BENGALURU: Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan empire -- who embraced Jainism, travelled to Karnataka from present-day Bihar and died in Chandragiri Hills in Shravanabelagola. But 2,300 years later, the Jain community is struggling to get exclusive cremation grounds.
The community members have now petitioned the state government, saying they have such facilities in other parts of the country. “We don’t have dedicated cremation grounds in Bengaluru and other places in the state. We need them,” said V Prasannaiah, president of the Karnataka Jain Association.
Experts and historians said Chandragupta Maurya, after renouncing Hinduism and accepting Jainism, walked all the way from Pataliputra in Bihar to Karnataka, led by his spiritual guide Bhadrabahu, who was a Jain monk. The king died in Shravanabelagola. Chandragiri Hill is named after him.
Praveen Pandit, a Jain priest of a Jain Mandir at Wilson Garden, said, “The practices and traditions laid down by Acharya Shantisagar and written in texts mention that Jains need cremation grounds. State Minority Commission chairman Abdul Azeem said, “The commission has raised the issue with the government. I received the request from the Jain community for a cremation ground in Mandya among other places.”
Members of the Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust pointed out that the community has donated crematoriums to several communities, and also helped in the beautification of many cremation grounds by planting trees.
Jains who are less than 0.4 per cent of the population enjoy the highest per capita income. Jain International Trade Organization, past secretary, Sanjay Dhariwal said, “The community has always been a net contributor. However, even a few simple demands of giving a designated cremation ground are ignored by the government.’’