26.01.2010 Jaipur (1)

Published: 06.05.2010
Updated: 30.11.2012

Our first morning in Jaipur was Republic Day. The whole Bothra family was at home, and we used the opportunity for extended talks with our friends. There was no lack of topics, as we had not seen each other for quite some time. We took breakfast and lunch together, and shortly after lunch we had to leave for the first meeting in Pink City, how Jaipur very often is called because of the pink colour many buildings in the centre had been painted.

Our friend Shivani Bothra kindly had arranged a meeting with Prof. Kusum Jain, principal of renowned Maharani's College for girls. Prof. Kusum Jain was busy in the institution this holiday, as she wanted to prepare special projects for Maharani's College Week with some of her colleagues.

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This was a wonderful opportunity to meet her and to talk with her on girls' education, about the changing role of women in India and abroad in the 21st century and to exchange philosophical views. At the entrance we took a photo, and the guardian was kind enough to show his face and not to turn his back to us.

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In the vestibule we could not resist to take our friend Shivani Bothra's photo. She was too much looking as a Maharani's College student, although she is a married woman having finished her education quite some time ago. Perhaps she was remembered to her own college years in Kolkata.

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Prof. Kusum Jain welcomed us, but needed some more time with her colleagues.

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We used the opportunity to have a closer look at the images in her spacious office.

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We studied the names of the principals and were impressed that the first principal had this responsibility for 29 years.

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Then Prof. Kusum Jain was free for us. After our short introduction to her we were interested in the focus of education at Asia's biggest girls' college. Prof. Kusum Jain reported on the social service about 1000 of the 6000 students are devoting their time every week. They feel it a chance to give back to society what they have got from it by having been accepted as a student at this renowned educational institution.

Further value education is very important. Value education based on stable and good relations to other people. Conferences are a good tool to develop such relations to other people. The students follow all creeds spread in India and are practicing tolerance and respect towards each other. Never a religious conflict was reported from the college.

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Good relations to other people also should be based on the right kind of aspiration. So according to Prof. Kusum Jain women should not ask for equality, but apply their talent for handling relations. They are good scientists and doctors, but their most important ability is to make the family support its members. It is in the nature of a mother, Prof. Kusum Jain continued, to care for the family. And this work should be made prestigious. It is most important for the society and also for its change in the 21st century to gain a new understanding of motherhood.

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It is the mother who is forming the character of a person helping her or him to become a responsible personality. The society, and most of all, the women themselves should learn to respect this task as important as earning. Another important aspect of education is the environment in which the child is growing up. Prof. Kusum Jain underlined that poverty is no virtue, and that a basic comfort for the family is necessary.

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The second aspect of our talk was based on Jain philosophy. We talked on self-reflection and consciousness, unique facilities of an individual. Human and animal life is different because a human is not only confined to the biological needs of his existence, but can control his desires, if he wishes so. Animals yet have not been reported to be able to control their desires. When they are hungry, it is not possible for them to stop eating. Otherwise are they not able to eat when they are not hungry. But a human can either eat although not hungry, or fast although hungry. This naturally does not have significance for the soul. In Jinism all souls are regarded as equal, all living beings are soul and not body. Body is the manifestation of soul, Atma, Jiva.

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So our talk naturally came to the meaning of the Mahavratas, five great vows observed by Jain monks and nuns, giving also guidance for lay followers. Prof. Kusum Jain stated that the world we are living in sets hardly limits to greed, which can be answered by limitation of possession, Aparigraha. Parigraha, the hording of possession and unlimited consumption is according to her an expression of deep insecurity. One who suffers from it, is not sure for tomorrow. But for sustainable development of the society, the limitation of possession is very import. Further we should regard nature not as our enemy who has to be conquered, but as our partner to cooperate with.

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After the talk in relaxed atmosphere Prof. Kusum Jain showed the beautiful park of the institution to us.

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This artfully decorated arrangement of flowers in a fountain is like a symbol for the meaningful discussion we had with Prof. Kusum Jain.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Aparigraha
  2. Atma
  3. Body
  4. Consciousness
  5. Environment
  6. Greed
  7. Jain Philosophy
  8. Jaipur
  9. Jiva
  10. Kolkata
  11. Kusum Jain
  12. Maharani's College
  13. Mahavratas
  14. Parigraha
  15. Shivani Bothra
  16. Soul
  17. Sustainable Development
  18. Tolerance
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