Rikhab Chand Jain
A certain class of political leaders has been repeatedly raising the unnecessary demand of declaring the Jains as minority obviously for the political reasons.
On August 12 the Jain society organised a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi which was uncalled for and unnecessary too. Barring political considerations, conceding the demand of minority status to the Jain community would not be in the interest of anyone. It would neither protect the Jain religion, nor its security. There are no shortcomings either.
Many a time the Supreme Court or even the State High Courts have stated that this is against the Constitution but the campaign is continuing. Especially during the pious month of worship, the demand for reservation is raised as soon as any political leader or a Chief Minister happens to meet them.
I appeal to all such confused class of people to undertake a comparative study of the Jain scriptures and Bhagvad Gita—the main scripture of the Hindus. The Bhagvad Gita describes Rishab Dev the First Teerthankar of the Jains as incarnation of Lord Shiva and held in veneration for developing a civilisation. The country is known as Bharatvarsha after the name of his son Chakravarty Emperor Bharat. The Karmayoga, selfless bhakti (devotion), anasakt yoga, etc. are one hundred per cent commensurate with the Jain philosophy. There is not a single principle of Jain philosophy that is misconstrued by the Hindus. Variety or plurality is acceptable to both Jains and Hindus.
Vinoba Bhave, who realised the highest goal by following Jain process of Sanllekhana; and composed Jin Sutam on the occasion of 25th ‘Nirvan Utsav’ of Lord Mahavira firmly stated that there is no difference in Gita and Jain philosophy, both are same.
Maharshi Ved Vyas first announced the principle of non-violence in the penultimate verse of Mahabharata epic. According to Jain scriptures all the Jain teerthankars were Kshatriyas in Hindu society. The First ‘Ganadhar’ Gautama was learned scholar of Vedas and a Brahmin. Number of Jain acharyas, rishis, sadhus and sadhvis come from the Hindu society.
Uptill now there has been no conflict between the Jains and Hindus, nor will be there in the future. At the social level both have a common worshipping practice. The Jain too worship Lakshmi, Ganesh, and celebrate Deepavali, etc. as any of their Hindu counterpart.
During the Mughal or British period, any Jain would assert his being Hindu when asked. Now why this difference today? Even if the status of minority is accorded to the community, it would not make any difference for the better. Today, the Jains are enjoying many facilities and opportunities. The practice of going for political benefits and scolding the Hindus should be stopped forthwith.
According to the Jain philosophy, the deeds of an individual make him a Jaini. Anybody, following any religion, can become a Jaini provided he follows the Jain principles of life. The religious leaders and Jain society should look into their own self and do some serious introspection and declare them as part of the majority Hindu society. Within the Jain society too there are 4-5 systems of worship. So, why the supporters of multitude want to get separated from the Hindus? Even there are imaginary benefits by changing the status in educational institutions.
Non-violence and respect for all religions are the highest and universal principles. There is no need for the Jains to seek the minority status. Even by any other angle if the Jains considers themselves minority then also their interests would be safeguarded by staying with the Hindu society. They should look into the future and should not get carried away.
(The writer is noted industrialist and chairman of TT Limited)