OneJAIN

August, 2021 by Mehool Sanghrajka

Formation of OneJAIN on 28th September 2014. This provides the Jain community with a single coherent voice in promoting the values and cause of Jainism.

Jainism is a minority religion, both in India and overseas. In the UK, it is estimated that there are some 65,000 Jains, and some 33 Jain organisations, representing approximately 0.1% of the population. It is therefore essential to be united, and with one voice, if we are to be recognised by the Government and other faiths.

Ahimsa Peace Forest – Celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s 150 Birth Anniversary

In consideration of this, on 28th September 2014, the Institute of Jainology (IOJ) held a historic meeting of the then 29 Jain organisations in the UK and proposed the creation of ‘OneJAIN’; an organisation that will represent the Jain faith in Government and inter-faith matters. This was agreed unanimously. Since then, IOJ has set up the Jain ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group’ (APPG), which has held the first debate in the UK Parliament on ‘The Contribution of Jains to the UK, annual Mahavir Janma Kalyanak celebrations in the House of Commons, and the annual Ahimsa Award – presented to those that personify compassion.

OneJAIN AWARD CEREMONY AT HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT

In the last year, due to the pandemic OneJAIN has had to play a greater coordinating role. To manage events of the past year, we have held three virtual OneJAIN conferences for all Jain Presidents and Secretaries and together organised a collaborative Paryushana and Das Lakshana, a combined response to COVID-19 and a Jain response to the Census.

Paryushana in 2020 was the first major Jain festival under lockdown, and in order to ensure that Jains could continue to celebrate and practice their faith, OneJAIN created a programme blessing all the devotees, featuring Acharyas from all Jain sects, and political and other religious leaders. We also coordinated a combined Paryushana program that meant those at home could enjoy religious events from multiple organisations.

The COVID vaccine has been a glimmer of light for humanity and in order to ensure the Jain community understood the science, we have had a number of events in various languages, featuring Jain doctors and scientists. The health videos were then expanded to cover common diseases and illnesses, and today have been viewed by an estimated 100,000 people.

This year saw the UK National Census, which provides data that is used to allocate funding for food choices and chaplaincy in hospitals, food choices and religious education in schools, crematoria and care home facilities, and cultural programming at national broadcasters, like the BBC. To ensure that Jain religion was represented, we ran a ‘Choose Other, Select Jain’ campaign that was fully supported by the Government, and hailed as a showcase campaign.

HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES AT OSHWAL DERASAR AT POTTERS BAR IN U.K WHERE
HE RECEIVED AHIMSA AWARD

These events are a small window into the benefits of unity and collaboration. We are now settled in the UK, with our fourth generations growing up here. It is important that we become part of the fabric of this society, within local and central Government, within public services and amongst other faiths. OneJAIN has been this and more. We now have a website – ‘www.onejainuk.org’, where more information about us can be found.

About Author

Mehool Sanghrajk

Mehool Sanghrajk

mehool.sanghrajka@gmail.com

For over 20 years, Mehool has been a Trustee of the Institute of Jainology, and since 2018 has been its Managing Trustee. The Institute is the umbrella body of the UK Jain community, representing its 65,000 Jains in government and inter-faith relations. The Institute adminsiters Jain All-Party Parliamentary Group in the UK Parliament, where it awards the acclaimed annual Ahimsa Award. Amongst it other projects, in 2010, the Institute launched Jainpedia.org, which now has over 1m pages viewed annually, with Prof. Nalini Balbir as Executive Editor. Mehool is Founder and CEO of Learning Possibilities, a global educational technology business.

co-edited – Ajit Nisar

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