Dalit Youth Turns Jain Monk

Author:  Image of Abha SharmaAbha Sharma
Published: 01.02.2005
Updated: 25.10.2010

In a caste-dominated society, where dalit bridegrooms are often discouraged to ride a mare in their wedding processions, upper castes treat them with disdain and untouchability remains a stigma irrespective of what the Indian Constitution outlines, the induction of a dalit youth in Jain religion comes as a welcome change.

In a historic event, a 22-year-old youth belonging to Meghwal community was anointed as a Jain monk at Ahore town in Jalore district on Monday. Hailing from Mandwaria village, Sirohi district, Chandaram Meghwal alias Sandeep got a new identity as Anant Punya Maharaj at a diksha ceremony attended by a large number of people from Shwetambar Jain community and Sandeep’s relatives from Sirohi.

Sandeep who went to Mumbai in search of a job a few years ago was so impressed by Jain saint Suryodaya Maharaj that he expressed his desire to dedicate his life to the religion. He travelled with him to various holy places and attended religious sermons with deep devotion and sincerity to the surprise of the saint. On expressing his desire to join the religion, he was sent to Ahmedabad to study the Jain ideology for almost four years. Seeing his intense desire to lead life of a Jain monk, his family gave in after initial hesitation, reliable sources told Deccan Herald from Ahore.

He was given a warm send off from his village two days ago and reportedly there was a mad rush among the villagers to touch his feet to show their reverence. His monkhood moved about 1,500 people in the village to go vegetarian and give up drinking. Monday onwards, he would be known with his new name Anant Punya, said Mahaveer Jain, a businessman from Bangalore, who was currently in Ahore to attend the diksha ceremony. His 26-year-old sister also took diksha along with Sandeep, he said. A commerce student at the MES college in Bangalore, she gave up her studies to pursue the same path.

A tough life awaits the newly inducted monk from Tuesday as he will have to walk barefoot, clad in a white robe and seeking alms. No physical comforts will be allowed, including the services of a barber.

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  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Anant
  3. Bangalore
  4. Deccan Herald
  5. Diksha
  6. Jaipur
  7. Mahaveer
  8. Mumbai
  9. Punya
  10. Shwetambar
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