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Tamil Jains disappointed at not being represented in Minority Commission

Chennai, 15th July 2021: The Tamil Jain community has expressed its disappointment over the State government not including a member from their community in the TN State Minority Commission, even as it appointed two members from the Hindi-speaking Jain community to the panel earlier this month.

The term ‘Tamil Jain’ may sound strange to many, as they receive near nil representation in the media, and it is commonly assumed that all Jains are Hindi speakers. However, the Tamil Jain community has been associated with the region since 300 BC, according to Jain scholars, and the State houses around 35,000 Tamil Jains.

The community is not as economically advanced as the Hindi-speaking Jains, sources said. P Rajendra Prasad Jain, a Tamil Jain and Secretary of the Sri Bhagawan Mahavir Digambara Jain Management Trust, told, “Jain literature played a crucial role in Tamil receiving its classical language tag, since three of the five Tamil epics Silapaddikaram, Civa Cintamani and Valayapathi were written by Jain authors.”

Several centuries-old Jain temples are located across the State and two Jain mutts, including Sri Jinakanchi Jain Mutt in Villupuram district, function in the State. Nathan, a Tamil Jain living in Chennai, said many government schemes meant for minority communities do not benefit Tamil Jains and a representation in the minority commission would have helped them.

According to Rajendra Prasad Jain, students from the community are also not able to avail scholarships like the Maulana Azad National Fellowship for Minorities Students Scheme. R ecently, Swasti Sri Lakshmisen Bhataraka Bhattacharya Maha Swamigal of Shri Jinakanchi Jain Mutt wrote to CM MK Stalin, urging him to list the community as a Backward Class. “Most of the community is economically poor and unable to compete in the general category,” he wrote. – News Courtesy: The New Indian Express