Snapticle

Jain Community Protests

Why in the News?

The Sammed Shikhar on Parasnath Hill in Jharkhand and Shatrunjaya Hill in Palitana of Gujarat are two holy sites that have sparked protests from the Jain community.

  • In Gujarat, there is a dispute over the vandalism of a shrine and associated security issues in Shatrunjaya Hill. In Jharkhand, the issue is the declaration of Parasnath Hill as a tourist destination and an eco-sensitive zone without consulting the people from the Jain community.

What do we need to know about Jainism?

  • India's first religion was Jainism. 
  • Along with Buddhism and Hinduism, it is one of the oldest religions in India that is still practised today. 
  • Jainism is also referred to as Jain dharma.
  •  More than four million people in India identify as Jains, making it a continuingly significant aspect of Indian culture.
  • Due to its shared cultural and linguistic roots with Hinduism and Buddhism, Jainism has some concepts in common with both religions. It is a unique religion, though, and can be practised independently.
  • Jains are those who practice Jainism. 
  • The central tenet of Jainism is that by abstaining from violence and minimizing harm to all living things, one can achieve spiritual enlightenment. 
  • They can avoid acting violently by never thinking, speaking, or acting violently.
  • According to historians, Jainism originated in eastern India nearly 3,000 years ago. Similar to Buddhism, it has its roots in the same area.  
  • In the seventh century BCE, a teacher named Parshvanatha became the first Jain to be mentioned in history.
  • All living things, including humans, animals, plants, and insects, are thought to have souls Jains. Some think that the water and the air are also spiritual.
  • Jainism uses the swastika as a significant symbol. It may sound familiar to you because it was used in Nazi Germany, but in Jainism, it has a different meaning. There are various states of existence represented by each of its sections.
  • Mahavira was one of the most significant figures in Jainism. In the same era as the Buddha, he was a Jina who lived in the sixth century BCE. The Jains consider him a prince who sacrificed everything to improve himself. He attained enlightenment by fasting and practising meditation.
  • Jainism's "three jewels"—right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct—serve as its guiding principles.
  • In Jainism, only monks and nuns lead very austere lives.
  • The Digambara (literally, "sky-clad") and Svetambara (literally, "white-clad") sects are the two main branches of Jainism.
  • Since material possessions cannot aid in the development of good karma, many Jains attempt to reduce their possessions.
  • If drinking alcohol or using drugs will cause their state of mind to change, Jains avoid doing so.

What are the most important details about Shatrunjaya Hill and Parasnath Hills? 

  • Parasnath Hills:
    • The Jharkhand state district of Giridih is home to the Parasnath Hills, a group of hills.
    • Jains refer to Sammed Sikhar, one of the most significant pilgrimage sites, as having the highest peak of 1350 meters.
    • The hill bears Parasnath's name, the 23rd Tirthankara.
    • On this hill, twenty Jain Tirthankaras attained salvation, and there is a shrine (gumti or tuk) for each of them.
    • It is thought that a few of the temples on the hill date back more than 2,000 years.
    • On the full moon day in Baisakh (mid-April), the Santhals, who refer to this hill as Marang Buru, the hill of the deity, hold a hunting festival.
    • Numerous Jains from all over the world trek up the hills for 27 kilometres each year to reach the summit.
  • Shatrunjaya and Palitana Hills:
    • In Palitana town, Bhavnagar District, Gujarat, there are hundreds of shrines on Shatrunjaya Hill, a sacred location.
    • When Rishabha, the first Tirthankara of Jainism, delivered his first sermon in the temple atop the hill, the shrines were declared holy.
    • The Shatrunjaya hill is a magnificent hill studded with temples, built over 900 years ago, and is one of Jainism's holiest pilgrimage sites.

CONNECTION BETWEEN JAINS AND PARASNATH HILLS

The largest pilgrimage site for followers of the Jain religion, for both of its sects, the Digambaras, and the Svetambaras, is Sammed Shikharji, located in the Parasnath Hills in Jharkhand's Giridih district, 160 kilometres from Ranchi. This is where 20 of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras are thought to have meditated to achieve "moksha," or salvation.

THE JHARKHAND ISSUE

  • Along with other temples like Baidhyanath Dham in Deoghar and Basukinath Dham in Dumka, the Jharkhand government designated the Parasnath area as a "tourist spot" in February 2019.
  •  The hill was designated an eco-sensitive zone by the Union environment ministry in August of that year, and it was noted that the region had "tremendous potential to support thriving eco-tourism."

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