Our guest speaker, Mr. Nikhil B Shah, a passionate technologist, and founder of Cilans Systems has been pioneering the use of technology for moving towards a Violence Free World. It was an amazing discussion full of facts and insights. Nikhilji made a passionate appeal with following key observations:
a) Charity begins at home:
We generally assume that all Jains adhere to a strict vegetarian diet. That is not unfortunately true. Fifth round of National Family and Health Survey (NFHS) survey revealed that more than 15% of Jain men and over 4% Jain women consume fish, chicken, and meat. Eggs are part of diet of 11% Jain men and 6.7% Jain women. This is a sad truth.
Nikhilji pointed that like one must plug the whole in the boat before removing the water, same way, we must bring changes in our community before we start preaching others.
b) The Beef Cycle:
Jain community has been pro-active in Jeev Daya and especially providing shelter to abandoned cow through panjrapoles. The amount donated to pinjrapoles is almost equal to the GDP of a small country. Despite such huge donations, we are only able to prevent a small percentage of cows from going to the slaughterhouses.
Nikhilji insisted that we must look at the root cause of this problem which is the demand supply situation. Unless we reduce the demand for dairy products, the quantum of surplus dairy cattle (male calves, bulls and non-milk yielding cows) not supported by dairy industry, and which eventually land up at slaughterhouses will continue to remain high. This exceptionally high demand for dairy has led to the growth of beef industry.
c) Communicate right messages at early age:
Eating habits get formed early in life. Many parents, though they themselves do not consume non-vegetarian diet or eggs, do not stop their children from eating eggs and meat. Fact based content backed up with medical research and observation is essential for people to take right decision regarding nutrients required and available nutrients from plant-based food products.
d) Use technology to deliver relevant and impactful messages:
Five hundred hours of videos are uploaded every minute on social media and in the same one minute 285,000 animals are killed for human triggered consumption. Use social media, short videos, and reels to highlight the violence that is happening. By using the right media, the harm and impact of our actions – whether direct or indirect – can be communicated effectively and in short span of time. Nikhilji showed several examples of how we can use infographics to spread the message effectively.
e) Communicate Mahaveer’s message to the world:
The science and rationale behind religious practices, and Lord Mahaveer’s principles – need to be communicated and told so that the young ones understand the true meaning. Once the underlying principles behind the Jain practices are understood, all Jains will be able to communicate with pride. Our knowledge and our research should not remain only in the books, it must reach the masses, Jains, or non-Jains.
Let us come together to alleviate the pain and suffering of the billions of animals around us. Let us spread the awareness about impact of violence on Global Health, Global Ecology and Global Economy. We are very tiny population in the world and this work is like swimming against Ganga. We should unite the forces in spreading the message of Mahaveer.
Taking into consideration, the immense power of prayers, the organization HINSA-MUKT VISHVA (Violence-Free World) has taken shape to pray for the innocent and helpless animals from violent treatments /atrocities with the power of combined prayers of millions of humans all over the world. Many established religions view “prayer” as a powerful tool for healing physical, mental, or spiritual challenges. By generating compassion in the hearts of all, through the collective power of our prayers to the Almighty, we will be able to help them.
Finally, like a mother who guards the life of her own child with her own life, let us embrace all lives and let us let all lives live.
She is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst. Sangeetha is a trustee of Jain Academy Educational Research Centre and under the guidance of Dr. Bipin Doshi, she founded Applied Jainism in October 2020, a social platform to collaborate and discuss contemporary issues on sustainable co-existence where the principle of Jain philosophy can guide us.