As the Centre is giving a serious thought to accord minority status to the Jain community countrywide, the community members in Nagpur appeared optimistic towards the decision getting notified soon. Jain community forms 2 percent of country’s total population. While Jain community is still considered as Hindu members, this has kept the community away from various government benefits provided to the minority community which presently includes Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis.
Demands have been pouring in from various states to grant minority status to Jain community. Recently, Pulak Janchetna Manch from Nagpur had also written to the union government in this regard. Jain community in Punjab had also appealed to the Centre to give them minority status, so that members of the community can avail of scholarships and funds under the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme for minorities.
Talking to Nagpur Today, Sunil Chopda, President of Jain Parishad (West Nagpur) and also the president of an NGO Ekta Seva Parishad, said if such a move to accord minority status to Jain community takes place then it will be the most beneficial thing for the community who would be more able to serve the community and its people. “It is not that we are weak and require minority status for our upliftment but it is to enable us to work for the betterment of the society in general. The prime concern is the education of our children. They will be benefitted with the privilege in education. In future if any of our children would wish to contest elections and is active in politics and non-corrupt, and if the area is reserved for minority, then this will help him sail through his noble intentions. This will certainly help the community leaders to bring a desirable change in the system.”
Chopda added, “Jain community’s main agenda is ‘jeev raksha’ (protection of creatures) and this feat can be achieved through non-violence. This move will also help our children to represent the polity and spread the message of love, peace and non-violence.” Chopda also extended his hearty thanks to Nagpur Today for taking up the issue with various community members.
Richa Jain, National Organisation Secretary of Pulak Janchetna Manch said, “We had earlier given application to the central government to provide us minority status as being clubbed with Hindu religion we are not getting any benefit provided by the government. It’s heartening to know that the government is contemplating the move to grant minority status to Jain community. Actually we should have this provision at the earliest as you see there is no post reserved for minister from Jain community in Union cabinet. Secondly, once notified, we will be privileged to enjoy the minority benefits like admission in good schools and colleges and also availing job opportunities on local level.”
Richa Jain said though some states have extended minority benefits to Jain community, the community could not be benefitted fully unless it is centralized. “As we belong to Digambar Jain Mahasamiti, we would also be able to put up the issues related to Jain community once the minority status is accorded,” she told Nagpur Today.
Aditya Sancheti, young community member and Director of Sancheti Builders and Developers cheered the move saying that it’s really a good thing to see Jain community accorded the status it rightly deserves. “I think it’s always about quality and not the quantity, The values that Lord Mahaveera has left for us is not only beneficial for Jainism but for the remaining society as well. Like any other Jain I too believe in Jeeo aur Jeene Do and Ahimsa Parmodharam (Live & Let Live and Non-Violence is ultimate religion)”
Vijay Kumar Patni, partner in Arun Automobiles commented, “Once the community is given minority status our achievements would also be noticed. Jain community would get lot more opportunities in the future and also the benefits that were kept away from the community members all this while. So it’s very beneficial for the Jain community. Hence I support this move”