Jain Diaspora is the JAINA initiative to connect all the Jain communities living in 36 countries outside of India and there by drive greater unity and cohesiveness in the global Jain community.
Ancient Eastern beliefs such as Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism apply the Theory of Karma to attain holistic balance between our material aspirations, and quest for inner peace and salvation. Today, Jain communities are thriving in at least 35 nations outside India for the last several decades and even centuries in some cases. By working closely together for the common good and staying connected with our Indian roots, and (more recently) leveraging state-of-the-art communication and social media tools, each diaspora Jain community has preserved the core Jain values quite well while prospering, but also simultaneously adapted to the socio-political constraints unique to the nations Jains are settled in.
Guided by veteran Indian diplomats such as Late Dr. LM Singhvi, and Jain teachers such as Gurudev Chitrabhanu, Acharyas Tulsi and Mahaprajna, and Veerayatan Acharya Chandanaji, JAINA leadership took great inspiration at the beginning of the 21st century to formally establish the JAINA Diaspora Committee in order to build new bridges of purposeful interaction and collaboration with Jain diaspora communities, as well as leverage our continuing involvement with organizations serving the needy in India and elsewhere. As a result of the increased JAINA emphasis on the ideal of the Global Jain (i.e., Jains Without Borders), numerous community leaders from Jain groups in India, UK, Kuwait, Belgium, Kenya, Germany, Singapore and Australia have either attended recent JAINA conventions or participated in JAINA-led humanitarian service collaborations, or held information exchanges with JAINA representatives. JAINA has further recognized the importance of connecting with diaspora communities by dedicating its 2014 JAINA Calendar to profile a dozen Jain temples in communities across North America, as well as published the 2015 issue of Jain Digest magazine with information gathered from JAINA outreach to over 15 nations where Jains are settled.
In general, all 35 Jain diaspora communities share four common concerns for which they are challenged in developing sustainable solutions:
(a) Staying connected with the Motherland of India while establishing new ties with our extended family in the new country;
(b) Caring for our senior citizens who emigrated and settled in the countries outside India and have now aged into their twilight years;
(c) Preserving and passing core Jain values and cherished traditions to our youth and future generations;
(d) Raising awareness and promoting Jain values and Way of Life to engage non-Jain groups which may range from foreign political and community/interfaith/institutional leaders, to myriad local, regional and international organizations so as to advance Jain values of compassion, non-violence, environmentalism, and tolerance/peace-making.
There is growing interest in applying broader Jain Dharmic principles in global business, service and production models, that can influence or advance robust practices in ethics, social responsibility and environmental stewardship. Due to new academic initiatives, equanimity practices such as mindfulness and conscious consumption are being further researched, validated and adapted in many progressive global institutions and scholar communities. JAINA - through its hundreds of volunteers and distributed network of Jain centers and NGOs – is well-positioned to reach out to diaspora and mainstream communities and institutions to share universal principles of non-violence, multiplicity of viewpoints and promote compassion, in order to strengthen partners with innovative thinking and sustainable practices.
Therein lies the future of Jains outside India.
Diaspora Conventions were envisioned by Late Dr L.M. Singhvi. He chaired the first convention that was held in 2007 in NJ, USA: Jain Diaspora Convention (JDC) 2009
Manish Mehta, Ph.D.
firstname.lastname@example.org; Mobile:1(734) 604-7989
Current Committee Members:
Dr. Manish Mehta (Detroit, MI)
Dr. Varsha Mehta (Detroit, MI)
Dr. Deepika Dalal (Miami, FL)
Ashok Domadia (San Francisco, CA)
Prem Jain (San Francisco, CA)
Dr. Sulekh C. Jain (Houston, TX)
Dr. Sushil Jain (Washington DC)
Dilip V. Shah (Philadelphia, PA).