9 April 2015
Influential members of the Jain community came together at SOAS, University of London last month for a lunch hosted by Director of SOAS Professor Paul Webley and a discussion on future collaboration of the Centre for Jaina Studies at the School and academic partners in India.
Jainism has approximately six million followers and London is home to the largest Jain community outside of India. Jain practitioners believe that nonviolence and self-control are the means by which they can obtain liberation.
Representatives from Gyan Sagar Science Foundation, based in India, attended the lunch and roundtable along with Jain Nuns, Samani Pratibha Pragya, who is currently studying for her PhD at SOAS, and Samani Pranava Pragya, Dr Atul Shah of the Jaina community in the UK, and the Honorary President of the Centre for Jaina Studies, Professor Emeritus J Clifford Wright.
Chair of the Centre for Jaina Studies Dr Peter Flügel said: “SOAS is one of very few institutions in the world to offer a dedicated Centre to the study of Jainism. We are therefore delighted to be bringing together leading figures and organisations from the Jain community to discuss how to enrich and further the study of this subject at the School. Our roundtable discussion provided a critical opportunity to discuss the urgent need to secure the long-term sustainability of global scholarship in Jainism in higher education and research through collaborative efforts, ideally following the example of the Numata Chairs in Buddhist Studies. We are also very grateful to the Gyan Sagar Science Foundation for the support they have provided to the Centre already and the commitments made for extended collaboration over the next years. We are extremely pleased about our increasing interaction with Jaina scholars and institutions dedicated to Jaina Studies in India.”