2007-2009 term, I had the privilege to serve as JAINA President. I enjoyed the
job enormously – it gave me a chance to visit many Jain Centers. I met many
volunteers and leaders of the Jain communities in North America, India
and other countries. I realized what a precious gem we have here in North
America - the largest Jain community outside India living as a community without
any distinctions based on sect, language or region. Our dear organization is
about to enter fourth decade of its existence and we can all be proud of the intellectual
gift from visionaries like Gurudev Shri Chitrabhanuji and Acharya Shri Sushil
Kumarji who serve as an example of Jain Unity admired world over.
term in office as President, JAINA achieved many milestones:
STATUS to JAINA: The UN recognized JAINA as a humanitarian organization
and JAINA was awarded an NGO status of the Economic and Social Council.
Now we have opportunities to express Jain point of view where issues of
Aid or Development are discussed at the world body.
JAINA Constitution: After six years
of deliberations, changes to the 1994 Constitution were finalized, debated
and approved by the overwhelming majority of the JAINA Directors.
Headquarters: Established the JAINA
headquarters at the Jain Center of America (NY), the birthplace of
JAINA. For very first time, JAINA
has a physical place (Not a post office box number) where our members or
scholars arriving from India
A weekly ½ hour TV show was
launched highlighting JAINA’s activities.
liaison office for JAINA in Mumbai: This enables JAINA to perform useful
functions such as small banking transactions or mass mailing in India
Outreach initiative of JAINA will help establish Jain Students Associations
on campuses connecting our youth to local Jain centers and also facilitate
contact with each other.
DIASPORA: A forum JAINA established for the Jain communities all over the
world to come together and discuss common issues. JAINA’s leadership role
in this movement is endorsed and admired by many Jain leaders worldwide.
library scanned 200,000 pages of Jain Literature and put it on web making
more than 2300 Jain books in English, Gujarati, Hindi, Sanskrit or Prakrit
available to students and scholars world over.
Convention even during the hard economic times of 2009 was a great
All of the
above is a result of hard work by countless number of volunteers and goodwill
of JAINA members. We have to continue to build upon these achievements and take
JAINA to even greater heights. The whole Jain world is looking at JAINA for
leadership in forging Jain unity. JAINA’s credibility and reputation is unlike
that of any other organization.
As I look
back on my years in JAINA, I must say what an honor it was to serve as JAINA
President for the 2007-2009 term. I met hundreds of Jain leaders, scholars and
volunteers all over North America and
overseas. I attended Pratistha Mahotsavs at many Jain centers and participated
in International conferences. It afforded me opportunities to learn how
precious a gift of Jainism is to us. I observed various trends in Jain
communities at various Jain centers, in our youth and also how our senior
citizens are persevering in this adopted land of ours. All in all, I am grateful for the chance
given to me to serve.
forward, allow me to express my thoughts on the following:
believe that a two-year term is too short a period for any President to plan
and implement its agenda for a large organization like JAINA. JAINA’s programs have a far-reaching impact
on Jain communities not only in North America
but also all over the world. Proposing new ideas, debating, developing
consensus and implementing them do take time.
Another big concern of mine relates to JAINA’s financial health. As a
largest organization of Jains with worldwide recognition, JAINA is also unique
in that it has no assured source of funding for its core activities. A capital
drive that will create a corpus fund needs to be created.
would like to plead that in addition to the electronic format, JAINA should
also continue to publish the printed version of JAIN DIGEST as has been done
since 1985. While electronic edition of JAIN DIGEST on the web is an excellent
idea, majority of our readership is not ready to switch from print to
electronic media. Past leaders and volunteers have invested a lot of sweat
capital in creating and sustaining JAIN DIGEST since it’s founding in 1985. It
is a powerful communication tool and a visual reminder of JAINA’s existence.
More than 1,000 copies are mailed overseas to Jain Centers, libraries and
community leaders in India, UK and
other countries. Matrimonial service provided by JAIN DIGEST is one very
important service JAINA has provided that helps preserve our culture.
Discontinuing the print edition will break faith with almost 1,000 life members
who voluntarily contributed to special endowment fund for JAIN DIGEST. For a
period of time, both the print edition and the electronic edition can be co
published and opinions of all the stakeholders should govern the future decision.
In closing, I
want to thank all the friends and well-wishers who advised me and helped me
with my work in JAINA specially the board of Directors and members of the
Executive Committee with whom I served. It was a privilege to know them and it
was a great learning experience for me. I hope to continue to contribute to the
advancement of our beloved organization - JAINA. In the spirit of Paryushan
Parva and Daslakshana Parva we just observed, I seek everyone’s forgiveness for
any hurt feelings I may have caused knowingly or unknowingly during my term as
President or in this message. MICHHAMI