JAINA 16th biennial Convention in Houston - a huge success

Posted: 13.07.2011
Updated on: 03.03.2017


JAINA Convention 2011


The South Asian Times

By Shashank Jain
Photos: Sunil Chaudhary, Swapna Patel

Houston: Over 2,800 Jains attended the 16th Biennial JAINA Convention in Houston. JAINA, founded in 1983, is a federation of over 80 North American Jain centers. The event was held at the George Brown Convention Center from July 1st to July 4th during the US Independence Day weekend. The conference theme was "Live and Help Live."

The events started on Friday with blessings from many scholars, monks, and nuns followed by dinner and then 'Gandhi Before Gandhi' drama, a tribute to Veerchand R. Gandhi, a Jain scholar. Mohandas K. Gandhi lived with VR Gandhi for several years and during those times MK Gandhi learned much about Jainism and Non-Violence as a phi­losophy and practice.

After late evening of Raas Garbha, the next morning started with ses­sions on Yoga, Meditation, and Pratikraman (meaning going back to path of purification).  A beautiful temporary temple was built with two muftis (idols), and officially opened for prayers. Then a grand procession took place in the large hallways of the convention center with each Jain Sangh carrying their flag. The con­vention was officially inaugurated by lighting of the candles by Lata Champsee, D.R. Mehta, Sushil Jain, and Dr. Neal Barnard, Udai Jain, and other sanghpatis.

In the afternoon, many parallel ses­sions took place including lectures on Basic principles of Jain Dharma, Community Service, ABCD on Entrepreneurship, Yoga for Seniors, Jain Way of Entrepreneurship, Prac­ticing Ecology in Daily Life, Jainism and Sustainability, Social Challenges for Seniors, Animal Rights, Vegan Diet and more. With so many paral­lel sessions, the attendees were often torn between their desire to attend multiple sessions in the same time slots. The evening entertainment program included a beautiful stage program called "Swagatam" by Jain Society of Houston and cultural pro­grams by various US Jain Centers.

In parallel to these programs, youths were having their own pro­grams which included Jainism 101, Jain Networking Forum, Govern­ment Activism, Comparative World Religion, Easy Jain Cooking, and more. In the evening, Jain Network­ing Forum had dinner and social evening and mixer. Such networking events in the past conventions have led to many marriages.

Also, in a first, this JAINA conven­tion had displays of "Innovative Jain Projects in North America." Over 40 project posters described how Jains are channeling their energy in Living and Sharing a Jain Way of Life. Proj­ects included Jain Mentorship Pro­gram, New Brochures on JAINA and Jainism, Jain Way of Life Handbook - Guide to Compassionate Happy and Healthy Living, Jain Food Book, Pathshala Material (Sunday School),

Humanitarian Projects, Mangalam Jain TV Show, JAINA Interfaith Ac­tivities, Overcoming Fundamental­ism, Boy Scouts of America, Jain Religion Emblem Awards Program. This event was co-sponsored by Jain Center of Greater Boston.

The Sunday activities were similar to Saturday's and included many new sessions. Topics included Sig­nificance of Pooja, Doctrine of Karma, Jain Way of Running a Busi­ness, Academic Studies and Strate­gies for Growth, Preventing Heart Diseases, Significance of Charity and more. Following dinner, the evening entertainment was highlight of the conference. An award cere­mony took place in the evening where Girish Shah of San Francisco was awarded the JAINA Ratna Award for his 30 years of contribution to Jainism, JAINA, and his local Jain Sangh. JANA Recognition Awards were presented to Hasendra Shah CA, Mukesh Doshi IL, Padma Shah CA, Paresh Shah VA, Ramesh Doshi Amdavad India, Sunil Jain IL, Yogesh Shah CA, Ajay Dagli MI, Hemang Srikishan IL, Kritka Jain, CA, Saahil Jain CA, Shardule Shah MA. JAINA Presidential Award were given to Jain Center of South­ern California, Institute of Jainology, D.R. Mehta from India, Hasmukh Shah, Shantilal Mutha from Pune, India.

The attendees were entertained past midnight by Jains Got Talent and concert by Indian Idols Bhoomi Trivedi and Sreeram Chandra.

Such a large event was made pos­sible by many contributors including Sanghpatis, Shri Udai Jain & Sushila Jain, Rajeev & Nita Daga, Dr. Rajniben & Dinesh Lakhia, and Nimmi and Mukesh Amritlal Turakhia.

The convention board team and over 100 volunteers from Houston and other centers worked over a year to make this event possible.
The Convention Board members include Dr. Sushil Jain Convener, Udai Jain Co-Convener, Himanshu Ajmera, Co-Convener, Lata Champsee, Ashish Bhandari, Dr. Nitin Shah, Dipak Doshi, Dr. Manoj Dharmasi, Riddhi Desai, Jainesh Mehta and Arpan Shah.

The host center was Jain Society of Houston.

The convention came to a close on Monday with the closing ceremonies and blessings from the monks and nuns.


D.R. Mehta receiving JAINA Award for his contribution to Jaipur Foot and social service. Award presented by Dr. Manoj Dharamsi and JAINA Past President, Lata Champsee.


Dr Neal Barnard, Keynote speaker, being felicitated by Dr. Sushil Jain (l) and Dr. Manoj Dharamsi (r).


JAINA Convention opening ceremony inauguration by Dr. Sushil Jain (from left), Udai Jain, D.R. Mehta, and Mukesh Turakhia.


Evening program with Bhoomi Trivedi of Indian Idol fame.


Exhibits of over 40 "Innovative Jain Projects" in North America.


A scene from SWAGATAM - A signature performance by Jain Society of Houston - with over 170 performers it depicted Jains all around the world.


Jains Got Talent & Indian Idol night


The new JAINA committee for the next two years was sworn in and is headed by Dr. Sushil Jain President, Mr. Prem Jain First VP, Mr. Ashok Domadia Secretary, Mr. Dipak Doshi Treasurer, Mr. Yogendra Jain VP
North East, Mr. Haresh Shah VP Mid East, Dr. Deepika Dalal South East, Mr. Uday Jain VP South West, Dr. Manish Mehta VP Mid West, Mr. Rajen Dhami VP West, and Mrs. Lata Champsee Past President.

JAINA 2011 Convention Board Members posing with Jain Society of Houston volunteers.



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