SOAS University of London

Scholarship at SOAS to advance the study of Jainism

23 November 2021
Kānjī Svāmī

We are pleased to announce the Centre of Jaina Studies is offering a second, fully funded, MPhil/PhD scholarship for the study of the Digambara Jaina Tradition with a focus on Kanji Swami.

The scholarship is generously funded by the Kanji Swami society, which supports the pioneering multipart research project on Kanji Swami at the Centre of Jaina Studies. The initiator and principal investigator of the project is Professor Peter Flügel. PhD candidate Corinne Smith is currently working on the project and completed a pilot study on the Kanji Swami society in London as part of the Jaina Oral Histories Project funded by the SOAS Knowledge Exchange Programme.

Kanji Swami (1890-1980), a Digambara Jaina lay reformer active in mid-20th century Gujarat, had much influence in India during his lifetime, attracting significant numbers of followers across the country, inspiring many to take vows of celibacy (brahmacarya) whilst still retaining the status of a householder - an indication of his overall rejection of institutionalised forms of monasticism and asceticism in favour of individual efforts to gain spiritual liberation through the self-experience of the soul (ātman). Kanji Swami has since attracted a global following with established centres in India and among diaspora communities across Australia, Belgium, Kenya, Singapore, Uganda, the UK, and the USA. 

The Kānjī Svāmī Project at SOAS aims to shed light upon the life, teaching and legacy of the Digambara Jains saint and philosopher through PhD research, the collection of memories and experiences of his followers who live in London, as well as film projects, workshops and exhibitions. The project pursues research both on the history, literature and religious culture of Kanji Swami and his followers.

The Centre of Jaina Studies invites students who approach Jaina Studies from different disciplinary backgrounds, for example, historical, philosophical, anthropological or from within the study of religions to apply. The Kanji Swami MPhil/PhD Scholarship will contribute to fees and living costs and is paid for three years.

For more information and to apply visit the Centre of Jaina Studies web pages