Minority tag for Jains? Thanks, but no thanks!

The Government of India recently included Jains in the country among minorities. This has been debated for a long time now. All it took was one meeting between Union Minister Pradeep Jain and Rahul Gandhi to make this happen. Some indication of how things are decided in the UPA!

Jains are one of the most affluent communities in the country. To tag them as a people requiring government support in any form is ridiculous. This move would make Jains eligible for scholarships and other benefits. Jains do not need any of these benefits.

For years now, most Jains have been self-sufficient and have been able to look after not only themselves but others too. Jains are known to run many charities and many leading Jains are very active donors in good causes.

This kind of dole is totally uncalled for and unnecessary.

There has been an argument made in favour of this decision saying that the interference from the government in running of Jain religious institutions and temples was getting to be a huge problem and this move will help curb that dangerous trend.

To resolve this problem, you don't need to accord minority status to the community. Address the main problem. Come up with guidelines to restrict this from happening.

“A national minority status allows us to enjoy fundamental rights under Article 25 and Articles 26 to propagate our religion and also freedom to manage our religious affairs. Without this, our identity was eroding,” said Sanjeev Jain, an advocate of the cause.

What identity was eroding? Can Sanjeev Jain please elaborate? By using such sweeping, unsubstantiated statements it is easy to mislead people.

It is clear that in an election year, the Congress is taking such desperate measures to try and get some communities on to their side. I hope Jains will not be fooled by this.


Anonymous said…
There are some misconceptions regarding the minority status given to Jain. Please pass on the following message to any Jain who have doubt or don’t know “Why minority status is important for Jainism”. Also you can post this message in any forum:

There is wrong impression that minority status is being asked by Jains for some reservation or benefits. It is not SC/ ST/ OBC quota. In fact, being minority will rule Jains out of reservation as religion based reservation cannot be given in India. It is being sought by Jains as this will give them distinct identity to religiously different group like sikhs, parsis, muslims etc.

This is a very old demand, more than100 years, by Jains and anyone who knows about Jainism will agree that it is entirely different religion.

It will take a long time to discuss the essence of Jainism. But the main differences between Jainism and Hinduism are:
1) Jains don't believe that someone has created or can destroy the Universe.
2) There is no concept of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva (the Supreme gods of Hindus) in Jainism.
3) Jains consider 24 "Tirthankars" as their supreme gods. They have taken birth as human being and then attain "Moksha" by virtue of their leaving wordly possession and "tap", and not by worshiping any dietary.
4) The scared books of Hindus (like Gita, Puran etc) are totally different from that of Jain sacred books (Jinvani etc).
5) The main teachings of Jainism are vastly different from other religions.
6) The "Dev" in Hindus or “angels” in Muslims and Christianity, who lives in heaven, are immortals. While in Jainism all of them are mortal and die like any living being and take rebirth as human or in any other “gati”.
7) The philosophy of worship is also different. Worshiping in Hinduism believes in surrender to some higher entity, while Worshiping in Jainism is merely instrumental in self-realization. Emphasis is more on securing samyaktva i.e. rationality rather than ritualistic worship.
8) Click this link to know more: http://www.jaina.org/?Myths

The above mentioned points are the main attributes which signifies the differences between any two religions (Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jainism etc).

There are hundreds of more differences between Jains and other religions. And that's why Osho has said that Jainism is unique and very different from any other religion.
Kamal D Shah said…
I totally agree that Jainism is completely different from other religions. However, in my post, I am not even suggesting that Jainism is the same as Hinduism.

The point I am trying to make is that Jains do not need the minority tag. How does making Jains a part of minorities serve to assert that it is an independent, distinct religion?
Anonymous said…
Because right now, Jainism is clubbed under Hindu religion. Even a wealthy Parsis (who consider someone who earns less than Rs 90,000/ month as poor)take pride in their minority status and separate religion. As you yourself has said that Jainism is completely different religion. So Jains should be accorded minority status. The Jain leaders are fighting for our distinct identity for more than 100 years and this was long overdue.

Do you really think, in the pretext of inclusiveness, Hindus will allow themselves to be call as Muslims, Sikhs or Jain. Or Muslims as Chritians, Hindus etc. All religion wants distinct identity for themselves and they are not wrong as it give them freedom to practice their religion. Jains are peace loving and have good relations with every other religion and they want their justified demand for identity.
Anonymous said…
And I sincerely hope that if you think that Jainism is different religion, than you will also educate fellow Jain about "the importance of Minority Status". Because many people think that we are getting some reservation or our status is downgraded. It is not a SC/ ST/ OBC quota.

Kamal D Shah said…
I thin you are confusing two things - separate identity and minority status. I am fully for separate identity. Jains are not Hindus. However, the question of being a minority is a different one.

Can you please tell me what benefits we will get if we are declared minority? And please don't say separate identity as we ALREADY ARE a separate religion. What else?
Anonymous said…
It is you and Jains like us who consider Jainism as a separate religion.........But in the eyes of Indian laws and other people, who don't know the actual difference, Jainism is not a religion but one of the caste in Hindu religion.

Just give you one example, Last year when a Jain monk was stabbed by knife in "Girnarji" in gujrat by some Hindu fanatics, neither police nor politicians have taken such a grave matter seriously. Because it was considered a intra religious matter (between two sect of same religion). The Monk was attacked because he want to worship Lord Naminath on Girnarji, which those religious fanatics calls that statue as "Datatray" and want to control that religious place. If Jainism had Minority status then then this matter was taken more seriously (as there are various laws to protect the minorities and their religious places).

If you are fully for separate identity for Jains, then you should be supporting minority status also. It is just a official thing but it is very important.



Anonymous said…
Jainism is distinct and separate religion of India. IN the past, Many people in India were following Jainism. Later on many of them switched over to Brahman religion (Hinduism).

One more fact, Most Jains today basically Kshtriyas in the past.
As a caste, majority of Jains are having Kshatriya origin.

It means that any caste in india can follow any religion in India.

Hence, Jainism is separate religion but jain people are not separate.
Anonymous said…
One more fact,

in 15th to 17th century period, Many jains in gujarat embraced Vaishnavism.

So that is hoe jain community in gujarat got divided.

Whole of South India was following Jainism in the past. Most of the great emperors in the past were the patrons of Jainism.

Maurya empire and kings all were jains

From knowmayur@yahoo.co.in
Anonymous said…
Even though I know everything about this issue. I am equally confused about the minority status.

from: knowmayur@yahoo.co.in
Anonymous said…
so when someone said jains are one the caste in Hindus,
My answer is People of India had followed in the past Jainism, some of them were following vedic religion (hinduism). Later on most of them embraced vedic philosophies.

all types of caste, all types of people in india were already aware about sraman phiolosophy (Jainism) and vedic religion.

both jainism and vedic religion has coexisted in peacefull manner.

Anonymous said…
So Jain People are Hindu People as coomunity but religion is diferent and distinct.