Activist approaches NHRC against Jain couple’s monkhood move

20-09-2017
DH

Sumit Rathore (35) and his wife Anamika (34) recently announced their decision to leave behind their three-year-old daughter and renounce property "worth Rs 100 crore" to become monks under the ’Shwetambar’ (white-clad) order of their religion. Sumit had worked in London before managing his family business in Neemuch while his engineer wife Anamika was earlier employed with a mining major.

Kapil Shukla, a Neemuch-based social activist, today said he has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), MP Human Rights Commission (MPHRC), office of state Chief Minister, the district collector and superintendent of police to stop the "deeksha" (initiation) ceremony of the couple, who will be inducted into the ’Shwetambar’ order by Sudhamargi Jain Acharya Ramlal Maharaj in Surat on September 23.

Shukla contended that the couple’s decision was against the interest of their minor daughter. "Who will look after her? The Jain community should also come forward to stop the ceremony," he told reporters today. MPHRC’s ’Aayog Mitra’ (representative) in Neemuch district, Bhanu Dave, confirmed the receipt of Shukla’s petition.

"We are sending his memorandum to our Bhopal office for further action," he told PTI tonight. Meanwhile, Sumit’s cousin, Sandip Rathore, too has expressed reservations over the couple’s move to renounce the material world for spiritual pursuits, despite being bound by family duties.

"I take a vow today that I won’t stand with folded hands before pontiffs because I love my daughter, mother and father and wife very much. A sadhu’s work is to teach, not to give deeksha (vow)," Sandip said in a social media post.

When contacted, he said though renunciation was a "big deed", it should be done after accomplishing one’s duties towards family and children.

The Rathore couple is on a vow of silence until their initiation on Saturday. As per the monkhood tradition, their heads will be shaved and they will dress in white robes for their entire life, as practiced by of monks and nuns of the Shwetambar sect.

 
 


The couple will also start wearing mouth-cloths after the deeksha ceremony. The mouth cloth is worn by Jain hermits so that they do not swallow any living creature like flies or other tiny insects, even by accident while talking.

Anamika’s father Ashok Chandaliya, a former Neemuch district president of the BJP, had told PTI that he would take care of his grand-daughter Ibhya. "I am not against my daughter Anamika becoming a nun," he said. Sumit’s father Rajendra Singh, who runs a factory manufacturing gunny bags for packaging cement, had also echoed a similar view.

Sumit and Anamika had decided on the step when their daughter was just eight-months old. Sumit had announced his decision at a function attended by Acharya Ramlal at Surat last month.

"However, the pontiff asked him to seek Anamika’s permission. She not only gave her consent but also expressed desire to become a nun. Their families asked them to rethink, but the couple stood their ground," his cousin Sandip had said. He said Anamika was the first student in Neemuch district to win a gold medal in her Board examinations for class VIII.

According to a family member, Anamika did her B.E from Modi Engineering College at Laxmangarh in Sikar in Rajasthan. She had worked with Hindustan Zinc before her marriage.

Sumit holds a diploma in import-export management from a college in London. He worked there for two years before returning to Neemuch to look after his family business. Sandip had claimed that Sumit owns properties "running into Rs 100 crore".

The couple has been married for four years. Jainism emphasises on non-violence and vegetarianism and is followed by less than one per cent of the country’s total population.

Earlier this year, a Jain teenage boy from Gujarat, who had scored 99.99 percentile in class XII Commerce examination, took the vow of monkhood.

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