A Madhya Pradesh-based Jain couple has decided to embrace monkhood, abandoning their 3-year old daughter and property worth Rs 100 crore. The pair is likely one of the youngest to renounce worldly life and take up sanyas, which is usually adopted by the old.
According to a report by the Hindustan Times, 35-year-old Sumit Rathore and his wife Anamika Rathore, have decided to undergo Deeksha (the first step in the initiation into monkhood) under the auspices of Sudhamargi Jain Acharya Ramlal Maharaj in Surat, Gujarat on September 23.
Sumit’s cousin, Sandeep, who is close to him, said, “He had everything that a man wanted. Property worth around Rs 100 crore, a loving wife and a daughter. But he chose to renounce everything. We are stunned,” the HT reported quoted him as saying.
Although at first, the couple’s kin tried to dissuade them in vain, they eventually accepted their decision and the Rathores went about making plans and began living apart as far back as when their daughter Ibhya was an eight-month-old baby.
Sumit Rathore announced his decision to adopt monkhood on August 22, and Anamika followed suit.
Anamika’s father, Ashok Chandaliya, former Neemuch district president of the BJP, has come forward to take care of his granddaughter, as he made peace with the decision of his daughter and son-in-law to distance themselves from familial duties and go on a spiritual path of renunciation.
Anamika, an engineering graduate from Rajasthan’s Modi Engineering College, had been working with Hindustan Zinc before her wedding. Sumit, a businessman, had returned to Neemuch to manage the family business, after completing a diploma in import-export management from a college in London.
Even in the Jain community, it is quite unusual to see such a young couple taking such a decision. Prakash Bhandari, Secretary of Sadhumargi Jain Shravak Sangh in Neemuch, said that as far as he knew this was unprecedented.
“This is the first time that such a young couple is taking Deeksha and that too by leaving behind a daughter,” he was quoted as saying by the HT report.
Even in modern times, a large section of the Jain community in India takes its rituals seriously, including Tapasya. A 13-year old Jain girl, Aradhana Samdariya, died in October 2016 after observing a 68-day fast following the tapasya ritual, sparking widespread outrage and shedding light on the practices followed by the community. Despite the controversies, many Jain spiritual leaders have dismissed the debates by terming them as attempts to malign the community.