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Ahimsa Times - February 2005 Issue

Vol. No. 56

February, 2005

"A LOT OF PEOPLE APPROACH RISK AS IF IT'S THE ENEMY WHEN ITS REALLY FORTUNE'S ACCOMPLICE"

SAINTS

YOGINDRA SAGARJI MAHARAJ PAYS A VISIT TO PRAGATI ASHRAM, UDAIPUR
Pujya Acharya Yogindra Sagar Ji Maharaj spent two days, January 29 and 30, 2005, at Pragati Ashram, the home of a project on women empowerment located in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The project was launched in 2001 to address the needs of three different groups of women: widows, abandoned women, and young women in need of support for pursuing post-secondary education and training. The objective was to provide opportunities to women in the identified groups to acquire basic and post-secondary education and develop employment related skills, so that they could obtain gainful employment or self-employment and pursue other career goals. It was expected that when women in these groups had access to opportunities for training, skills development and education they would be able to realize their full potential, lead a life of dignity and self-worth and participate as equal partners in the development of the society.

The principal partners in the project are M.R. Minda Trust Udaipur India, the Hindu Society of Ottawa Carleton (HSOC) Ottawa and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The project also received support from other donors, the society at large, and the families of the beneficiaries. The partnership project has completed its targeted duration of three years, but will continue to be operated by the M.R. Minda Trust. The Trust has constructed a complex of buildings named “Pragati Ashram”. The complex provides fully furnished accommodation for 60 to 70 beneficiaries with facilities for meals, exercises and meetings and class rooms. A bus is also provided

for transportation to various education and training facilities. In addition, special programs, such as Yoga, outdoor and indoor games, periodic personality development and self-awareness workshops, and computer training are offered. Lodging, boarding, transportation and special programs are greatly subsidized and are, in fact, free for widows and those in need. Pragati Ashram is open to all women irrespective of caste or creed. At the same time it adheres to its motto of providing a clean, disciplined, moral, and progressive life style.

On the morning of 29 January Acharya Shri addressed a gathering of Pragati Ashram residents and guests. The meeting was also attended by Shri Gulabchand Kataria, home minister of the state of Rajasthan. Acharya Shri commended the Pragati Ashram project for its unique and laudable objective, and its enlightened management. Shri Kataria echoed Acharya Shri's comments. For additional information please contact Mr. Mahavir Minda, Managing Trustee, M. R. Minda Chartable Trust, Bara Bazar, Udaipur, Rajasthan, E-Mail: mrminda@sancharnet.in [Courtesy: Mr. Jag Mohan Humar]

ACHARYA SHRI VIJAY NITYANAND JI DECLARED AS PATTADHAR OF VIJAY VALLABH SECT
Acharya Shri Vijay Nityanand Ji maharaj belonging to Vijay Vallabh sect of Murti-Pujak sangh was declared as the 'Pattadhar' of their sect at a national convention held at Vijay Vallabh Smarak, New Delhi. Representatives of several Murti-pujak institutions, such as Atma-vallabh Jain Maha sangh, Shri Atmanand Jain Mahasabha, Shri Atmanand Jain mahasabha-Northern India, Central India, southern India and eastern India had joined in the celebrations. They presented shawls to the Acharya on behalf of their respective groups and pledged to work devotedly under his guidance.

ACHARYA DR. SHIV MUNI APPEALS FOR HELP TO TSUNAMI VICTIMS
Kharar: A fervent appeal was made by the chief of Sthanakwasi Shwetambar Jain sect Acharya Samrat Dr Shiv Muni Ji Maharaj to the masses to donate generously and wholeheartedly for the rehabilitation of the victims of Tsunami. The appeal evoked massive response as thousands of rupees were collected within minutes. Making this appeal while presiding over the birth anniversary celebrations of Lord Parsavnath in Kharar, Dr Shiv Muni said besides claiming the lives of thousands of people, the tragedy had left thousands missing and lakhs without their homes. Kharar S.S. Jain Sabha president Rakesh Kumar Jain collected the donations for sending them to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. Quoting Lord Mahavira, who had preached that all human beings are one and only that person is great who wholeheartedly helps a needy person, irrespective of caste, creed or colour, the Jain sect chief appealed the public to come forward and do their bit to help the cause and become great. During his recent visits to Chandigarh, Panchkula and Parwanoo also, Dr Shiv Muni had motivated the people to donate generously for the victims of the Tsunami tragedy.

A DALIT BECOMES A JAIN MONK
In a society, where upper castes treat dalits with disdain and untouchability remains a stigma irrespective of what the Indian Constitution outlines, the induction of a dalit youth in Jain religion comes as a welcome change. In a historic event, a 22-year-old youth belonging to Meghwal community was anointed as a Jain monk at Ahore town in Jalore district on Monday. Hailing from Mandwaria village, Sirohi district, Chandaram Meghwal alias Sandeep got a new identity as Anant Punya Maharaj at a diksha ceremony attended by a large number of people from Shwetambar Jain community and Sandeep's relatives from Sirohi. Sandeep who went to Mumbai in search of a job a few years ago was so impressed by Jain saint Suryodaya Maharaj that he expressed his desire to dedicate his life to the religion. He traveled with him to various holy places and attended religious sermons with deep devotion and sincerity to the surprise of the saint. On expressing his desire to join the religion, he was sent to Ahmedabad to study the Jain ideology for almost four years.

He was given a warm send-off from his village two days ago and reportedly there was a mad rush among the villagers to touch his feet to show their reverence. His monk-hood moved about 1,500 people in the village to go vegetarian and give up drinking. He would be known with his new name Anant Punya, said Mahaveer Jain, a businessman from Bangalore, who was currently in Ahore to attend the diksha ceremony. His 26-year-old sister also took diksha along with Sandeep, A commerce student at the MES college in Bangalore, she gave up her studies to pursue the same path.

BAL DIKSHA OR CHILD WELFARE: A SERIOUS ISSUE
A news item, named "SEND THIS GIRL BACK" appeared in Mid-day, English newspaper in Mumbai, (reported by Manoj Nair, E-Mail : manoj@mid-day.com) on 22nd January, 2005 at page 5, as given below:

Priyal, a nine year old girl, was ordained a nun in a "bal diksha" ceremony held on March , 2004, at malad. Ravindra parekh, a lawyer from her community, filed a petition in the family court "asked for her custody under the Gaurdians" Wards act. Parekh, who is not related to Priyal, argued he was entitled to ask for the child's quardship because her parents had treated her cruelly by ordaining her. But before parekh intervened, a child rights organization, Bal prafulta "Child Welfare Committee ( CWC), a statutory state body that investigates violation of children's rights, had filed a complaint with police. Meanwhile, the trustees of the jain temple have petitioned the high court questioning the authority of the CWC in interfering with what they think is "religious" matter.

Two psychiatrists from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences who examined Priyal said the girl appeared "lost "was unsure what diksha meant or the implications it had". They said while girl appeared healthy, she performed ritualsrecited shlokas, understanding little of what either meant. They said that after turning 18, the girl could decide if she wanted to be a nun. Priyas parents, santosh kumarseems bagricha, work as cooks in a town in Madhya Pradesh. The psychiatrists said the mother was happy her daughter had become a nun, but father cried while speaking to them.

The lawyer representing Chandravadan Jeevanlal Kothari Sangh, the Jain temple trust where Priyal took her vows, declined to comment on the psychiatrists findings, saying the matter was sub-judice. But Parekh, the lawyer who wants to adopt Priyal said, "the issue here is not of Bal- Diksha but that of child's welfare". Had something like this been in any other minority community, would the authorities have dared to challenge the religious matter? No doubt, many of us feel that a person should take diksha only after turning 18, but this was not the way to interfere in our religious matters.

TEMPLES

DATTATREYA'S STATUE WILL NOT BE REMOVED, DECIDES GUJARAT HIGH COURT - PETITION OF JAIN COMMUNITY TURNED DOWN IN GIRNAR CASE - It is reported that Gujarat High Court has turned down for the time-being, the request made in the petition of Jain community for the removal of statue of Guru Dattatreya at the fifth peak of Girnar hills. Jain community, not only in the whole country but also overseas had been very much perturbed over the unauthorised occupation at the fifth peak, installation of Dattatreya's foot prints there and troubling the pilgrims, visiting the place for worship of Bhagwan Neminath's foot-prints (Charan-paduka). Many representations had been sent to Central and state authorities from time to time in this connection but all the efforts have gone in vain. The Court has also not accepted the request for ordering the stoppage of any construction work at the said place.

As reported in the press and also in Ahimsa Times in its January issue, Gujarat High Court, in an interim order, had earlier ordered for the removal of Dattatrey's statue and stopping the construction work there. The court has however, now constituted a committee, consisting of a representative of the Gujarat Government, District Collector and Director of Archeology department to collect and study all concerned documents and submit its report on the entire issue within a period of six months. The Court has also ordered the State authorities to arrange for necessary security and protection measures to the pilgrims going to the fifth peak for worship and darshan of Bhagwan Neminath's temple. The decision of the High Court has, therefore, come as a severe blow to the Jain community.

AN UNIQUE REPLICA OF SAMAVSARAN TAKES SHAPE NEAR UDAIPUR
According to the Jain scriptures the site of congregation where the Tirthankars give their sermon is called Samavasaran. Following 12 years of rigorous asceticism when Lord Mahavir attained omniscience he preached his first sermon in a Samavsaran. Built by the Devatas, Lord Mahavir's Samvasaran was neither in a temple nor in a community hall, but outdoors in the most beautiful natural surroundings. An enchanting description of the Samavsaran can be found in Tilloypanati, a 2000-year old scripture authored by Jain Acharya Yati Rishabh.

M.R. Minda Charitable Trust of Udaipur, Rajasthan is constructing a faithful reproduction of Lord Mahavir's Samavsaran as described by Yati Rishabh. The replica is being shaped out of a gentle hill located on the banks of Lake Goverdhanvilas near the Udaipur Ahmedabad National Highway No. 8, five kilometres from the city of Udaipur. The hill covers an area of about 10,000 square feet. The Samavsaran is laid out in the form of 4 concentric circular terraces, the outermost of which has a diameter of 300 ft. The terraces are subdivided into eight different lands. Four archways (Toran Dwar) located in the four directions provide entrance to the Samavsaran. They have been built from rose coloured Karoli sand stone. Immediately inside the archways and on the first terrace are four white marble towers (Man Sthambh). Also on this terrace is the land of temples (Chaitya Prasad Bhoomi), on which are located four small temples. In addition there are small-scale mansions of Devatas, theatre halls, stepped wells, and 24 live trees representing the Kevalgyan trees of the 24 tirthankars.

The land of temples is followed by the land of streams (Khatika Bhoomi). Flowing streams and fountains are being constructed on this land. Inside the Khatika Bhoomi is the land of vines (Lata Bhoomi), where vines and flowers of different kinds are being planted. On the next terrace is located the land of gardens (Upvan Bhoomi). This land is filled with a variety of live trees: Ashok in the east, Saptparni in the south, Champa in the west, and mango in the north. Inside the Upvan Bhoomi is the land of banners (Dhvaj Bhoomi), where flags of different kinds will fly. The next terrace has the sixth land called the Kalpvriksha Bhoomi, where different trees, such as Parijat, representing the Kalp Vriksha will be planted. Inside the sixth land is the seventh, representing the visitors gallery (Darshak Deergha) from where the audience could have a glimpse of Lord Mahavir and listen to his sermon. From here also they could also witness the beauty of the entire Samavsaran. On the highest terrace is located the eighth land (Ashtam Bhoomi), which is divided by radial lines into twelve sections, which in the Samavsaran were reserved for the seating of gods and goddesses (Devas and Devis), male and female followers (Shravak and Shravika), male and female ascetics (Muni, Aryika), and animals of all kinds. Samavsaran, as its name implies, was a place where all living beings, irrespective of their status, could gather to listen to the sermon of the Tirthankar. At the centre of the Samavsaran are located three raised circular pedestals, one inside the other. These are being built in white marble. On the walls of these pedestals are being engraved scenes from the life of Lord Mahavir. Right in the centre of Samavsaran and on the highest pedestal will be an Ashok tree. Located around this will be four statues of Lord Mahavir in the lotus posture. The outdoor replica of the Samavsaran is the first of its kind. It promises to become an inspiring place of natural beauty that is open to the public. For information please contact: Mr. Mahavir Minda, Managing Trustee, M.R. Minda Charitable Trust. E-Mail: mrminda@sancharnet.in [Courtesy: Mr. Jagmohan Humar].

ANAND JI KALYAN JI PEDHI CHALLENGES JHARKHAND HIGH COURT DECISION ON SAMMET SHIKHAR JI IN THE SUPREME COURT
In a petition filed in the Supreme Court on the 3rd January, 2005, Anand Ji kalyan Ji Pedhi is reported to have urged the Supreme Court to cancel the decision taken earlier by the Jharkhand High Court at Ranchi in connection with Sammet Shikhar Ji case. Justice Arjit Pasayat and Justice H.S. Kapadia have accepted the petition and issued a show-cause notice to the Jharkhand Government in this matter. The case is being represented by advocates, S.Shri Phali S. Nariman, Siddharth Shankar Ray, U.N. Bachhawat, Arun Jetley and Gopal Subramaniam.

MAHAKUMBABHISHEGAM OF PONDY JAIN TEMPLE
Pondicherry, Feb 13: A large number of devotees from different parts of Pondicherry and also a few other states today offered worship on the occasion of the consecration of the Sri Sankeswar Paraswanath Jain temple here today.The temple has been constructed by Sri Paraswanath Swetamber Moorthi Poojac Jain Trust at a cost of Rs 1 crore. Acharyas Srimad Vijay Sushil Sureswarji Maharajs from Rajasthan blessed the consecration. Aerial spraying of flowers from a mini aircraft was the highlight of the celebration.Education Minister K Lakshminaraynan, legislators R Siva and A M Krishnamoorthy were among those who offered prayers to the presiding deity of the shrine.

ORISSA C.M. ASSURES VACATION OF ILLEGAL OCCUPATION AT KHANDGIRI HILLS
Shri Navin Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa declared before a delegation of Jain community led by Shri Shanti Kumar Jain that all the illegal occupation at the Khandgiri hills will be removed at the earliest and the place will be developed as a national heritage. The delegation representing a small Jain community of Bhubaneshwar had met the Chief Minister to present him a cheque for Rs. 61,000 for the help of tsunami victims.

AWARDS

PADAM SHREE AWARDED TO DR. V. S. MEHTA, NEUROSURGEON FROM ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES
It is most heartening to note that Dr. V. S. Mehta, the head of Department of Neurology from India's premier medical institution, All India Institute of Medical Sciences has been awarded this year with Padam Shree title by the President of India on Republic Day, the 26th January, 2005 for his unique contribution to the cause of humanity, devotion to duty and self-less service to the nation.

DR. RAVI R. KASLIWAL HONOURED WITH DR. B. C. ROY NATIONAL AWARD
Dr. Ravi R. Kasliwal, eminent Heart Specialist, Director Non-Invasive Cardiology Department of Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre Ltd., New Delhi has been honoured by Dr. B. C. Roy National Award for his exemplary services in the field of his profession.

PRESIDENT'S GOLD MEDAL AWARDED TO MR. S. K. JAIN, IPS
Mr. S. K. Jain, an IPS officer from Rajasthan Cadre has been nominated for President's Gold Medal Award by the Government of India. Mr. S. K. Jain is presently holding the position of Inspector General of Police (Special Protection Group) and is in charge of Prime Minister's security.

SHRI DEEP CHAND GARDI HONOURED WITH GUJARAT-GARIMA AWARD
Internationally-known and an eminent social worker, Shri Deep Chand Gardi from Gujarat was honoured with 'Gujarat-Garima award' (Pride of Gujarat) at an impressive ceremony at Gandhi Nagar by the Vice-President, Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat on the 12th January, 2005. The ceremony was attended by the Governor of Gujarat, Shri Naval Kishore Sharma, Shri Narendra Modi, Shri L.K. Advani and other dignitaries. The Governor in his speech said that Shri Gardi has dedicated his entire life to humanitarian services and Gujarat feels honoured by giving this award to him. The entire state can derive inspiration from a person like him. The Chief Minister lauded his contribution for the prosperity of the state. Shri Deep Chand Gardi in his address said that he was greatly moved by the the honour bestowed on him from the people of Gujarat and he would continue to offer his services to the society.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala with
the winners of the ninth Mahaveer
awards for excellence in human
endeavor in Chennai.

HONOUR FOR EXCELLENCE IN HUMAN ENDEAVOUR
South India was indebted to the ideas of Jain preachers on ahimsa and right living and their influence could be found in the South Indian literature, art and architecture, philosophical thought and practices, Tamilnadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala has said.

Speaking at the ninth Mahaveer awards day, organised by Bhagwan Mahaveer Foundation (BMF) here, yesterday, he said, 'Lord Mahaveer is Jina, the conqueror. Not that his conquests meant kingdoms but that He conquered obstacles for the realisation of the self.'

The Mahaveer awards for excellence in Human Endeavour were presented to Siddharaj Dhadda of Rajasthan for non-violence and vegetarianism, Uttarakhand Seva Nidhi Paryavaran Shiksha Sansthan of Uttaranchal for education and medicine, and Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement of Karnataka for community and social service. Praising Jains for their contributions to the fields of education, medicine, trade and industry, the Governor said Jains were philanthropic in nature and very conscious and sensitive to the needs of others. Ram Nivas Mirdha, former Union Minister, said many awards were now surrounded by controversies, but here awardees were selected systematically by a jury consisting of prominent personalities in their respective field.

N. Sugalchand Jain, Managing Trustee, BMF, said these awards had brought into the limelight institutions and individuals that had been bringing about a silent revolution without fanfare and media attention. About a special award instituted by the foundation for an outstanding book that perpetuates the philosophy and principles of Jainism and Bhagwan Mahaveer, he said nominations had been called for in both Hindi and English. Though initially a prize money of Rs one Lakh had been announced, the jury decided on Rs 51,000 as the materials received fell short of the standards set by the foundation. Dr Premsuman Jain was chosen for the award for his Hindi book, Jain Dharam ki Sanskritik Veerasat. A brochure about the ninth Mahaveer Awards Day was released by Dr L M Singhvi, a jury member. The Mahaveer awards carry a cash component of Rs five lakh each, a commendatory scroll and a statuette.

To honour the achievements of above awardees a felicitation programme is organised by Jain Mahasabha, Delhi (Prof. Ratan Jain) on 27th February, 2005, 5.45 p.m. at Lecture Hall, India International Centre Annexe, Lodhi Road, Lodhi Garden, New Delhi.

Ahimsa Foundation offers its hearty congratulations to all the awardees and wishes them long and cherished career in the service of the country.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

L.- R.: Hon. Sadhviji, Mr. Chakresh Jain
(standing), Dr. Atul Shah, Dr. Sulekh Jain
Mr. Pradeep Jain (Patna)
Mr. Anil Jain & Mr. R. P. Jain
Venue: Digamber Jain Bara Mandir, Kucha Seth,
Dariba, Kalan, Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

DIGAMBAR JAIN ORGANISATION IN DELHI BECOMES A PIONEER PATH BREAKER FOR UNITY IN JAIN SOCIETY - The dynamic and dedicated personality of Jain Samaj, New Delhi, Mr. Chakresh Jain ( immediate past president of nearly three centuries old organisaiton "Pracheen Shree Agrawal Digamber Jain Panchayat) Delhi took the initiative of fostering the spirit of Jain unity amongst the different sects of Jains, viz. Digambaras and Shwetambers. It was his foresight and bold approach to honour in the Digamber Jain Bara Mandir, Kucha Seth, Dariba Kalan, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, the three outstanding Shwetamber Jains viz.
1. Dr. Atul K. Shah, Founder Editor - "Jain Spirit" magazine published from England (A Shwetamber Mandir Margi Jain)
2. Dr. Sulekh C. Jain, Past President of "Federation of Jain Associations in North America" (A Shwetamber Sthankwasi Jain)
3. Mr. Anil K. Jain, Founder Trustee - "Ahimsa Foundation" ( website / portal www.jainsamaj.org ), India (A Shwetamber Sthankwasi Jain) for their outstanding contribution in the field of promoting unity amongst all sects of Jains through their pioneering efforts in their respected fields.

Mr. R. P. Jain while introducing the subject of the day "Jain Religion in Foreign Countries" mentioned about the work of German scholars and indologists in last two - three centuries besides Western academicians interest in Jain studies presently. He also traced the first lecture on Jainism in North America by Virchand Raghavji Gandhi, who at the young age of 26 years only was the official representative of Jain religion at "Parliament of World Religions" at Chicago in 1893 i.e. over 111 years ago. He also mentioned about Mr. Gandhi's first disciple Mr. Herbert Warren, who wrote a short book titled Jainism, which was first published from Britain.

Dr. Atul K. Shah spoke about his background of being a Jain, born and brought up in Kenya, Africa and changing his full time profession to become the Founder Editor of "Jain Spirit" a multi colour, fully illustrated, quarterly international Jain magazine published from Britain.

Mr. Anil Jain addressing the gathering

Dr. Sulekh C. Jain gave a bird's eye view of the Jain community in USA and Canada and their religious activities. He also mentioned about JAINA, Young Jains of America and landmark event of US Congress starting with Jain prayer in May 2001 in celebration of birth centenary of Bhagwan Mahaveer.

Mr. A. K. Jain, founder trustee of Ahimsa Foundation, the editor of Ahimsa Times, emphasised the requirement of understanding amongst all sects and groups Jain society. He also informed about the special edition of Ahimsa Times on the subject of Jain unity in the month of January, 2005 and the reactions from different sectors.

Mr. Chakresh Jain, appreciating the work of the speakers highlighted the need of Jain unity. He said that unless the Jain community come out of shells, there could be no substantial progress in keeping up with the times and Jains image at a global level will be lacking. He also said that there is need to preserve the old Jain temples rather than being in rat race to create new one at place near where there already exists Jain temple. Shri Vijayendra Jain, General Secretary of the Panchayat thanked the speakers and audience.

JAIN CULTURE DEPICTED THROUGH TABLOID BY KARNATAKA GOVT. AT REPUBLIC DAY PARADE AT RAJPATH, NEW DELHI
This year for the first time, a scene from Jain epics, depicting Bhagwan Bahubali performing 'Abhishek' and recitation of verses from 'Mahamastikabhishekh' was shown on a tabloid presented by the Government of Karnataka on the Republic Day, the 26th January, 2005. The parade is attended by thousands of people at the Delhi Red Fort and is watched by millions of people in the country and abroad on the Television. The President, Prime Minister, Vice-President, Ministers, Members of Parliament and top leaders attend this parade. Tableau representing the culture of different states are shown in the parade. Thousands of people watching the show gave a warm ovation when the tabloid belonging to Karnataka Government passed by. It is further reported that this tabloid won the first prize from amongst all the tableau from different states.

JAIN CENTRE CALIFORNIA TO ORGANISE FUND RAISING CAMPAIGN FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS
In the wake of the devastating tsunamis that hit South Asia, India and Eastern Africa, The Jain Center of Northern California sponsored a musical concert at the Jain Bhawan, 722 S. Main St., on Saturday, Feb. 19. It was preceded by a prayer ceremony and dinner at 4:45 p.m. The concert program consisted of performances by Bay Area Indian musical artists Asim and Madhvi Mehta, Harjeet Singh Mehndi, Darshana Bhuta and Piyush Nagar, and ran until 10:30 p.m. The money raised through sale of tickets will be used for rehabilitation and reconstruction with 100 percent of the money used for victims of the disaster. The Jain Center already has a newly formed special committee raising funds for the tsunami victims, and has received more than $65,000 in pledges. The Jain Center's efforts in the past include raising $250,000 for the victims of the massive earthquake in Gujarat, India in January 2001. The Jains rebuilt homes in two villages in Gujarat; educated children at Veerayatan and Morbi; built and supplied to hospitals; and provided for long-term livelihood support. The Kunaria project, at its completion, was declared an exemplary model by the governor of Gujarat for its speedy execution and cooperation between the government entities and the aid recipients.

On Feb. 20, a group of various sponsors including City of Milpitas and the Milpitas-based India Community Center put together a three-hour presentation featuring an interfaith service led by Dr. Deepak Chopra. Music and entertainment was provided by musician Lisa Loeb, and pledge calls were led by Vijay Amritaj and Malini Alles.

STONE-LAYING CEREMONY OF RAVINDRA JAIN ACADEMY OF MUSIC BHOPAL
The dispute over the land having being settled, the stone-laying ceremony of the Ravindra Jain Music Academy, was performed on February 8th at Nehru Nagar, Bhopal. Chief Minister Babulal Gaur was the chief guest and Agriculture Minister Gopal Bhargava presided over the function. Apart from noted Musician Ravindra Jain, Tourism Minister Jayant Malaiya, PWD Minister Kailash Vijaywargia, Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Omprakash Dhurve, Cultural Minister Laxmikant Sharma, Transport Minister Umashankar Gupta, Mayor Sunil Sood, BDA chairman Dhruvnarayan Singh, Bhopal Municipal Corporation Council chairman Ramdayal Prajapati were also present as special guests of the function. The Academy will comprise a library, theatre and a recording studio. It will impart training about folk art and various aspects of music therapy.

PETA TO PROTEST AGAINST BENETTON, FOR USING AUSTRALIAN WOOL
PETA urges Benetton, a Delhi based garment store to stop using Australian wool until lamb mutilation and live export of sheep ends. Wearing blindfolds and carrying signs reading "Benetton: Blind to Animal Suffering", members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India will gather outside Benetton's South Extension store in Delhi with a giant sheep. The demonstrators will distribute leaflets informing customers that Benetton has refused to ban garments made with Australian wool until a gruesome procedure called "mulesing" (live flaying) and cruelty during live sheep exports from Australia are banned in that country. The action is part of an intense international campaign to encourage consumers to boycott Benetton until the retail chain takes appropriate action to stop the sheep's suffering: Date: 22 February 2005, Time: 2 pm sharp, Place: Outside Benetton, G/6, South Extension Market Part-I.

"Mulesing" is a crude mutilation in which Australian farmers use gardening shears to carve flesh from lambs' backsides without painkillers as a cheap way to try to reduce maggot infestation, even though more sophisticated, humane control methods exist. When their wool is no longer needed, millions of sheep are shipped to the Middle East through all weather extremes aboard open-deck, multi-tiered ships. Many sick and injured sheep, treated as mere cargo, are thrown overboard or ground up alive in mincing machines. Those who survive the grueling voyage have their throats slit while they are still fully conscious.

After years of asking the Australian government to end these atrocities, PETA US announced an international boycott of Australian wool in October 2004 and has already won the support of prestigious retailers Abercrombie & Fitch and J. Crew in the US and George and New Look in the UK. India is the third-largest importer of wool from Australia, accounting for close to $150 million. Recently, MP Maneka Gandhi sent a letter to 250 Indian retailers urging them to stop using Australian wool. "The 'united colours' of Benetton are turning blood red", says PETA India Campaign Coordinator Mitali Parekh. "If Benetton wants to wipe the blood of millions of sheep off its hands, it must refuse to sell clothes made from Australian wool."

PETA is urging consumers to boycott Benetton until it pledges to stop using Australian wool and is bombarding Benetton with ads and protests around the world to alert the public to the company's support of cruelty. For more information, please visit www.UnitedCrueltyOfBenetton.com or call Poorva Joshipura (0) 98201 22602.

INTERNATIONAL JAIN CONFERENCE AT NAIROBI
An international Jain conference is being organised by Veerayatan International and the Jains of Nairobi from April 29 to May 2, 2005. Invitations for participations have been sent to the Jains around the globe. Interested members may contact Mr. Kapil Jain, E-Mail: kapilhjain@yahoo.com

KHARAVELA FESTIVAL: SHOWCASE OF ORISSA'S JAIN HERITAGE
The festival has been named after Kharavela, the mighty emperor of Kalinga, whose glorious activities and achievements have been inscribed in the Hati-gumpha (elephant-cave) dated 1st century B.C. in Udayagiri hills (Kumari-parvat). Kharavela's greatness in history rests not merely on conquests; rather he is remembered as a protagonist and patron of Jainism. The architectural and sculptural grandeur of the rock-cut caves hewed by Kharavela in Khandagiri and Udayagiri are indicative not only of his religious fervor but were regarded as the precursor of the temple architecture that followed during his reign. Khandagiri has 15 caves and the cave numbers 7, 8 & 9 contain the images of Jain Tirthankars. Huge residential blocks carved out of the rocks for the Jain monks are also a big attraction. A temple was also constructed on the crest of Khandagiri for worshipping Jain shrine in early part of the 19th century. At present, there are five temples where images of Shri Adinath ji, Shri Shitalnath ji and Shri Parshvanath ji are being worshipped.

NEW BOOKS

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PRAKRIT AND JAINA RESEARCH BY DR. KAPOOR CHAND JAIN
A major portion of Jain literature / Canons was composed in Prakrit and the rest in Sanskrit, Apabhransha, Hindi and other regional languages of India. Although Jains constitute only a microscopic part of Indian society, they have contributed an enormous amount of quality literature. Scholars of recent times (19th and 20th Century) have poured over this vast body of knowledge and produced new studies and books. This book, which is the third revised edition, introduces bibliographical details of about 1100 theses from Indian universities and 131 from abroad. A special section also contains a list of potential topics for future research. Since the book is bilingual, it will be useful for work both Indian and foreign scholars. It is immensely useful work which is a must for the libraries, researchers and collections in the temples. The book can be availed from Dr. Kapoor Chand Jain, Secretary Shri K. C. Jain Memorial Trust, Shri Kund Kund Jain College, Khatauli - 251201, Uttar Pradesh, India. Ph. 01396-273339 or M/s Motilal Banarasidass, 41 U.A., Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi - 110007, India. Price: Rs. 200.00 Pages 234.

RELIGIOUS ETHICS: A SOURCEBOOK - Ed. and Intro. by Professor Arthur Dobrin, Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2004 220 x 145 mm 400 pp 81-88769-01-0 Hardback, Web: www.hindibooks.8m.com. A Sourcebook, collected and edited by Dr. Arthur Dobrin, presents the responses from 34 religions and religious denominations on some of today's key moral issues. From Baha'i to Jainism to Zoroastrianism, religious leaders and thinkers representing his or her own religion answer 55 questions about the nature of being ethical to matters of the use of force. There are explanations about the morality of sex and other issues of personal behavior. This book, the first of its kind, gives the reader a handy cross -reference to compare the ethical and moral positions of various religions.

SAMAGRA JAIN CATURMASA SUCI - (Hindi), Paperback Rs. 100, This is the only list of its kind in the Jain community! All of the Jain community's 225 Acharyas, 2937 monks and 10376 nuns have been covered. Their sect, sub-sect, etc. have been described along with the place of their four month-long monsoon stay.

Jain monks and nuns, except for the monsoon season, move about from place to place, not staying in one place for more than four days. Only in the rainy season, Jain monks stay in one place for 4 to 5 months. These months are known as the Chaturmasa. This is a period of increased religious activity in the Jain community as the laypersons, taking a cue from the monks and nuns, participate in group study, communal fasting, religious rituals, etc. The Chaturmasa is also a time of great religious fervor and increased literary output, as the monks and nuns are all staying in one place for a stretch of 4 months and hence many new Jain publications are released at this time. The Jains are divided into 2 sects : The Digambaras and the Shvetambaras. The Shvetambaras are further divided into the Murtipujakas, the Sthanakavasis and the Terapanthis.Hence, monks and nuns are classified in the 4 categories of Digambara, Shvetambara Murtipujaka, Shvetambara Sthanakavasi and Shvetambara Terapanthi. Since Jain monks travel extensively and spend the four months of the rainy season in various parts of India, it is a Herculean task to get all their names, where they are staying, their contact information, etc. and bring together this information in one book. The editor is to be credited for doing such a huge combinatory work.

Some interesting data: The largest no. of monks and nuns are in the Shvetambara Murtipujaka tradition. Digambara Acarya Vidyasagara's is the only Jain Sangh where all the monks and nuns are bal-Brahmacharis. No other Jain Sangh has 100% monks and nuns who are all bal-Brahmacharis. This book is a very interesting and very useful collection, extremely low priced and a great asset to any student of Jainism. To order books please E-Mail : manish.modi@mtnl.net.in, HINDI GRANTH KARYALAY, Booksellers and Publishers, 9, Hirabaug, C. P. Tank, Mumbai 400004 India.

ACHIEVEMENTS

MERCEDES-BENZ TO OFFER 'VEGETARIAN' OPTIONS FOR ALL FUTURE MODELS
PETA Ends Campaign Against Luxury Automaker for Agreeing to Offer Leather-Free Interior. Detroit -Vegetarian South Asians will be pleased to learn that top luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz informed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that all future Mercedes-Benz models will be available with a leather-free option either at the dealership or via special order in all markets. It takes four cows to make the leather interior for one Mercedes, and the company's announcement follows PETA's consumer-driven campaign to pressure Mercedes to offer alternatives to a leather interior.

PETA pointed out that leather is offensive to millions of people, including to the many Hindus and Jains who help make up America's wealthiest minority community. Campaign supporters included Jain leader HH Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji, Indian MP Maneka Gandhi, and actor James Cromwell, whose credits include The Sum of All Fears, The Green Mile, The General's Daughter, and Babe, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Cromwell had asked DaimlerChrysler representatives for a face-to-face meeting at its German headquarters, and Gandhi had threatened an India-wide Mercedes boycott.

Mercedes-Benz joins a growing list of car companies that are acknowledging today's socially conscious consumers who refuse to use leather. In December 2004, PETA thanked Saab for announcing that consumers can order any Saab model with a leather-free interior. And in recognition of its stand not to equip its hot-selling gasoline-electric hybrid Prius with a leather interior, automaker Toyota recently won PETA's Proggy "Breakthrough" Award. Proggy is short for progress.

American tanneries that serve the auto industry buy enough skin each year to upholster Manhattan two and a half times. Production-line speedups and inadequate stunning on North American and European kill floors mean that cows killed for their skins and flesh are often dismembered while still conscious. Leather tanneries also wreak havoc on the environment, and their pollution has been linked to cancer, respiratory infections, and other illnesses. "Car companies are learning that offering leather-free options is environmentally and ethically responsible," says PETA Europe campaigner Poorva Joshipura. "We are delighted that Mercedes-Benz will accommodate luxury car consumers who think cruelty is unimpressive." Other celebrities who ride without the hide include Alicia Silverstone, Kate Pierson of the B-52's, and Sir Paul McCartney. For more information, visit PETA.org or call Dr. Alka Chandna 757-622-7382 757-622-7382 .

MISCELLANEOUS

RELEASE OF NEW STAMP AND COVER ON JAINISM
A special cover and special cancellation related to JAINISM has been issued at Satna (M.P.) on 28th Jan. 2005. India Post organized Satna District level Philatelic Exhibition SATNAPEX-2005 at Satna (M.P.) on 28th & 29th Jan. 2005. Central India Philatelic Society was co-organizer on the exhibition. Each day a special cover and special cancellation was released. Special cover of 28th Jan. 2005 was commemorated to the 125th Anniversary of Satna city's oldest Digamber Jain Mandir which was established in the year 1880. Image of this Temple and chief idol of 1008 Shri Neminath Bhagwan are printed on the special cover. Special cancellation depicts 10th A.D. Ancient sculpture of Patiyandai Jain Temple of Satna District. This sculpture is having image of three Tirthankars and presently exhibited at Government Museum of Ramvan, District Satna. The special cover and cancellation were released by the Chief P.M.G.of Chhattisgarh Circle Col. Prathviraj Kumar. Mr. Sudhir Jain, Secretary, Central India Philatelic Society was the Special Guest and Jury member. Courtesy: Sudhir Jain, SATNA (M.P.) E-Mail : mrsudhirjain@yahoo.com

RANCHI JAINS RENDER HELP FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS
The Digambar Jain community of Ranchi, led by Shri Tara Chand Jain met the Chief Minister of Jharkhand Mr. Arjun Munda at Ranchi and presented him a cheque for Rs. 2,21,000 for help to tsunami victims. Other prominent people in the delegation included Mr. Mahavir Prasad Somani, Shri Rakesh Doshi, Shri Dharm Chand Jain, Shri Pradip Bakliwal and Shri Arun Jain.

PURE VEGETARIAN MESS LAUNCHED AT KHARAGPUR IIT
At the continuous demand from the students the Kharagpur IIT administration has agreed to provide a complete vegetarian mess facility for its students. The students were demanding this facility for a long time and finally the authorities have accepted. The students and teachers are all very happy with the acceptance of their demand by the director who had earlier refused to accept the request but had to agree due to increasing pressure from the students. [Courtesy: Saurabh.Jain, E-Mail : saurabh_iit2003@yahoo.co.in]

CHANDRASWAMY (JAIN) URGES FOR DELETING REMARKS AGAINST HIM
The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notices on a plea from self-styled godman Chandraswamy seeking deletion of the remarks against him in the case relating to the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Judge R.C. Jain directed M.C. Jain, who headed the commission that probed the assassination, the central government and the Central Bureau of Investigation to reply by April 21.Chandraswamy, who once had enormous clout in New Delhi's corridors of power, claimed in a petition that certain remarks against him in the Action Taken Report on the final report of the inquiry commission were "baseless and deserve to be quashed. "He also sought a direction from the court to the CBI asking it not to disturb him, his associates, friends and relations with notices under the garb of investigation. According to Chandraswamy, the Government's Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency that studied the Jain Commission report had not been able to find a grain of evidence against him.

JUSTICE VIGYAN MOHAN JAIN, JUSTICE G. S. SINGHVI SHIFTED FROM CHANDIGARH
In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 222 of the Constitution of India, the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, has transferred Justice Vigyan Mohan Jain, Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as a Judge of the Himachal Pradesh High Court and directed him to assume charge of his office in the Himachal Pradesh High Court on or before 28th February, 2005. Similarly, Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has also been been transferred to the Gujarat High Court.

NATUROPATHY DIRECTORY TO BE COMPILED
Hiralaxmi Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organisation, is planning to come out with a directory on Naturopathy centres and institutes in India. The directory would provide information on naturopathy centres, institutes and hospitals of the country. To be edited by naturopath Geeta Jain, the directory will be released at the All India Conference on Naturopathy in Alternative Medicines to be held in Mumbai in June. The foundation has called for naturopathy centres, institutes and hospitals to forward details and photographs to its office at 3rd floor, Lawrence and Mayo house, D N road, Fort, Mumbai -400001 before February 28. They can also be contacted through E-Mail: sudhir@ashapura.com

JAIN SAMAJ OF INDORE DONATES RS. 13.11 LAKHS FOR TSUNAMI VICTIMS
Various religious institutions at Indore, belonging to Shwetambar sect collected a sum of Rs. 13.11 lakhs for the relief operations of Tsunami disaster and handed over the bank draft to the Collector, Shri Rajesh Rajoura on the 18th January, 2005. The amount was to be sent to Prime Minister's Relief Fund. Like-wise, Jain community in different towns have contributed generously either directly or through humanitarian institutions for this worthy cause.

KNEE REPLACEMENT SURGERY AT HALF-COST BY MAHAVIR RESEARCH CENTRE
The Mahavir Medical Research Centre in Khar, Mumbai is offering knee replacement surgeries for 20 needy patients at half the cost. The Mahavir Medical Research Centre, Pujya Kanshiram Jain Smarak, Ahimsa Bhavan, Ahimsa Marg, Khar (W), Mumbai will hold free consultations for this purpose. For details, contact Dr Allahbadia on 098202 18181 or Pushkala on 98215 29653.

MS. MANEKA GANDHI COMES TO THE RESCUE OF SIMIANS
Former union Minister, Noted Environmentalist and member of Parliament, Ms Maneka Gandhi has come forward to save the Naughty Monkeys" from so called Monkey Jail at deer Park, Patiala. Plight of these Rhesus Macaques was highlighted in national and International Media and Lot of hue and cry was made by various animals saving groups. The monkeys have been now relocated at Hanuman Vatika (Rescue Centre) maintained by People For Animals, which is headed by Maneka herself, at national level.

Maneka sent a team Headed by Dr. Sandeep K. Jain, President People For Animals Ludhiana and ex-Member Animal Welfare Board of India, to look out the fate of these Monkeys captured and put behind bars from various parts of State. These were usually those who come to urban areas and have become ferocious due to one or another reasons. These were kept in two enclosures at Deer Park Patiala Bir. This corner was declared the Dangerous Zone. The conditions and guidelines laid by CZA were openly violated. On Getting the report, Ms Gandhi contacted the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Punjab, Mr.A S Dogra and asked them to shift them to Congenial environment and Suggested them to shift to the newly set up Hanuman Vatika, which is exclusively Monkey Rescue centre, especially built for the Monkeys rescued from Laboratories.

As monkeys are protected under Schedule II of wildlife Protection act and are part of Zoo these can not be sent to another place without the permission of Central Zoo Authority, under Ministry of Environment and Forests. Maneka also took initiative to talk to Dr.B.K.Sharma, Member Secretary, CZA to take quick action on the request made by PFA Ludhiana.The orders came on 28th evening to PCCF cum Chief wildlife Warden, Punjab allowing the shift under section38l of Wildlife protection Act 1972(Amended 2003).Courtesy: Sandeep Kumar Jain, E-Mail : jeevdaya@rediffmail.com

JAIN DIKSHA
1. Shri Chand Ram Meghwal, aged 22 years was accorded muni diksha at Ahore village in Jalore district of Rajasthan on the 31st January, 2005 in the holy presence of Muni Shri Suryodaya Vijay Ji maharaj of Murti-pujak sect. The young boy had developed great interest in Jain religion and he had been visiting Jain temples and meeting Jain sadhus during the last six years. His father, Shri Ratan Ram informed that the boy had been carrying out spiritual endeavours and contemplation all these years. He had also travelled on foot to various Jain pilgrimage centers, like Palitana and sammet Shikhar Ji.

2. Sushri Prerana Kothari from Pali in Rajasthan and Sushri Chhabi Jain from Chhaprauli in U.P. were accorded Jain diksha in the holy presence of Shri Roshan Muni Ji maharaj, a disciple of 1008 Shri Champa Lal Ji Maharaj, from Shwetambar Sthanakwasi sect. Many other eminent saints and sadhwi were present on the austere occasion. The programme of Diksha was held at Pali on the 2nd December, 2004.

READER'S VIEWS

JAIN MINORITY STATUS REPORT IN THE AHIMSA TIMES JANUARY 2005 ISSUE

Clarifications by Shri Bal Patil, E-Mail : president@globaljains.com, JAIN MEMBER, MAHARASHTRA STATE MINORITIES COMMISSION,

CHAIRMAN, JAIN MINORITY STATUS COMMITTEE, DAKSHIN BHARAT JAIN SABHA - I am concerned to draw your attention to the erroneous and misleading report in the Ahimsa Times January 2005 issue on MINORITY STATUS FOR JAIN COMMUNITY. The Supreme Court had given directive on my Special Leave Petition on behalf of the Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha for the declaration by the Central Government in pursuance of the recommendation made by the National Minority Commission in 1994 and repeated in 1996 that Jain community should be recognized as a minority community. This should be notified by a notification of Central Government for the minority status for the Jain community on all-India basis, on par with the other national minorities such as Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian (Parsi) as notified under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

It is not correct to state as mentioned in your report that "In response to the Affidavit filed by the Central Government, the Supreme Court has given ruling that under section 30 of the constitution, the decision about according minority status on the grounds of language and religion can be taken by the respective state Governments and not by Central Government". There is an Affidavit filed by the Central government but it is response to the directive given to the Central Government by the Supreme Court in my Appeal on 29th July 2004 to take a final decision on the issue of according minority status to the Jain community as recommended by the National Minority Commission pending for more than ten years. It is in this Affidavit the Central Government cites the 11-Judge Bench ruling in the TMA Pai Foundation case that the "religious and linguistic minorities , who have been put on a par in Article 30 , have to be considered State wise."

SOURCES OF PROTEIN VITAMINS IN VEGAN DIET- Mr. Sudhir Shah. E-Mail: sudhir@optonline.net It is assumed that dairy products are essential sources of protein for non meat-eating individuals. In fact, soya milk and other soya products are significantly better than dairy products. Ounce per ounce, soya has more protein than even meat!. Spinach is a great source of calcium, iron as well as vitamin A. In fact, excess consumption of dairy products leaches out calcium from the bones and make them brittle. In China as well as in Singapore, the consumption of dairy products is minimal. Most children grow up without any dairy milk and are much healthier. I have been vegan for over five years now and I have not had any health issues what so ever, not even a common cold (which used to be a chronic problem earlier)! I don't have to worry about putting on weight. I initially lost about 15 lbs and than the weight stabilized and has been maintained within 5 lb range without any special effort. One added benefit - my hair which had started turning gray has turned black again! Information below is added for the benefit of the readers interested in vegan diet, but have nutritional concerns.

REGRETTABLE

SAWANT COMMISSION SUBMITS REPORT IN SURESH DADA JAIN CORRUPTION CASE
Justice P B Sawant Commission, which probed corruption charges levelled by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare in 2003 against Maharashtra minister Mr. Suresh Dada Jain submitted its report to the state government. The government will analyse the 372-page-report and take a decision on whether to make the report public or not, Chief Secretary Prem Kumar told reporters in Mumbai. Hazare had accused Suresh Jain, of being corrupt. In return, the minister accused Hazare of corruption. The probe was completed in a span of one-and-a-half years and it involved examination of 119 witnesses. Over 800 documents of about 40,000 pages were also referred to during the probe. On account of non-cooperation, Mr. Suresh Dada Jain was imposed a fine of Rs 500.

GOLD WORTH RS 6 LAKH STOLEN FROM TEMPLE
Mumbai, January 31: THE Jain Temple on Subhash Road, Vile Parle, was robbed of gold ornaments worth Rs 6 lakhs on Sunday morning. One of the temple's priests and both watchmen have been detained on suspicion.

The robbery was discovered when Bachhoobhai, a trustee and regular devotee, visited the temple in the wee hours of Sunday. "When Bachhoobhai got to the first floor, he found the back door broken and the deity's gold ornaments missing," said a trustee, on condition of anonymity. Bachhoobhai immediately notified the other trustees and called the police. Though the famous, 3,000-sq ft Jain mandir has 27 idols of various deities distributed through its three floors-wearing gold ornaments worth crores-only the idol on the second floor had its rings, necklace and diamond-studded crown stolen.

The police have picked up priest Vishwaram Ravan (55) and watchmen Karansingh Bara (66) and Bogama Kamathi (60) of Sun Securities for further questioning. They believe Ravan, who hails from Rajasthan and had worked as a cleaner-cum-serviceman at a petrol pump in the city before joining the temple two years ago, may have been involved. "The job seems to have been an insider's work. We have questioned about 47 people so far, including the masons, carpenters and artisans carrying out renovation work at the temple, and hope to have concrete leads on the robbery soon," said Investigating Officer B S Sonawane.

AHIMSA TIMES INVITES NEWS CORRESPONDENTS FOR HELPING IN NEWS COLLECTION
We invite Jain volunteers from different geographical area to join the team of Ahimsa Times Correspondents. The interested readers may send their profile and a photograph to The Editor at E-Mail: ahimsa@jainsamaj.org.

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