Sumit Rathore, a 34-year-old businessman and owner of property worth Rs 100 crore, gave it all up and took his vows as a monk today.
The 'deeksha' (initiation) ceremony was held at Vrindavan park in Surat in Gujarat under Jain monk Acharya Ramlal Ji Maharaj. The monk rechristened Sumit Rathore as Sumit Muni, reported Hindustan Times.
The Madhya Pradesh-based Jain couple - Sumit Rathore and his wife Anamika - had last week announced their decision to become monks under the 'Shwetambar' (white-clad) order of their religion and leave behind their daughter and renounce property reported to be worth Rs 100 crore.
Anamika’s initiation would be held after completion of legal formalities, said the senior monk. However, no clear reasons were given as to why her deeksha was being postponed. Just yesterday, the Gujarat child rights panel had sought a report from civil and police administration about steps taken by the Jain couple to secure their three-year-old daughter's future.
RTI activist Kapil Shukla told the Hindustan Times that he suspected the reason behind the delay in Anamika’s deeksha likely meant that it would be postponed for years, at least until the couple's daughter has grown up.
Sumit’s cousin, Sandeep Rathore, who was strongly opposed to the move, told the newspaper: “I am personally very satisfied with the postponement."
Concerned about the future of the child, a person had recently filed an RTI query with the Gujarat State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR), its chairperson Jagruti Pandya said.
"Through the RTI application, a person sought to know from us what will happen to the child if the couple became monks," she said.
Anamika, an engineering graduate from Rajasthan’s Modi Engineering College, had been working with Hindustan Zinc, a mining major, before her wedding. Sumit had returned to Neemuch to manage the family business, after completing a diploma in import-export management from a college in London.
They had been married for four years.
Sumit announced his decision to adopt monkhood on August 22, and Anamika followed suit.
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.
Anamika's father Ashok Chandaliya, a former Neemuch district president of the BJP, had last week said that he would take care of his grand-daughter. "I am not against my daughter Anamika becoming a nun," he had said.
Rajendra Singh, Sumit's father, who runs a factory manufacturing gunny bags for packaging cement, had also echoed a similar view. Sumit's cousin Sandip Rathore had earlier claimed that Sumit owns properties "running into Rs 100 crore".
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.
Even in modern times, a large section of the Jain community in India follows its rituals rigorously, 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, terming them as attempts to malign the community.
(With PTI inputs)