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Why Jains Wanted Minority Status at National level

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Anupma Jain

After a long wait and peaceful struggle (peace being the synonym of jainism),Jain community is at last accorded minority status at national level. On 20th Jan 2014 Central govt in a decision of far reaching consequence, decided to accord this status to jains, Jain community all across the world is jubilant that ultimately their contribution is being recognized .struggle was indeed tough ,full of uncertainty, at times there was ray of hope but next movement community's optimism was clouded by despair. But ultimately with ashirwad of Tiranthakars, blessings of revered sadhu sadhvi vrind and strong will power and collective efforts of community, light was visible after dark tunnel .The decision to recognize jain as a religious minority will foster wider recognition of their significant contributions to Indian history, thought and culture.this decision will go a long way towards boosting the communities sense of distinctive identity and makes the way for better appreciation of Jainism contribution to Eco and social development of country,Indian philosophy art and literature.Wait was truely long - 109 year long i.e from per- independence era. But even after independence, destination was still faraway in spite of so many positive responses from subsequent central leaderships along with favorable responses from national minority commission time and again that includes several positive judgments from judiciary.It may be mentioned that by a Govt. Notification of 1993 ,Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Paresis were all notified as minorities but strangely Jains were excluded from this list. Erstwhile Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had also agreed that Jains are distinct religious Minority. but inspire of this positive, matter lingered on. This decision has spread jubilation all across world among jain community and their well wishers.

Jain community has already got religious minority status in more than a dozen states,including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnatak, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhnd, Uttrakhand, West Bengal, Haryana,Punjab and Assam (status in Chattisgarh uncertain) so it was appropriate that community gets this status at national level now for constitutional protection of its distinct religious and cultural heritage and educational rights, especially meritorious Jain students will be benefited by this. By getting national minority status Jains will get all the benefits offered by Central Government to the religious minority communities specially prime minister's 15 point programmer for jains so that brilliant and needy jain student can get the benefit for polishing their intellect. To mention a few :

  • Multi- Sectoral Developement Programme
  • Scholarship scheme
  • Post-matric scholarship scheme
  • Free coaching and allied schemes
  • Maulana Azad National Fellowship

There is wrong impression that minority status is being asked by Jains for some reservation or benefits,doles. 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.and In no way this decision confers any reservation like Scheduled caste, Scheduled Tribes etc. Most important fact - In no way this step will encroach upon rights of majority, on the contrary it will strengthen national integration. As they say - confident and secure communities are foundation of confident nation with harmony among various communities We should remember one Mool Mantra- all communities are like beautiful streams flowing with complete harmony , making India prosperous and vibrant democracy depicting pluralism and multiplicity, truly ANEKANTWAD - one of the most important and fundamental doctrines of JAINISM