Ahimsa Times 193, 2016-08

Published: 04.09.2016
Updated: 06.09.2016

Ahimsa Times

On the Occasion of Paryushana Parva and Das Lakshan Parva
We Sincerely Request for Forgiveness
As We may have Hurt your Feelings by Thoughts
Words, Inaction or Actions, Knowingly or Unknowingly




Paryushan is the most important Jain festival celebrated in the month of August or September. Normally Swetambar Community refer to it as Paryushan, while Digambar Community refer it as Das Lakshan. Paryushan means "abiding, coming together". The duration of Paryusan is for eight days for Swetambar Jains and ten days for Jains belonging to the Digambar sect. Paryusan is a time when the laity take on vows of study and fasting with a spiritual intensity similar to temporary monasticism. The date for the Paryushana festival is Bhadra shukla chaturthi. For this minimum duration, Paryushana must be initiated by panchami (the fifth day) of the shukla paksha phase of Bhadra. The last day is called Samvatsari. Because of computational and other differences, there can be some minor differences among various sects. It comes at the time when the wandering monks take up temporary residence for the monsoon period or "Chaturmas". Because at this time the monks have settled in the town for a longer duration, it is time for the householders to have an annual renewal of the faith by listening to the statement of the Dharma and by meditation and vratas. Digambara Jains starting a 10-day period from Bhadra shukla panchami, during which the dashalakshana vrata is undertaken. Swetambar Community celebrate an eight-day festival that ends with Bhadrapada shukla chaturthi.

It is believed that the devas (heavenly beings) do an eight-part puja (worship) of the tirthankaras, which takes eight days. During the 8-day festival, the Swetambar Murtipujaki recite the Kalpa Sutra, which includes a recitation of the section on birth of Mahavira on the fifth day. Some Swetambar Sthanakvasis recite the Antagada Sutra, which details the life of great men and women who attained moksha during the eras of Neminatha and Mahavira. The Digambara Jains recite the Tattvartha Sutra. On dashami, a sugandha-dashami vrata is made. Digambaras celebrate Ananta Chaturdashi on which a special worship is done. Many towns have a procession leading to the main Jain temple. Anant Chaturdashi marks the day when Lord Vasupujya attained Moksh.

During Paryushan, Jains observe a fast. The span of the fast can last from a day to 30 days or even more. In the Digambara sect, Sravakas do not take food and / or water (boiled) more than once in a day when observing fasts, while those of the Swetambar sect observing a fast survive on boiled water, which is consumed only between sunrise and sunset. Jainism discourages fasting in diabetics, pregnant women, other patients taking medications. Before any fasting, consulting a doctor is recommended as fasting can interfere with health in aforementioned cases.

On all the eight or ten days, Jains begin their day with pratikraman in the morning, followed by prayers for promoting universal peace and brotherhood. Pratikraman means turning back; also called samayika, the practitioner reflects on their spiritual journey and renews their faith. For both Swetambar and Digambar it takes the form of periodic meditation. The period can be twice daily (morning and evening), once every lunar phase, every four months or every year. The annual Pratikraman in some form is the minimum for the Sravaka and Sravikas. The annual pratikraman is called Samvatsari Pratikraman. Since it coincides with the end of Paryushan, the terms "Samvatsari" and "Paryushan" are sometimes used interchangeably.



26th August, 2016, Chandigarh: It was a different type of '€˜pathshala' for the Haryana legislators on the first day of the monsoon session of the state Assembly. Jain Muni Shri Tarun Sagar Ji Maharaj tried to prick politicians' conscience while calling upon them to wage a battle against social ills afflicting society. Known for his '€˜kadave pravachan', Muni Shri Tarun Sagarji opened his speech lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Referring to Modi's '€˜beti bachao, beti padhao' campaign, Tarun Sagarji lauded '€œdaughters'€ Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu for '€œsaving India from disgrace'€ at the Rio Olympics. In his discourse, the first by a religious preacher in Haryana's legislative history, the Muni took potshots at the politicians for their alleged failure to check female foeticide and corruption, soft policy against terrorism vis-a-vis Pakistan and criminalisation of politics.

Spicing up his discourse with anecdotes and jokes, the saint used his inimitable wit and barbs to drive home his point while urging the society to stand up against social evils. '€œWe will have to change our minds'€¦the society will not change for us,'€ he asserted. He equated dharma to the husband and politics to the wife, suggesting that the latter should '€œaccept the discipline'€ imposed by the former. He recommended ways to eradicate female foeticide. He even took potshots at Pakistan. Taking on politicians, Muni Tarun Sagarji said that the Parliament, which was set up to solve the country's problems, has become the biggest problem. He claimed that according to a survey, 160 MPs have criminal cases registered against them and said that efforts should be made to ensure that criminal elements are '€œnot able to climb the stairs of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha'€. Terming terrorism as a major issue, Sagar said that no religion promotes terror. If the amount of government money that is spent on weapons is used for education, employment and healthcare, there would be a transformation, he said. All through the discourse that lasted 45 minutes, Muni Tarun Sagarji had MLAs cutting across party lines at the Haryana Assembly listening in rapt attention. Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki was a special invitee to the discourse.

Though MLAs, including Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Leader of the Congress Legislature Party Kiran Chaudhry and Zakir Hussain heaped praise on the '€˜national saint', politicians were at the receiving end of his discourse which he occasionally enlivened by poking fun at them. Although the event ended with all good words from everyone present but later, a few controversies were also raised. Some of the issues are being also debated on national media. India is a secular nation which means state and religion are to be kept separate. How can the government officially invite a religious leader to speak at Vidhan Sabha? Did the administration know that the monk would appear not as a citizen of the nation but as a religious leader carrying with him his religious practice of nakedness? If yes, did the administration give considerable thought to the appropriateness of nudity in public office? Is this legal as per the obscenity laws of India? Section 294 of Indian Penal Code defines the crime of obscenity? Assembly officials had initially planned to hold the discourse in the Punjab lobby. Speaker Kanwar Lal even examined the proposed venue, but Punjab reportedly did not accept Haryana's request.

The Haryana Assembly Speaker said the decision to invite Muni Shri for a lecture was taken unanimously by the House after an all-party meeting. It could now set a precedent. Other religious leaders and prominent personalities from different fields could also be invited for similar discourses in the future, he said. Allegations have also been raised against the Khattar government for saffronising politics.


28th August, 2016: New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described the famous Bollywood music composer and singer Vishal Dadlani's tweet on Digambar Jain monk Tarun Sagar as '€˜Unfortunate'. Dadlani stirred controversy by mocking Acharya Tarun Sagar for giving a speech in Haryana Assembly. Soon, Dadlani faced the flak from the followers of the monk, members of the Jain community and many others, including Arvind Kejriwal. Kejriwal tweeted: Tarun Sagar ji Maharaj is a very reverred saint, not just for jains but everyone. Those showing disrespect is unfortunate and should stop.

However, a complaint has been lodged with police against music composer Vishal Dadlani for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Jain community through their tweets on monk Tarun Sagar. A lawyer, Sehul Shah (28), lodged the complaint with Bundgarden police station, alleging that the tweets posted by Dadlani and one Tehseen Poonawala on Twitter about monk Tarun Sagar had offended Jains. Similar cases have also been registered against the duo in various other parts of the country. According to Sehul Shah '€œThe tweets by Dadlani and Poonawala have hurt the sentiments of Jain community and as the act was done with a motive to hurt the religious sentiments of the community, I lodged a complaint against them. After drawing a severe flak, Dadlani had tendered an apology for his tweet and also deleted it. He also apologised to the Jain monk on Twitter. Dadlani, a staunch AAP supporter, also later announced quitting '€œall active political work'€ on his volition.


August 30, 2016: It is a commendable step by the Haryana Assembly to invite Jain Sant Munishri Tarun Sagar Maharaj ji to guide the assembly. Pujya Munishri Maharaj ji has stressed on the significance of Dharma over Politics in socio-political aspects & all should keep that in mind. Munishri Maharaj ji's pearls of wisdom are important & a guiding path to all. All Jain Sants have been a guiding source for VHP & we respect them all.

Dr. Pravin Togadia, VHP International Working President further said, '€œI also appeal all in Bharat & abroad NOT to ridicule / insult any Sant or / and anything that has been a revered part of our socio-religious psyche for ages. Freedom of Speech is NOT the right to hurt our socio-religious sentiments & symbols. VHP strongly condemns frivolous & insulting remarks by Vishal Dadlani & the likes. It has become a fancy fashion to ridicule, humiliate & insult all that is a part of a socio-religious psyche & then term it '€˜art', '€˜Freedom of Speech' etc. It is deplorable & we condemn all such efforts to demean & degrade our socio-religious symbols of faith.'€


Acharyashree Chandanaji will be visiting the United States from 1st to 14th October with stops planned for New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington DC and Florida. Acharyashriji will join the JAINA leadership on Friday 7th October at the White House and Capitol Hill, where she will meet Senators, House of Representatives and interfaith leaders to spread the message of world peace and non-violence. During her visit Acharyashriji will also meet Veerayatan devotees, patrons, volunteers as well as the Veerayatan International USA leadership team to spread the message of Seva, Shiksha and Sadhana and share information regarding Palitana, Khandoba and various schools projects in India. For further details of the program, please contact Mrs. Punita Shah at punita.shah[at]veerayatan-intl.org



10th August, 2016, Jaipur: The ancient Jain temple at Juna, located in land belonging to the forest department about 12 kilometres from Barmer district in Rajasthan, is dated to the 12th century. However, when visitors visit the spot, they see only rubble. A board at the spot proclaims that this is a protected monument, one on which the government spent a sum of Rs 72.88 lakh for "conservation". The conservation work was undertaken between 2003 and 2005. What that sum was spent on is hard to fathom because all that remains on the sport is a pile of stones. Barmer district convenor of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage Yashovardhan Sharma filed an RTI petition on June 27 with the state department of archaeology seeking information about the manner in which the Rs 72.88 lakh was spent.

He had also included 12 other points in his RTI application to the department seeking a list of protected monuments in Jaisalmer, Barmer and Jalore districts and the amount spent on the conservation of these. He sought details of the staff working at the department and details of clearances granted to industrial units and windmills in a 5km radius of the monuments in these districts. He has included also a question seeking a list of the state's museums and the budget for these. In its response to the RTI application, sent exactly a month later, the state department of archaeology and museums informed Sharma that since the information he sought was "excessively detailed," it was not possible to offer a response. Citing Section 7 of the RTI Act, 2005, the letter says that information may not be provided if "it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority or be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question". Roli Singh, secretary of the department of archaeology and museums of the state government, said she would need time to find out details about the nature of conservation work undertaken at the site.


17th August, 2016 Bhopal: Jain temples in Bhopal have issued an advisory that bars the entry of men and women devotees in Jeans and T-shirts. According to Digambar Jain Panchayat President Ramesh Choudhury, the women devotees should dress decently while visiting the temples. Similarly, the panchayat also announced dress code for men. According to the rule, men should wear kurta, pyjama or simple pant, shirt while visiting the Jain temples in the city. A similar advisory regarding dress code was issued in 2012 in the state when Jain community leaders decided not to allow women wearing western attire, especially jeans and top, from entering temples. According to a report Aryika Gurumati Mata had also asked women to not wear make-up, especially lipstick, and had warned of strict action against the defaulters.


11th August 2016, Kanpur: A single slab of stone inscribed with Jain deities was unearthed at Chakarnagar area in Etawah District. According to district authorities, work on the bridge on Kwari river to connect Chakarnagar from Madhya Pradesh was underway, when the labourers hit the allegedly ancient slab of stone. They alerted the contractor who further apprised the district officials. The people of the local Jain community claimed the slab inscribed with Jain deities were 1,000 years old. Two Jain deities carved on red stone, and one-and-a-half-feet-high, are in standing postures, while one other is in sitting 'asana' posture. This is not the first time that the idols of Jain religion have been recovered in Etawah. Earlier, in the month of April 2016, nearly 400 to 500 ancient Jain and Buddhist idols were unearthed from farmland in Etawah District. A farmer, Matadeen Rajput's field was being ploughed on April 2, 2016 afternoon when the tractor hit the ancient idols, which proves that Jainism co-existed along with Hinduism at Etawah. The idols are being preserved and sent for further archaeological examination. The area has since become centre of attraction and people from far and near have been making a beeline to take darshan of the idols.



10th August, 2016 Chicago: On the occasion of India's 70th independence day, Indian American Business Council hosted a high profile reception with dignitaries from India, South Africa, El Salvador, and America at Northwest Suburban College. Newly formed trade organization, IAB Council, was graced with presence and enlightening words from Chief guest, Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muniji. Acharya shared that ahimsa, unity, and cooperation is the key requirements for any progress. This event is supported by '€œIndian Diaspora Club'€ established in India. IAB Council's strategic partners includes Indian Diaspora Club, Government Technology Foundation, Indo American Friends Group, Vision One, CSR Virgil, VNA Partners. Strategic collaborators include Illinois Chamber of Commerce, IL SBDC International trade Center and many more. The Founder of IDC Mr. Rajat Kapoor says '€œour sole motto is to foster a sense of oneness among Indian Diaspora around the globe and work as a bridge to connect them to their motherland.'€


23rd August 2016 New York: The Indian-American community across the US recently celebrated India's 70th Independence Day on August 21 by unfurling the tricolour and organising a series of cultural events here. Congratulating the Indian-American community on 70th anniversary of India's Independence, Dr. Lokesh Muni said that India and US are the two largest democracies of the world that share common values of plurality, secularism, justice to all. US and India are examples for the entire world, as both countries have complete freedom to practice and propagate their culture and religion. Both are a tolerant society since their existence, he added. Acharya Lokesh Muni further said that Indian Diaspora, which is one of the largest in US, has immensely contributed to America's progress to which the US also reciprocated by giving opportunities to the deserving. Now under Make in India, Digital India, Start-up India, India is now emerging as the land of vast opportunity for US companies. This collaboration will take both countries far ahead, he stated.

The Grand Marshal of the India Day Parade in New York was Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan. Chief Guests were Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev, Jain Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, South Indian superstar Chiyaan Vikram and Priyanka Kothari. This was one of the largest events marking India's Independence in the US where thousands of people lined up on both sides of the road in New York as the colourful parade passed. It began from 39th Street, went down to Madison Avenue and culminated near 26th Street where several food and other stalls were put up and cultural events were organised. The Federation of Indian Associations hosted the 2016 India Day Parade in New York City. This year marks the 36th annual event, where people gather around to watch marchers embrace Indian culture. Spectacular cultural tableaux were also displayed on the occasion.


25th August, 2016 Washington: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has said that spiritual leaders can show the path towards achieving world peace and harmony. In a meeting with Jain spiritual leader Acharya Lokesh Muni in the Silicon Valley, Clinton said that the US has always supported spreading of knowledge, according to a media release issued by Lokesh Muni's office. '€œSpiritual knowledge is the highest form of knowledge which spiritual leaders possess; they can play a larger role on international platform in the decades to come,'€ she said. Lokesh Muni, currently on a Peace and Harmony Tour to the US, met with Clinton along with International coordinator of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti Ajay Bhutoria and Ramesh Walia. Blessing Clinton for achieving victory in upcoming presidential elections, Lokesh Muni said there are three key challenges before the world terrorism, climate change and inequality, the press statement said. '€œThe US and India can together fight against terrorism, illiteracy and poverty.


The Convention will be held at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, NJ from Friday, June 30 to Tuesday July 4 2017. The Theme for the 2017 Convention is '€œJainism and Science'€. The convention will highlight the science behind the Jain principles of Ahimsa and Non-Violence, taught to us by our Tirthankars. The convention will be planned and executed by a team of JAINA volunteers and members of many Jain Centers. Visit https://Convention.jaina.org to register early. Registration begins on August 29.



25th August, 2016: The apex consumer commission directed Swiss International Airlines to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 to a flyer and upgrade his economy class ticket to business class for his future travels, as a penalty for serving him non-vegetarian food instead of a Jain meal he had opted for. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission upheld the district forum's order also directing Swiss International Airlines, to pay Rs 10,000 towards litigation cost and dismissed the revision petition filed by Mumbai resident Amit Jay Kumar Jain to enhance the compensation. The court said, "the airlines shall be bound by its commitment to upgrade economy class to business class in one flight booked by with a rider that the complainant must undertake that flight within one year".

The bench noted that the complainant was alerted by a co-passenger before he could eat the non-vegetarian food served to him. '€œIt cannot be said with certainty that the complainant consumed a morsel of non-vegetarian food. Thus, under the circumstances, the compensation awarded to the complainant seem to be reasonable and there is no cause for interfering with it,'€ the bench added. According to the complaint, on May 6, 2011, while flying from Zurich to Mumbai, Jain was served with a non-vegetarian meal whereas he had opted for a special vegetarian Jain meal. When he approached the district forum in Mumbai, the airline said the mistake was human error and offered that in future any one economy class ticket booked by the complainant from India to Europe or from Europe to India would be upgraded to business class and an apology was also tendered in writing.


17th August, 2016 Delhi: The Jain Temple Charitable Bird Hospital, opposite the historic Red Fort, was under tremendous strain after 15th August kite flying day. As many as 500 birds injured by manjha were treated at the hospital. The number of casualties, however, was much higher. Sunil Jain, manager of the hospital, said: '€œThe number is likely to cross 1,000 by the end of this week. This is a frightening scenario.'€ Reason for popularity - Manjha are kite strings that have glass shreds or are made of nylon. They are popular as they ensure that kites don't get cut easily, and fly higher. The string, however, is responsible for crippling and killing a lot of birds every year. The glass manjha (glass powder-treated string, also called Chinese string / manjha) gets entangled around trees, and kills birds, says Sunil Jain. He adds that the commonly injured birds are eagles, pigeons and parrots. They usually receive cuts in the neck region and wings. Old Delhi sees the maximum number of cases. The hospital treats nearly 30,000 birds every year. The authorities say that August and early September are the worst months for birds. Wildlife SOS co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan says, '€œManjha claims the lives of countless birds in India every year.

The danger posed by manja is not new. It has fluttered feathers of animal rights activists for years now. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, has rallied to have governments ban the deadly string and stick to saddi a plain cotton thread. After so much of loss, local politicians are doing mud slinging on each other for mismanaging and controlling import of Chinese string. The good thing about the Delhi government's ban is that it includes the Bareilly ka manja. Other governments such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra have banned only the Chinese nylon strings.


Last year, the controversy over the meat ban erupted after the BJP-ruled Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation banned sale of meat and slaughter of animals for eight days during the fasting season of Paryushan. 23rd August 2016, Mumbai: A year after a controversy broke over demands for an eight-day ban on meat during the Jain community's holy period of Paryushan, the contentious demand is raised again. A Bharatiya Janata Party legislator has demanded that the existing two-day ban on the slaughter of animals at the Deonar abattoir and sale of meat in the city be extended to four days. The Jain community will observe Paryushan, a fasting period, from August 29 to September 5. As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's existing plans, the Deonar abattoir and sale of meat would be banned on August 29 and September 5 only. The legislator has written to the BMC, requesting to extend the two-day meat ban to four days like earlier. Last year, following the controversy over the ban, what was initially planned as a four-day meat ban was reduced to just two days. '€œSo, the two-day rule will be continued this year too,'€ said Yogesh Shetye, general manager of the Deonar abattoir.

The civic body had justified the proposed four-day ban last year, saying that the decision to ban sale of meat had been taken based on corporation resolutions passed in 1964 and 1994 and the state government's 2004 resolution. However last year, the controversy over the meat ban erupted after the BJP-ruled Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation banned sale of meat and slaughter of animals for eight days during the fasting season. Subsequently, the BMC also announced a four-day ban on meat after demands by BJP legislators and the Jain organisations. The Shiv Sena, an alliance partner of the BJP in the BMC, had opposed the proposal as there was a huge outcry over it. The Sena had said that it was a violation of the basic rights of people who wished to consume meat on those days. Subsequently, senior Sena corporator and party leader in the BMC, Trushna Vishwasrao, had moved a motion to reduce the period of the ban in Mumbai. The BJP, this year, seems to have taken a more cautious view on the meat ban issue. In the Mira Bhaynder Municipal Corporation, BJP leaders have decided to ban sale of meat for two days, citing government rules.



18th August, 2016: '€œShe Walks, She Leads'€ is a passionate effort of Gunjan Jain as she decoded the success stories of top women. She highlighted the unique architecture of success of each woman leader while simultaneously presenting some success values that are common to all of them. '€œShe Walks, She Leads'€, an exclusive anthology of women achievers, authored by Gunjan Jain was launched in Bengaluru on Thursday amidst eminent personalities and stalwarts from across the industry. The debutant author's effort of motivating and inspiring people through her book by presenting twenty-four iconic women of modern India was well-reflected at the launch event. In terms of leading personalities on the dais and curious audience, the Bengaluru event matched the scintillating ulaunch in Mumbai last month. Gunjan Jain has associated with the leading industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the Bangalore launch. Published by Penguin Random House India, '€œShe Walks, She Leads'€, is one of the first books of its kind in the global publishing industry.

'€œShe Walks, She Leads'€ is a passionate effort of Gunjan Jain as she decoded the success stories of top women. She highlighted the unique architecture of success of each woman leader while simultaneously presenting some success values that are common to all of them. The author found that their family was the corner stone of happiness for all the women achievers. According to Gunjan, these twenty-four unique lives are a testament to the fact that there are as many paths to success as there are people. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon Ltd, said, "Gunjan Jain's anthology of biographies, '€˜She Walks She Leads,' vividly captures the journeys of some remarkable women who are at the top of their respective fields today. It is thoroughly researched, well-written and smartly put together. Even as we move forward towards a more equitable society, it is important to remember and rectify, as far as possible, the prejudices that still hold back a lot of women from achieving their full potential. And for that, a book like 'She Walks She Leads' will certainly be a valuable source of inspiration to all those gutsy women who want to smash the so-called glass ceiling.'€

A quote of N. R. Narayana Murthy, Founder, Infosys Ltd., in the book says, "The book is certain to speak to women- those in fledgling careers, those struggling up the ladder, even those nearly at the top. But equally it is a book for men. A valuable collection that sensitises them to so many struggles any professional women inevitably has to face." The women leaders in the book are: Nita Ambani, Sudha Murty, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Indira Nooyi, Mary Kom, Parameshwar Godrej, Rajashree Birla, Yasmeen Premji, Anu Aga, Chanda Kochhar, Naina Lal Kidwai, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Zia Mody, Swati Piramal, Shabana Azmi, Mira Nair, Anamika Khanna, Ritu Kumar, Jyotsna Darda, Shobhana Bhartia, and Indu Jain.

The Mumbai event was hosted on 21st July, 2016 by two of India Inc's renowned and highly respected stalwarts, Nita Ambani and Deepak Parekh. The highlights of the event were Nita Ambani's insightful opening speech, Shah Rukh Khan's poem on 'fight like a girl' and Swati Piramal's evocative book reading. The luminaries attended that evening included Mukesh Ambani, Isha, Akash and Anant Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chanda Kochhar, Rajashree Birla, Gita Piramal, Zia Mody, Simi Grewal, Nawaz Mody Singhania, Vita and Jalaj Dani, Sanjay Nayyar and Hemendra Kothari.


17th August 2016, Kolkata: Hindi scholar and writer Sunita Jain was awarded the prestigious 25th Vyas Samman 2015 for her poetry collection "Kshama". West Bengal Governor K. N. Tripathi conferred the award on the scholar. The award instituted by the K K Birla Foundation carries a cash prize of Rs 2.50 lakh. It is given annually to outstanding literary work in Hindi authored by an Indian citizen. Tripathi commended the author for portraying through poetry the fine emotions between poet Tulsidas and his wife Ratnavalli. "The author has managed to aptly convey the sentiment of forgiveness between Tulsidas and his wife using very fine language," he said. Eminent litterateur Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari who presided over the selection committee for the award said Jain's work aptly brought out the emotions of forgiveness and repentance. "It is a work that is filled with emotions and is of utmost importance in today's technological age where there is no value for 'bhava'," Tiwari said.

The Ambala-born author narrated a recollection of her growing up years in Amritsar. "I used to go to an evening school and idle away the morning sitting on my verandah and looking at passersby. I used to observe a woman who used to go to work in the morning and return in the evening. "She was dubbed a loose character by neighbours and along with other children in the area I too delighted in making fun of her. Later I came to know that she was loathed because she used to live alone. That incident continues to haunt me," Jain said. The author who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004 writes in both English and Hindi and has over 100 books to her credit. The author who retired as the professor and the Head of the department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi said she has been influenced by prolific reading during her student days. She began to write at the age of 22 and has published short-stories, novels and poems in Hindi and English. Her works in English include "A Girl of Her Age" and two short-story anthologies, "A Woman is Dead" and "Eunuch of Time and Other Stories". She has also published seven poetry anthologies besides, a book for children and literary criticism. The book "Kshama" was published in 2008.


As Zavaray Poonawalla will be quitting as club chairman of Royal Western India Turf Club the chances are, Marketing honcho Vivek Jain will take over as chairman. That AGM though behind closed doors, is expected to be stormy, given the rifts within the committee. The committee has become of two factions, and one or the other group has been running the club. For Vivek Jain, it has been a very rocky ride; two years ago he was in a controversy, where audio tapes were released with his voice trying to fix a jockey in a doping case, just on the eve of a stormy election. Agreeing that he will need to hammer out consensus on issues in the committee room, he says he is ready to meet problems like lease and falling finances head on. Eight of the nine men who are currently on the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) committee will stay in the saddle unopposed. There will be no elections this September 12 at the Mahalaxmi racecourse, as there have been no fresh nominations. Members can expect a tepid Annual General Meet contrast to the verbal volleys that have become part of the run-up.



8th August 2016: The Ravindra Jain Group has announced the launch of first ever Kids Web Channel, "Welcome to Fairyland". The web channel was launched at a grand event at Ajivasan, Juhu in the presence of esteemed guest Pt. Suresh Wadkar and Deevya Jain amongst others. The event also marked the launch of first solo album of Jiya Wadkar, daughter of Pt. Suresh Wadkar. The album is called "Sapnon Ka Gaon". The interesting trivia is that it was legendary music director Ravindra Jain who launched Suresh Wadkar in Bollywood and now, it's his son Ayushman Jain who is launching Suresh Wadkar's daughter. The event was an out and out fun gathering with kids for their special channel. "Welcome to Fairyland" is a a beautiful and interactive world where a child can let his/her imagination run free, was an idea that was birthed in the minds of the Late Shri. Ravindra Jain and his wife Mrs. Deevya Jain. Dr. Ravindra Jain adored kids and how the mind of a child worked, he was fascinated by their imagination and wanted to make something or some outlet where these children would be allowed to think and play freely. Even though he wasn't able to bring this thought into fruition when he was still with us, his wife Mrs. Deevya Jain and his son Mr. Ayushman Jain are working towards making this dream a reality. Through 'Welcome to Fairyland', we are looking forward to bring forth various concepts and activities that a kid can take part in or can find entertainment through.


27th August, 2016: Ahmedabad: Gaela Dennison-Leonard is a star student at Hamilton College, New York. She decided to learn about Jainism in the city. She has now adopted the practices of the religion and also intends to undertake the traditional fast during Samvatsari. According to the Hamilton College website, Gaela is a Thomas J. Watson Fellow for 2016-17 and has received US $30,000 for her project, 'Robes for the Modern Woman: Monastic Women and Community Strength'. Besides India, she will be visiting Malaysia, Thailand and Australia to do research for her project.

"I have gathered information about Jainism, five maha vratas (great vows) of Jain ascetics and nine elements during my interaction with Sadhvi Vachaymashri at Jain Sangh, Sola. I have memorized the Navkar mantra and wish to observe practices like fasting during Samvatsari as part of my study," she said. Sadhu Vitragyashji said that Gaela had decided to shun night meals as per Jain tradition to understand the life of religious Jain and is eager to see the religious practices of Paryushan. "I will go to Malaysia next to understand Buddhism. It was great to know about Veerchand Gandhi on his 153rd anniversary recently as he was the person who had talked about Jainism in the US," Gaela said.


16th August 2016, Shivamogga: Congress politician Veerappa Moily, known for his literary skills also, is ready with an epic poem 'Bahubali' in Kannada, narrating the life and times of the Jain saint. Moily had earlier won awards for his two major works. The 76-year-old leader, who pursues two disparate subjects with equal ease, has neatly compartmentalised the two worlds with discipline and innovative work schedule for nearly 50 years now. Moily's earlier epic poem, 'Sirimudi Parikramana', written as an autobiography of Draupadi, has won him the acclaimed Saraswati Samman. His another work 'Ramayana Mahanveshnam', earned him the prestigious Moortidevi Award, instituted by Bharatiya Jnanpith Organisation.

According to him, working on the 1,000-page epic poem Bahubali was an exhausting but fulfilling experience. Bahubali's renunciation of kingdom, his spiritual quest and preaching of peace hold special relevance in today's world, riddled with conflict. This has inspired me to work on this book, which I have now sent to some scholars for their reviews. It is planned to release the book in the Mahamastakabhisheka to be held in 2018. Interestingly, while writing the epic poem on Bahubali, Moily has also become vegetarian. Asked how he could traverse two such different territories with ease, he said, I have acquired a self trained method early in my life, which helps me to switch off from the political work, and switch on to my creative world daily without affecting either. Every morning, I get busy with literature and write from 4.30 am to 6.30 am. Every night, before sleeping, I work nearly two hours on my nonliterary books.


1st September 2016: As per Census 2011, the Jains continue to be the most educationally advanced community with over a quarter of its members qualified as graduate or above. The Muslim community in India has the lowest share of graduates compared with other communities and just half the share of the nationwide average of under 6%. The share of technical diploma holders is the highest among Christians at 2.2%, again continuing a previous trend, with Sikhs following at 0.8%. A heartening feature is that the most educationally deprived communities like Muslims and Buddhist are surging forward with shares increasing at a faster pace than other communities when compared to a decade earlier.

These details emerge from the latest release of Census 2011 data on educational levels across religious communities. The Census office is in the process of releasing such specific data over 5 years after the headcount took place. While illiteracy has declined and educational levels at primary or secondary level have risen rapidly across all communities, at the higher levels the dead weight of the past still casts a shadow. Those of college-going age were in primary school in the early to mid-90s and enrolment in schools was deficient, especially among Muslims. This historic deprivation is reflected in the current lag in higher education participation levels. But even the overall share of graduates continues to be abysmally low at 6%, while the technical education level at just 0.6% is appalling. Most advanced countries have a graduate share of 30-50% accompanied by a high share of technical personnel.

The changes between 2001 and 2011 Census show that the Muslim community has seen an almost 60% increase in share of graduates compared with about 55% for Hindus. But the most striking increase is among Buddhists - mainly neo-Buddhists who were Dalits that embraced Buddhism at the call of B R Ambedkar. The share of graduates among them has jumped by as much as 74% in the decade between the two censuses. The country average is about 54% increase in the share of graduates. The share of technical diploma holders too shows a similar change - the most deprived communities are surging ahead, in relative terms. Thus, among Muslim this share increased by 81% and among Buddhists by a jaw dropping 130% compared with a countrywide average of about 68%.


Washington: The U.S. Postal Service will commemorate the joyous Hindu festival of Diwali with a Forever stamp. The Oct 5, first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony will take place at the Consulate General of India, New York. The stamp design is a photograph featuring a traditional diya oil lamp beautifully lit, sitting on a sparkling gold background. Diya lamps are usually made from clay with cotton wicks dipped in a clarified butter known as '€œghee'€ or in vegetable oils. Diwali also is celebrated as a major holiday by followers of the Jain and Sikh faiths. Sally Andersen-Bruce of New Milford, CT, photographed the diya. Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamp and William J. Gicker of Washington, DC, service as the project's art director. The Diwali stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp. This Forever stamp will also be equal in value to the current First Class Mail 1-ounce price. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.


6th August 2016: The US government has made a historic ruling to allow the first private enterprise, Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx), permission to travel beyond Earth's orbit and land on the Moon in 2017. This breakthrough U.S. policy decision provides authorization to Moon Express for a maiden flight of its robotic spacecraft onto the Moon's surface, beginning a new era of ongoing commercial lunar exploration and discovery, unlocking the immense potential of the Moon's valuable resources. Moon Express has received the green light for pursuing its 2017 lunar mission following in depth consultations with the FAA, the White House, the State Department, NASA and other federal agencies. Till now, all commercial companies have been limited to operations in Earth's orbit, and only governments have sent missions to other worlds. According to Moon Express Chairman, Navin Jain, the sky is not the limit for Moon Express, it is the launch-pad. This breakthrough ruling is another giant leap for humanity. Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children. In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals, and Moon rocks back to Earth.

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