JAINA Convention 2005 : A Confluence Of Traditions

Published: 09.07.2005
Updated: 21.03.2017

JAINA Convention 2005

Federation of Jain Associations In North America

A confluence of traditions exemplary of the American melting pot at its best was once again visible in the golden state over the 4th of July week end.

The 13th biennial Jain Associations in Northern America (JAINA) convention with the theme of Extending Jain Heritage in Western Environment took place at the mammoth Santa Clara Convention Center. Over 3,700 people of the faith came together from all over US, Canada, India and beyond to mix and mingle in one of the biggest social events of the South Asian Diaspora in US.

The Jain Center of Northern California (JCNC) with membership of over 700 Jain families in San Francisco Bay Area hosted the gathering. JCNC started in 1973 with 20 families.

Across the street at the Great America theme park spectacular and spellbinding fireworks marking the American Independence Day festivities filled the sky with resplendent hues and hearts with wonder at the sight of beauty and brilliance. Virtues of independence were vastly visible and were celebrated to its helm.

"Via the convention, we want to re-affirm the concept of unity in diversity whereby we follow our traditions in harmony with others, especially with the growth of the Jain community in North America." Says Kirit Daftary JAINA Vice President and Convener of the Convention.

The overall aim of the organization is to project a united face of the Jain community to the world and not a faith that is fractured on sects and subtleties.

The coming together of friends, family and fraternity in an informal family milieu was a social, cultural and educational celebration of sorts. The milieu of conversation and camaraderie was complemented with over 250 formal cultural, academic, religious and social sessions covering an array of subjects. The panels on history of the ancient religion and common health concerns were held in parallel with deliberations on fundamentals of the Jain way of life and advanced spiritual discourses on varied principles and practices encompassing Jainism.

"Since its inception in 1981, JAINA has become a premier organization promoting the Jain philosophy of non violence, tolerance, contentment and ecological harmony." Says Anup Vora, JAINA President.

The umbrella organization of local Jain associations of US and Canada is a federation of 62 groups representing around 100,000 Jains in North America. The organization also holds the distinction of arranging the recital of a Jain prayer in the US House of Representatives to mark the 2600th birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira in 2001.

The varied activities including the multiple panel topics of intellectual discussion, an art exhibition, a culinary demonstration, a San Francisco Bay cruise and a rich array of cultural programming constituted a smorgasbord offering something for everyone. The best and most popular still seemed to be the communal intermingling and informal social networking.

Where the art aficionados could be seen gazing at the beautiful and myriad works of eight artists including the photographs on India by renowned photographer Robert Arnett in the exhibition arena, the culinary crazy collected at the cookery competition and learnt the principles of the palate in the demonstration by ace cookery author, Tara Dalal.

Similarly, the youth deliberated in sessions tailored for them in line with concerns and thought processes on the tenets of the faith from their perspective. Various topics including Science and Religion and Do's and Don'ts of Dating made interesting topics for discussion and debate.

The entertainment section of the festivity brought one and all together to rejoice and celebrate. The programming included Raas Garba on the first day, a showcase of varied talents of stand up comic acts, traditional and Hindi film dances via solo performances and group gyrations on the 2nd day and sonorous song renditions by professional singers on the 3rd day.

The competitive cultural programme of day 2 included teams from Boston, Los Angles, Washington DC, Houston, Dallas and San Francisco.

On the last night of the convention, Anuradha Paudwal and Manhar Udhas regaled the audience with their mono melodies and delightful duets featuring old and new movie songs, traditional Jain Bhajans and Gujarati Ghazals.

Rajul Shah, a volunteer at the convention says that the best part of the convention is meeting people of the community and coming together of friends and family. "It's like another home." She adds.

Success of social gatherings- big or small is directly dependent on gastronomic delights. Jay Bharat Foods of Los Angles received applause from the attendees for the vast array of delicious and sumptuous preparations. All in all- a social meeting making memories.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. 24. Tirthankara Mahavira
  2. Bhajans
  3. Environment
  4. Federation of Jain Associations in North America
  5. Houston
  6. JAINA
  7. JAINA Convention
  8. JAINA Convention 2005
  9. JCNC
  10. Jain Center of Northern California
  11. Jain Philosophy
  12. Jaina
  13. Jainism
  14. Kirit Daftary
  15. Non violence
  16. Science
  17. Shalini Narang
  18. Tolerance
  19. Violence
  20. Washington
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