Dr. Pankaj Jain Will Start An Online Teaching Course In Jainism At A Prestigious University In USA

Posted: 02.04.2009
Updated on: 02.07.2015

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/pics/persons/Dr._Pankaj_Jain/Dr._Pankaj_Jain.jpgIn the fall 2009 semester (AUGUST), Dr. Pankaj Jain will teach two courses on Jainism and Sanskrit at North Carolina State University, where he teaches at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and also at the Department of Religion and Philosophy.

Jain, who earlier taught Indian cultural subjects at Rutgers and other universities in New Jersey, recently moved to North Carolina to take up a full-time teaching position at the university. Currently he teaches Indic traditions and ecology, Hindi films, Hindi language and literature; about half of the students are of South Asian heritage.

“India and China have aroused much interest among the people. India’s rise is always in the news,” he said, explaining a sharp increase in the interest to study about India. However, despite its long and influential history and contemporary relevance, Jainism is one of the least studied Indian academic phenomena in the West. To help fulfill this gap, he is launching the first ever online course on Jainism in August 2009. Being an online course, any student can enroll from any part of the world and the local students can also attend the course like a regular classroom course.

The course on Jainism is titled ‘From Mahavira to Mahatma Gandhi: The Nonviolent Jain Traditions of India’. The topics include the origin and history of Jainism, Jain theology and philosophy, contemporary Jains, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and nonviolence today.

The Sanskrit course’s topics include Sanskrit alphabet, grammar and vocabulary. Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin have many common features as the oldest Indo-European Languages and a comparative study of them will be of great benefit, he said.

Jain, originally from Rajasthan, arrived in the USA as a software engineer. He changed track to pursue a master’s degree at Columbia University and a PhD at the University of Iowa. “I aspire to be a teacher who relates to students with the creativity and passion of an artist, unbound by hardwired rules. I make use of the latest computer technologies in an effort to extend these creative and dynamic exchanges,” he said. His wife Sonia is an artist who runs the Indigo Arts Gallery. They have two children.

Pankaj Jain attended International Summer School for Jain Academic Studies(ISSJS) in 2006. He is a member of the ISSJS North America Academic Council and  is dedicated to advancing  the interest in Jain studies in North American universities. ISSJS is very pleased with the dedication of one of its alumni and congratulates him for this commitment. We hope with the success of this ONLINE course, several other scholars will be inspired to do the same.

Dr. Pankaj Jain can be reached at

Dr. Pankaj Jain पंकज जॆन,
Department of Religion and Philosophy,
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
North Carolina State University.

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