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An Appeal to My Jain Friends

Author - Anil Chawla

All My Jain Friends

You believe in Non-violence, while I believe that non-violence is impractical and impossible. Surely we differ in a fundamental way.

Despite our different fundamental beliefs, we must learn to not step on each other's toes and live together as friends and more importantly as citizens of one country. I am ready to respect your belief system to the extent that you respect mine. I have no desire to interfere in your belief system as long as you do not interfere in my system of belief.

To achieve and strengthen this mutual coexistence, I appeal to you as follows:

  1. Please do not come and preach to me about non-violence or kindness.

  2. As a Hindu, I worship arms and those who use arms. Learning to be violent, when necessary, is a key part of my creed. Please do not ask me to give it up.

  3. Please do not assume in front of me a holier-than-you attitude just because you do not eat meat or onions or potatoes. You may not realize it, but this is an insult to my religion and my creed. And if you do insult my religion, please do not mind if I return the compliment.

  4. Please do not preach to me about virtues of vegetarianism. You are free to be a vegetarian just as I am free to eat meat.

  5. Please do not expect me to give up eating meat for one or more days in a month or year as a mark of respect to your religion unless you are willing to reciprocate and eat meat with me on equal number of days.

  6. I kill birds and animals for food. Majority of the mankind does it. From the perspective of most people in the world, vegetarianism and puritanism of Jain variety is an aberration. It is fine if you practice it. However, please do not try to convert rest of the world to your ways. No, your way of life is neither the most evolved nor the most superior.

Hope that you will kindly take the above appeal in the right spirit!

While we are talking, may I raise an issue which in my humble opinion needs your community's urgent attention! Recently, about 100 persons died in Petlawad, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh when explosives kept in a shop exploded. Owner of the shop was a Jain. There is no doubt that he violated all norms and laws in storing explosives in his shop located in the busiest part of the town. I have not yet heard a single word of condemnation against the owner of that shop from any leaders of the Jain community.

Why do your ideals of non-violence become silent at such times?

I have raised the above issue not because I have anything against the Jain community. I raise the issue as your friend and well-wisher. It pains me to see an undercurrent of public opinion swelling up against Jains. Political parties like Shiv Sena and MNS have sensed it and are trying to exploit it to their advantage. This can be dangerous in the long run for a small community like Jains.

It is high time that the Jain community does some serious introspection.

I do not accept Jain religion or Jain philosophy or non-violence or vegetarianism. But some of my good friends are Jains and I do not want any harm to come to them. I can sense some smells in the wind, which make me worried. Hence, this humble appeal from a friend and well-wisher. Hope you do not mind and take it in the right spirit!

With best wishes and regards,

16 September 2015

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ANIL CHAWLA is an engineer and a lawyer by qualification but a philosopher by vocation and a legal and management consultant by profession.

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