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Ahimsa Times november 2007 Issue - www.jainsamaj.org

Vol. No. 89

November, 2007

SAINTS
SHRAMAN SANGH CLOSE TO BRING BACK UNITY IN SAINTS

Pravartak Maharaj Roop Muni 'Rajat'
Acharya Dr. Shiv Muni

Due to continuous and dedicated efforts of Jain conference president, Shri. Kantilal Jain and Past President Shri. Nemichand Chopra reconciliation efforts in shraman sangh of Sthanakwasi Jain Saints have reached to almost final stage. Both groups lead by Acharya Shiv Muni and Senior Jain saint and Pravartak Maharaj Roop Muni 'Rajat' have endorsed the unity efforts. The initiative was taken by Roop Muni to send unity message to Dr. Shiv Muni, which was immediately welcomed in the presence of hundreds of community members. Other community members, who coordinated the unity efforts are Sumati Lalji Karnawat, Shri Nrip Raj Jain and Lala Nemi Nath Jain. Before the final announcement is made, unity proposals are required to be endorsed by Shri Vishal Muni and some other saints. Delhi-based Shri Surendra Muni has informed that their concurrence is still awaited.

DELHI PRISONERS IMPRESSED BY JAIN SAINT SHRI AGAM MUNI
Sthanakwasi saint Shri Agam Muni visited Rohini Jail on 25th October to meet the 1500 prisoners. Prisoners were highly impressed and took the oath to stop drinking, smoking and tobacco etc. The visit was organised by Delhi Jain Mahamandal, an organisation headed by Shri Sukhbir Jain. Shri Suresh Jain, Shri Sher Singh Jain and many other community members were also present on the occasion. Jail superintendent Shri. V.K.Khanna thanked the saint & Jain community for their endeavour in bringing social reforms. 

TEMPLES
NAV-AANGI DISPUTE REACHES TO FULL BENCH OF MUMBAY HIGH COURT
MUMBAI: Difference of opinion between two sects of the Jain community is now a debate over procedure in law before a full bench of the Bombay High Court. The two sects differ in the way they worship Mahavir. A majority of the community follows the ek-aangi method of worship, where a small tilak of sandalwood is applied on the deity’s forehead, while the other group follows the nav-aangi tradition where sandalwood is applied at nine places on the deity’s body. “Followers of the ek-aangi way passed a resolution against practicing the nav-aangi way, saying it was not right,” said advocate Shankar Mhatre on behalf of Kantilal Shah and others who follow the nav-aangi way.

Nav-aangi followers presented religious texts in support of their belief and practice in the City Civil Court in 1998. The judge marked these 126 documents as exhibits to support Kantilal’s contention but the other side argued that these were not admissible evidence. The judge however held that the admissibility could be decided at a later stage in the trial and the documents could tentatively be made exhibits, which was first challenged in the HC. Naresh Shah and others who had moved court against the nav-aangi practice raised objection over admissibility of the documents as proof because they were voluminous and cross examination would be futile if the court inferred the evidence as inadmissible at a later date.

Two judges of the HC, in separate orders, made contradicting observations. While one said the evidence should be admitted at the beginning of the trial, the other held it could be admitted temporarily and its admissibility could be decided later. The case was therefore referred to a larger bench of the HC in July 2005. Arguing on behalf of the Nav-aangi followers before a full bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar, Justices VC Daga and VM Kanade, senior counsel Shrihari Aney said the judge can defer the decision regarding the admissibility of evidence to a later stage in the trial and not necessarily decide it at the onset. “Judges have to be asked to train their minds again,” he said. The bench will hear the case further on December 14. New Courtesy Mr. Gaurav Jain 'Lakshaya' M: (+91)- 981 198 1233, E-Mail : gauravejainyji@gmail.com

Dr. Rakesh Shastri takes a ceremonial bowl to be placed in the ground during the foundation stone ceremony.

ANOTHER JAIN TEMPLE FOUNDATION LAID IN PHOENIX, U.S. - The first slab of marble has been laid in South Phoneix. The ornate $3 million temple is being built on four acres, once part of a farm, at 6202 S. 23rd Ave., just south of Southern Avenue, in Phoenix. The temple complex will have statues of the 24 lords or tirthankars, surrounded by other idols. The south Phoenix site will become the center for area Jain prayer, meditation and other activities for the Jain community. Three days of festive celebrations were attended by 150 Jain families of the area and guests from other areas. During the ceremony, many people dropped their gold necklaces and diamond rings in the pit. It is believed that these presents are accepted by the god. The International Community for Krishna Consciousness plans to build its temple next door on four acres that was divided from the original purchase parcel.

BHAGWAN ADINATH BAWANGAJA MAHAMASTKAABHISHEK 2008 - This Mahamastkaabhishek programme will take place from 27th January to 4th February 2008 Badwani near Indore. This Jain pilgrimage place is extremely popular and known for ancient 84feet (1008 inch) statue of Bhagwan Adinath. To attend the Mahamastakaabhishek program Muni Vidhyanandji is also reaching the venue. Muni Upadhyaya Sri Gupti Sagarji is already there. Mahamastkaabhishek committee will provide 1008 kalash every day to devotees against booking. Programme details are available on website www.bawangaja.com. You can also speak to chief programme co-ordinator Mr. A.K.Jain on telephone no. 98-100-11697 for details. (Indore Address - 4/2, South Tukoganj, Indore, M.P. Telephone 0731-2510141).

About the Temple - In the heart of India , stands Madhya Pradesh and in the heart of Madhya Pradesh is Malwa, known for its glorious cultural and historical backgrounds. The region of Malwa has charming natural locations between the Satpura and the Vindhyachals. This land is made holy by the water of the Narmada , the Kshipra and the Chambal. The mountains of Satpura had been the favorite place of great ascetics and preceptors for practicing penance. The land of Bawangaja had been the land of penance for several great religious dignities. In the middle of the Satpura, at the height of 4000.6 ft. is the idol of the founder of Jainism the first Tirthankar Rishabh Dev, carved on single stone, with height of 25.6 metres. (84 ft.). This place is known as Bawangaja. The idol here is the highest in the world and rich in art. For hundreds of years this captivating idol, standing in the posture of meditation, exhibits the heights of detachment, quietness, art and expressions.

CONFERENCES, SEMINARS & EVENTS
NATIONAL CONVENTION OF BHARATVARSHIYA DIGAMBAR JAIN MAHASABHA HELD IN NAGPUr - The leading institution of the entire Digambar Jain community in the country, Bharatvarshiya Digambar Jain Mahasabha held its national convention at Nagpur on the 6th and 7th October, 2007. Shri Nirmal Kumar Sethi, President of Mahasabha was present along with the representatives of various committees and other eminent members of the society. Apart from passing the budget, various important issues concerning the community were discussed. Shri Shanti Sagar Ji scholarship was instituted to help the needy people of Digambar Jain community. Shri Sethi stressed the need to stop the increasing tendency of serving food during night, after sunset on the occasion of marriages and other occasions.

HONORS

D. R. MEHTA HONOURED WITH SOCIAL ENTREPTREURSHIP AWARD
The award for Social Entrepreneurship for the year 2007 was presented by an eminent social organisation based in New York, called 'Indians for Collective Action' (ICA) to Shri D.R. Mehta, ex-chairman of SEBI and a prominent and renowned social worker for his remarkable and dedicated services to needy and disabled people and his unstinted commitment to society not only in India but in several other countries. The award ceremony was held recently in New York. Ms. Lata patil , President of ICA was in the chair. In his thanks-giving speech, Shri Mehta said that he has been striving for the last several years to provide 'Jaipur foot' to as many people as possible in many countries. He thanked the N.R.I. community in USA, specially those in California region for their support in this project. Shri Prem Bhandari, who is the Secretary General of 'Bhagwan Mahavir Jaipur Foot' in USA informed on this occasion that the Institute of Design at Stanford University, one of the leading universities of America, has taken up the project and entered into a 'technology cooperation agreement' to look into the possibility of redesigning and improving the Jaipur foot so that the person wearing it can feel more comfortable during walking or even running. Many eminent industrialists, scientists and representatives from service organisations were present at the award ceremony.

From left: Newly elected office-bearers Arvind, Srikaran, Amit Desai, Sanjay Jain, Siddiqui, Ramesh and Rengarajan at the meeting

SANJAY JAIN ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF ICAI – DOHA CHAPTER
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) – Doha chapter, elected a new team of office-bearers at its annual general meeting. More than 300 C.A. attended the AGM making it one of the largest gathering in the history of ICAI-Doha, that has held the event for the last 26 years. A new committee was also formed during the function. Sanjay Jain has been elected chairman of the committee for 2007-08. Sanjay Jain (5845359),

AWARD OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN JAINISM TO DR. SHUGAN JAIN AND PROF. CROMWELL CRAWFORD - Dr. Shugan Jain has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The degree was delivered by former president of India Dr. A.P.J. Kalam on 4th November at Udaipur. The programme organised under the blessings of Acharya Mahapragyaji was attended by Jain community in large numbers. On this occassion  Prof. Cromwell Crawford, the Academic Director of the International School for Jain Studies was also present and was honoured for his services in promoting Jain studies in international sector. He was also presented honor of D.Litt at the same time from the former President of India. Ahimsa Foundation congratulates Prof. Cromwell Crawford for his distinguished services to Jain Religion and Dr. Shugan Jain.

Mrs. Sushilaben Shah and Chimanlal S. Shah an elderly and senior silent workers honoured by Shree Swetamber Sthanakwasi Jain Sangh - Mombasa.

STHANAKWASI JAIN SANGH MOMBASA HONOURS SUSHILABEN SHAH AND CHIMANLAL S. SHAH - At a Annual Religious Luncheon Shree Swetamber Sthanakwasi Jain Sangh - Mombasa honoured one of the dedicated couples Mr. Chimanlal Shantilal Shah and his gracious lady Mrs. Sushilaben Chimanlal Shah among others during the Sangh's 70 years celebrations which boasts first of its kind in the history of the Sangh, in the city of Mombasa. Mr. and Mrs. Shah who have attained the age of 70 years plus were deco-rated, recognized and honoured for their selfless services towards Community and beyond. Chimanbhai's  has been actively associated with Jain Society and its well being.  Mr. Chimanbhai is a well reputed, dedicated and a humble middle management employee entrusted with decision making duties in the Mega Doshi Group of Companies, where his services according to statistics are in attachment for more than fifty years plus. The programme was also attended by Assistant High Commissioner of India , J. S. Varriah and  400 Sangh members.

MISCELLANEOUS

INDIANS STAGE BIGGEST ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTEST IN MALAYSIA - Ethnic Indian protesters brought Kuala Lumpur to a standstill for almost six hours in the name of Queen Elizabeth II by staging biggest-ever anti-government protest near Petronas Twin Towers. After one day of anti-discrimination protest staged by the ethnic Indian community, which accounts 8% of Malaysian population, the protesters claimed victory  when the sedition charges leveled against three of them were dropped by a Malaysian Court. More than 1,000 activists carried three freed activists out of the courthouse on their shoulders.

Earlier , Malaysia’s Indian community had staged its biggest-ever anti-government protest and more than 10,000 protesters defied tear gas and water cannons to fight against racial discrimination in the country. The protesters brought Kuala Lumpur to a standstill for almost six hours in the name of Queen Elizabeth II. They staged protest near Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers and later clashed with police, which used their batons to beat protesters.

The protesters wanted to hand over a memorandum, which was signed by thousands of ethnic Indians, to Queen Elizabeth II. They urged the Queen to appoint a counsel to represent them in a class action suit against the British government that had brought Indians to the then Malaya as ’bonded labourers’ and exploited them. The protesters, mostly ethnic Tamils laborers brought to Malaysia from South India, demanded that the British government to pay about $4 trillion in damages in concurrence for what they called as the ‘150 years of exploitation’ of ethnic Indians.

P. Uthaya Kumar, organizer of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), said that Malaysian Indians have never gathered in such large numbers in this way. They were frustrated due to no job opportunities in the government or the private sector. They were not given business licences or places in university. He also said that Indians were also incensed by some recent demolitions of Hindu temples in the country.

The workers of an alliance of opposition parties and some civil society groups were also participating in the anti-government protest staged by ethnic Indians. They were chanting slogans for ‘election reform and justice’ as well. Parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said at the palace gates before delivering a petition to the king that the Malaysian people must be allowed to express their opinions and views freely. At the same time, the New York-based Human Rights Watch has also slammed the government’s stand against the mass rally and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s step to suppress the protest. It said that vote buying and use of public resources by the ruling parties have sullied elections in Malaysia. It also blamed of the Election Commission for adapting biased steps during elections.

Protests are uncommon in Malaysia and the last major rally was seen in 1998 when the ‘Reformasi’ movement had erupted after Anwar’s sacking. Anwar, who was perceptible successor to former PM Mahathir Mohamad until 1998 when he was sacked and jailed under the charges of sodomy and corruption, had chanted slogan of ‘Reformasi’ or ‘Reform’. He declared that the people wanted free and fair elections in the country. Later, the sodomy conviction leveled against him overturned but the corruption verdict barred him from standing for public office till April 2008. Elections might be held in early next year.

However, the mainstream political parties disassociated themselves from the  rally by terming it as illegal gathering. They also claimed that the rally was opposition party’s strategy to smear image of the government before the general elections. The Malaysian government had even warned that it would not hesitate to invoke the country’s strict security laws allowing detentions without trial on those people involved in such rallies.

Now, the Malaysian court has been ordered to free the three members of Hindraf, who were charged with sedition , on technical grounds. The Police had arrested them  under the charge of the Sedition Act for the speeches they delivered on November 16. According to the laws, sedition is punishable by three years in prison and a fine in Malaysia.

NON-HINDUS TO GET FULL ADOPTION RIGHTS
New Delhi, Nov 17: In a significant move to enhance the legal rights of both adopted children and the couples who give them a home, the Centre has changed the law to allow non-Hindu parents to claim full parenthood instead of just "guardian" status that they were allowed till now. The changes in law also seek to encourage adoption by simplifying procedures. Under the law so far, only Hindu couples who adopted children could claim to be "parents". Non-Hindus were just guardians to their adopted children. This led to the children being denied rights to inherited property besides creating procedural hassles for parents at the time of school admissions etc. Some clarifications may still be needed on whether the changes would apply to Muslims as the community has its personal laws. These will be cleared in the guidelines to be framed by Central Adoption Research Agency. The new law also makes adoption by inter-faith couples easier. Under the new guidelines issued by the women and child development ministry under the Juvenile Justice Act 2000, amended last year and notified on October 26, the new rules will also cut red-tapism in adoption procedures while increasing the number of recognised adoption agencies.

JAIN PILGRIM TOWN PAWAPURI TO HAVE MEDICAL COLLEGE Patna,  The state government will soon open a medical college and hospital at the pilgrim township of Pawapuri.  This was announced by the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, while talking to newsmen after the function organized to commemorate the 2,533 years of Nirvana of Bhagwan Mahavir at Pawapuri. He said that he had instructed the Nalanda district magistrate to acquire land for the purpose. Several farmers of the area had given their verbal consent for giving land voluntarily. He disclosed that the hospital would be equipped with latest facilities. Official sources said that the construction of the hospital would start next year. The chief minister also visited the Swetambar Jain temple in Pawapuri.

SIX IDOLS OF JAIN TIRTHANKARS STOLEN FROM GURGAON JAIN TEMPLE - After a gap of 10 months, thieves struck again at another Jain temple in Gurgaon and stole six ancient idols of Jain Tirthankars, made of Asthadhatu. They also took away other valuables from the temple of Kasan village in Manesar near Gurgaon on 15th November. Police commissioner Mahendra Lal, who rushed to the spot, said that the theft of precious items included a ‘chhattar’ made of gold and a ‘singhasan’ made of silver. The Manesar police have registered a case after a complaint was lodged by the president of Parasnath Digambar Jain Charitable Trust, Paritosh Jain. In January this year, 10 Ashtadhatu idols were stolen from another Jain temple in the old city of Gurgaon. The failure of police to nab the thieves had triggered a protest by the Jain community. Till date, the police have not been able to solve the case.

NEW LITERATURE ADDED ON WWW.JAINSAMAJ.ORG

AWARDS FOR PROMINENT JAIN SAMAJ LEADERS
Ahimsa Foundation had announced awards for prominent Jain Samaj Leaders in various categories, such as, Industrialists, Businessmen, Professionals, Authors, Religious Leaders, Scholars and Institutions through its newsletter, Ahimsa Times. Although, considerable time has elapsed in waiting for the receipt of entries or proposals for these awards, very few responses have been received in most of the categories and therefore it is not feasible to carry out a selection for each of the categories of people who could be considered as a right and appropriate choice for the awards.

The trustees of Ahimsa Foundation have therefore been constrained to keep all the entries received in abeyance and consider these later, if and when the awards are announced in future. The foundation, in the meantime, expresses its gratefulness to all those, who have cared to send their proposals for being considered as prominent Jain samaj leaders and have and shown their interest and confidence in our web portal, www.jainsamaj.org. It also wishes them unstinted success, continued prominence and a happy and bright future in their professions or activities.

ICONS OF JAIN SAMAJ-1

DR. VEER SINGH MEHTA
NEUROSURGEON, DELHI

Honoured with Padam Shree Award By President  - 26th January, 2005

Dr. Veer Singh Mehta is one of the finest neurosurgeon not only in the country but in South-East Asia and is well known for his excellent neurosurgical results in the world.

Born on 5th December 1949 Dr. Veer Singh Mehta joined department of neurosurgery at AIIMS in 1981 as Asst. Professor. He received his neurosurgical training initially at SMS Medical College Jaipur and later at AIIMS, New Delhi under Prof. P. N. Tandon and Prof. A. K. Banerji. With his excellent achievements he was selected as professor of neurosurgery in 1992 and appointed as head of department in 1994 and chief of neurosciences centre in 2001. He headed the neurosurgery department till 2006. Dr. Mehta is presently, Director Neurosciences of Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon, Haryana.

Dr. Veer Singh Mehta is pioneer in surgery for brachial plexus injuries in the country. He has demonstrated excellent results for aneurysmal surgery especially for giant intracranial aneurysms and his results are comparable to the best in the world. He has also shown excellent results in brain stem tumours which is one of the most delicate area of the brain. He has contributed a lot to the development of microneurosurgery in the country. He was first one to start microneurosurgery laboratory training programme in 1981 which led to many neurosurgeons to get training in microneurosurgery in the country. Dr. Veer Singh Mehta is first one in the country to popularize day care/ short stay surgery in neurosurical practice. He has published 138 papers/ chapters in various international and national scientific journal/ books. Has delivered more than 100 guest lectures at various international and national forums. He has been involved in many international multicentric studies and has been involved with research in head injuries, intracerebral hematomas, brachial plexus injuries etc.

Dr. Veer Singh Mehta has been member of various prestigious national institutions. Some of which includes chairman advisory committee for neurosurgery for national board of examination from 2002, chairman of human ethics committee of national brain research centre for 2002, member of academic committee of institute of human behavior and allied sciences from 1998, member of executive council of IHBAS 2003, member of governing body of NBRC from 2003. He was president of Delhi Neurological Association 2002-2003. Dr. Veer Singh Mehta has been associated with many international and national journals. He has been founder editor of the journal of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry (Ind. Ed) from 2001, associate editor of Acta Neurochirurgica from 2003. He was editor of progress in clinical neurosciences 1999-2002. He has been on editorial board of many important national journals.

He has been awarded with many awards and distinction and some of the important ones are E. Merk gold medal in year 1980, E. Merk gold medal in year 1985, Jack and Monica Britton traveling fellowship 1986, senior commonwealth fellowship 1994, fellow of National Academy of Sciences 2001, awarded Best Recruiting Stich Centre in Asia 2001, special award of Excellence in Academics December 2001 by Indian Medical Association, fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences 2003, Presidential Oration Delhi Neurological Association Feb. 2003. Address : Prof. (Dr.) V. S. Mehta, Director Neurosciences, Paras Hospitals, C-1 Block, Sushant Look, Phase-I, Gurgaon- 122 002 ( Haryana ), Tel : 91-0124-458555, Fax : 91-0124-4585604, Mobile : 093-126-09366, E-Mail : mehta_vs@rediffmail.com

READER'S NOTES
LETTER TO WASHINGTON POST ABOUT 'DEEPAWALI ' BY BAL PATIL

I would like to correct your misleading report in Washington Post  that Diwali is specifically Hindu festival. Are you aware that very recently the US House of Representatives have passed a Resolution H. Res. 747 In the House of Representatives, U. S.,October 29, 2007 as follows: "Whereas Diwali, a festival of great significance to Indian Americans and the people of India, is celebrated annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains throughout the United States and the world; Whereas there are more than 2,000,000 Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains in the United States; Whereas the word `Diwali' is a shortened version of the Sanskrit term `Deepavali', which means `a row of lamps'; Whereas Diwali is a festival of lights, during which celebrants light small oil lamps, place them around the home, and pray for health, knowledge, and peace; Whereas celebrants of Diwali believe that the rows of lamps symbolize the light within the individual that rids the soul of the darkness of ignorance; Whereas Diwali, falling on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar, is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and the beginning of the new year for many Hindus; Whereas for Hindus, Diwali is a celebration of the victory of good over evil; Whereas for Sikhs, Diwali is feted as the day that the sixth founding Sikh Guru, or revered teacher, Guru Hargobind ji, was released from captivity from the ruling Mughal Emperor; and Whereas for Jains, Diwali marks the anniversary of the attainment of moksha or liberation by Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankaras, who were the great teachers of Jain dharma, at the end of his life in 527 B.C.: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--(1) during this time of celebration, in order to demonstrate support for Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world, recognizes Diwali as an important festival;(2) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of the festival of Diwali;(3) recognizes and appreciates the religious diversity in both India and the United States and throughout the world;(4) acknowledges and supports the new relationship of collaboration and dialogue in international efforts between the United States and India; and(5) in observance of and out of respect for the start of Diwali, the festival of lights, acknowledges the onset of Diwali and expresses its deepest respect to Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world on this significant occasion.

Moreover I, as Secretary-General, All-India Jain Minority Forum, New Delhi, India, would like to point out that historically the Jain religious tradition has alone the claim to have started this festival of lights, although others have adopted in the course of time. The story is as follows: "The oldest and clear mentions of Diwali are find in Jain books . As you know Buddha Purnima is the day of nirvana of Lord Buddha. Similarly in Jainism, Diwali is a major festival for the jains because it is the day of nirvana of Lord Mahavira. The term Diwali was first used by Jain Acharya Jinasena who wrote in his Harivamsha Purana in 778 AD The exact date is clearly specified in the Jain tradition. It is mentioned in Harivamsa Purana written by Acharyasri Jina Sena in the year 783 AD. This deals primarily with the life and story of the jewel of Harivamsa 22nd Tirthankar Arishta Nemi, cousin of Sri Krishna. In the last chapter (66th sarga), the author shares this vital information about the origin of Deepavali. Bhagawan Mahaveer reached Pawapuri and settled in manohar udyan in the outskirts of this town (sloka 66: 15). When the fourth division of the time (dushama sushama) cycle was left with 3 years and eight and half months, He attained Parinirvan (Moksha, the eternal state of the soul state, from which it never returns back to mundaneness any time) (sloka 66: 16-17). The four-fold order of clestial beings then cremated His mortal body following the established procedure. ) (sloka 66: 18). Pawanagari went glowing with the lamps lit by all celestial beings assembled there) (sloka 66: 19). King Srenik and other kings along with people assembled there also celebrated the occasion ) (sloka 66: 20). From then on, every year people started celebrating this occasion with deepamala or rows of lamps. Thus born the festival of Deepavali ) (sloka 66: 21).Lord Mahavira attained nirvana on this day at Pavapuri on on Chaturdashi of Kartika Krishna.The Kalpasura of Bhadrabahu give the reason for lighting of lamps. The kings who were present during the nirvana of Lord Mahavira said "since the light of knowledge is gone, we will make light of ordinary matter." Diwali is not mentioned in either the Ramayana of Valmiki or Tulsidas. I am sure The Washington Post will publish this correction and clarification in the best journalistic tradition of fair reporting.

-Bal Patil Secretary-General, All India Jain Minority Forum, New Delhi,Ex-Member, Media Expert Committee, Govt. of India,Ex- Member, Maharashtra State Minority Commission, Govt.of Maharashtra, Mumbai.Ex-President, National Society for Prevention of Heart Disease & Rehabilitation, Patil Estate, 278, Tardeo Road, Mumbai-400007,Tel:,  98692 55533,Email: balpatil@globaljains.com

FESTIVALS

DIWALI CELEBRATED IN UNITED STATES
This year the Diwali festivities reached White House and the US Congress recognised the importance of a immigrant Indian Community. Some 150 eminent Indian American community leaders from all over the US attended the White House celebrations on November 7 in the "Indian Treaty Room" - where once treaties with the American Indians (Red Indians) were stored - for the fifth year in a row. Although, President Bush himself was not there, but US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson,  and the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, did attend the programme. The White House celebrations came days after the US House of Representatives approved a resolution recognising the significance of Diwali by an overwhelming 358-0 vote on October 29, with 204 Democrats and 154 Republicans supporting it. South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, who sponsored the resolution, said it not only marks "the international, religious and historical importance of the festival of Diwali", but also "recognises the importance of Indian Americans - a strong and vibrant immigrant community." Representative John Tanner of Tennessee said, "By celebrating Diwali, we also are celebrating this diversity, a shared value that has brought the United States and India closer together throughout the years."

THANKS GIVING DAY SHOULD BE OBSERVED WITH COMPASSION PRAVIN SHAH E-MAIL: EDUCATION@JAINA.ORG - Almost every culture in the world has held celebrations of thanks for a plentiful harvest. The American Thanksgiving holiday began as a feast of thanksgiving in the early days of the American colonies almost four hundred years ago. In 1941 Congress ruled that the 4th Thursday in November would be a Federal holiday proclaimed by the President each year.

All give thanks together for the good things that they have. In this spirit of sharing, civic groups and charitable organizations offer a traditional meal to those in need, particularly the homeless. The foods eaten at the first thanksgiving meal; Turkey, corn (or maize), pumpkins and cranberry sauce have become traditional Thanksgiving meal. Millions of Turkey will be slaughtered in USA and other places on this day which is on Thursday, November 22,2007. We request the Jain community of USA and other places to celebrate such an important tradition with your family and friends in the following manner:

* Thanksgiving dinner - a home cooked Vegan meal (pure vegetarian meal without any animal products including milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, ghee, and ice cream) or Äyambil
* Recite the following prayer before your Thanksgiving meal
* Do Pratikraman in the evening
* Serve vegetarian meal to homeless and needy

Thanksgiving Prayer - Today we give thanks for this vegetarian meal and the people who have labored to harvest and prepare this meal for us. We give thanks to all other human beings who have contributed to our lives. We also ask for forgiveness from all living beings that we have harmed, intentionally and unintentionally.

We are grateful for our health and the opportunity to share this meal with others on this day. We aspire, with compassionate hearts, to use the energy that we gain from this meal and our friends to contribute to the peace and happiness of all living beings.

We pray that all the people everywhere in the world will avoid inflicting harm on animals and fellow human beings and practice nonviolence and compassion. We express our sorrow at the suffering of all the animals that have been killed to provide meals for the Thanksgiving celebration. May peace and compassion grow in ourselves and extend to all around us.

HISTORY

ABBAKKA: THE WARRIOR JAIN QUEEN OF INDIA
There were many women in history of ancient and medieval India who fought for freedom with their enemies on battlefield. Abbakka was bravest of them; most discussed in Europe at her time, yet less known to us. Abbakka defeated the mighty Portuguese army and navy again and again. The legacy of the 16th century queen Abbakka of Ullal will be revived. A 14th century Jain basadi in Ullal where she used to offer prayers is being rebuilt, a film on her is being planned, and a permanent memorial for her will soon be ready.

The film will be made by well-known film personality Jayamala. We understand that this project  is still in the research stage.  While historians might have brushed aside Abbakka’s first battle with the Portuguese in 1546 as a small incident where a feudal kingdom was fighting to save itself, this brave queen with her small band of loyal soldiers kept the Portuguese forces out of Ullal and the Dakshina Kannada region. If not the enemy forces would have established their presence here much before they conquered Goa. The previous government had cleared Rs. 68 lakhs for constructing a “Abbakka Bhavan” in Ullal which is going to be a permanent memorial for the queen.

Ullal town first organised the Rani Abbakka Utsav as a Nada Habba of Ullal in 1998. Rani Abbakka fought the Portuguese forces in 1546, destroyed a flotilla of their ships, and drove them away with a handful of her sailors who were a mix of communities, including Muslims, fishermen, Billavas, and Kshatriyas. Courtesy: Mr. Mahavir S. Chavan.

JAIN DIKSHA NEWS

Acharya Shri Pushpdant Sagar Ji Maharaj

JAIN DIKSHA CEREMONY
Jain muni diksha ceremony will be held at Guwahati on the 29th November,2007, where diksharthi Shri Mahavir Prasad Kashliwal will be accepting diksha in the holy presence of 108 Acharya shri Pushpdant Sagar ji maharaj. Shri mahavir Prasad is the son of Shri Bimal kumar ji Pataudi and Smt. Nirmala devi Pataudi. The celebrations are being organised by Param Poojya Acharya Shri Pushpdant Sagar ji Varshayog samiti (Shri Digambar Jain Samaj), Aath gaon, Guwahati (Assam).

GOLDEN JUBILEE OF DIKSHA MAHOTSAVA
The golden jubilee of diksha mahotsava of Aryikaratna 105 Shri Suparshwamati mata ji was celebrated at Jaipur on the 18th to 21st October, 2007 with great jubilation and reverence by thousands of devotees, coming from all over the country. Religious programmes were conducted all through the three days period to celebrate the occasion.

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