Kannada University H.C. Boralingaiah would inaugurate the seminar at 10 a.m. Source: thehindu.com

Jains seek more security cover for four monoliths

MANGALURU, September 7, 2015: The districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and Hassan are home to four monoliths of Lord Bahubali. However, these monoliths are subject to minimal security. Besides the CCTVs, nothing else safeguards the statue of Gomateshwara in Shravanabelagola.

Although these century-old monuments are maintained by the archaeological department of India, the emphasis laid on safety is almost zilch. "The security provided to the Jain religious monuments is less compared to other temples.

We have written to the Central Archaeological Department to fund the state-of-art surveillance as well as to increase the vigilance for Gomateshwara statue in Shravanabelagola," said Jitendra Kumar, president of Karnataka Jain Association, who also doubles as the working president of the Mahamastakabhisheka ceremony, which will be held in 2018.

Jain communities have also expressed their concerns over the repeated thefts in basadis (Jain shrine or temple).  "We have requested a thorough probe into recent thefts, increasing day by day, but it has fallen to deaf ears," alleges Mahaveer Jain from Karkala. The small town is home to 18 Basadis. indiatimes.com

SC stays Rajasthan HC decision declaring 'Santhara' as illegal

August 31, 2015: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed Rajasthan High Court decision of declaring 'Santhara' - a religious ritual of fasting until death, as illegal

A Jain body had on August 25, approached the Supreme Court challenging the Rajasthan High Court order. The Rajasthan High Court on August 10 had held 'santhara' as illegal making it punishable under section 306 and 309 of IPC related to abetment of suicide.

Sthanakvasi Jain Shravak Sangh, in its petition before the apex court, had claimed it was passed without appreciating the basic philosophy and tenets of the Jain religion.

The petition also claimed that the high court erred in equating the religious practice with the offence of suicide while the fact is a "vow taken to purify the soul".

"Santhara is an ancient and old practice as old as the religion as the faith itself and the observations of the High Court in this regard is exfacie wrong and the references to the practice are found as far back as in Samvat 1389," the plea said.

"Article 25 (of Constitution) protects a right of every person to the 'freedom of conscience' which entitles a person to a right to have his own beliefs and faith and as such the so called 'modern' thinking cannot be imposed on the members of the Jaina Community," it said

Ban on Santhara: Jains to protest against HC ruling

August 25, 2015: Members of the Jain community in Mumbai protest Monday against the Rajasthan High Court that had criminalised “Santhara”, a Jain tradition in which a person takes a vow of abstinence and starves to death.

Starting from a Jain temple in Walkeshwar at 10:00 am, all dressed in white, head towards the Governor’s house and a memorandum submitted to the Governor.

In VARANASI which is the birthplace of four Jain Tirthankaras, witnessed scores of Jains including women on street protesting against the Rajasthan high court order banning the Jain tradition of Santhara. They took out a march to the local office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi where they submitted a memorandum on Monday.

In Jaipur thousands of Jain community members on Monday took out a 'silent march' protesting the Rajasthan High Court judgement banning the practise of "Santhara", a Jain religious ritual of voluntary fast unto death.

Members of both Shwetambar and Digambar sects participated in the 'silent march' on Monday protesting the Rajasthan High Court judgement banning the practise of "Santhara" all over India.

10,000 Jains shave heads to protest HC ban on Santhara

JHANSI,August 23, 2015: Around 10,000 people of all ages from Jain community shaved their heads in Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur as a mark of protest against the recent Rajasthan High Court order banning the religious practice of "Santhara" . Lalitpur has a predominant Jain population.

The community members termed tonsuring of heads as a peaceful protest against the high court order. An appeal was also made by the community to the traders to close the market on Monday.

Reports said early Saturday morning, several Jain community members of all ages — from five to 80 years — lined up in front of two main Jain temples, Ata Mandir at Ghanta Ghar and Chetrapal temple. A group of 25 barbers present at each temple later shaved their heads.

This exercise of tonsuring of heads continued till late night and will be further carried on Sunday also, said Ajay Jain, a local resident who also got his head shaved.

"This is our peaceful protest against the high court ruling. This is our religious ritual which we have been following since ages and stopping it is an insult to our religion," he told TOI.

President of Digambar Jain Mandir, Lalitpur, Anil Anchal, said, "A total of 10,000 people from the community are getting their heads shaved." He called it "a unique protest with an overwhelming response". Source: indiatimes.com

Rajasthan High Court holds Jain Santhara ritual of fast unto death illegal

Jaipur, August 11, 2015: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday held Jainism religious ritual of 'Santhara' (fast unto death) as illegal making it punishable under section 306 and 309 IPC (abetment of suicide).

"Santhara or fast unto death is not an essential tenet of Jainism, " the HC said adding it cannot be termed as humane and it's violative of basic human right.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the legality of 'Santhara' was filed in the high court in 2006 by an advocate Nikhil Soni.

The petitioner's lawyer had said 'Santhara', which is fast unto death by giving up food and water, is in violation of the Right to Life.

If euthanasia is not allowed, practice of Sati is banned and suicide is illegal, then 'Santhara' cannot be allowed either, he had contended. Upholding the contention, the division bench of the high court held the practice as violative of human rights. Source: PTI

Idol stolen from Jain temple in Madhya Pradesh

Khandwa (MP), August 01, 2015: An ‘asthadhatu’ (alloy of eight metal) idol has been allegedly stolen from a famous Jain temple at Siddhawarkoot near Omkreshwar town in Khandwa district, police said .

Unidentified thieves took one of the ten idols of Kaamdev and also decamped with Rs 1 lakh kept in the donation box by opening its lock with a duplicate key,” Sub-Inspector P K Sanvle said.

The temple is situated close to the famous Omkareshwar temple, one of the twelve jyotirlingas in the country.

The latest incident has angered the Jain community as similar theft had taken place at Jain temples in Barwah Sanawad area in the region in the recent past. - PTI


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