University of California​ establishes chair in Jain studies

The new position will also enable academic investigation of the many ways in which Jainism has been integral to South Asian and transnational religious histories.

Published: 24th November 2020 11:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th November 2020 11:07 AM   |  A+A-

A representational image of a class room.


WASHINGTON: A US university in California has established a chair in Jain studies following a generous donation of USD 1 million from three Indian-American couples.

The Bhagvan Vimalnath Endowed Chair in Jain Studies University of California, Santa Barbara will support the graduate programme, and develop and teach undergraduate and graduate courses on Jainism.

Prominent among them include exploration of Ahimsa (non-violence), Aprigraha (non-attachment/non-possessiveness) and Anekantavaad (plurality of views and beliefs) — the principles of Jainism — and their import and implication for modern society, the university said.

Students will be engaged to explore the practical significance of such principles for enduring peace, social harmony and ecological sustainability, it said.

The donation for this has come from Dr. Meera and Dr. Jasvant Modi via the Vardhamana Charitable Foundation; Rita and Dr. Narendra Parson via the Narendra and Rita Parson Family Trust; and Raksha and Harshad Shah via Shah Family Foundation, according to a statement.

"The most effective way of helping mankind, climate change and all forms of life is by spreading the principles of non-violence, giving and showing respect for all opinions.

"Support and creation of an endowed chair in Jain studies is the most effective way to achieve this goal," the donors said in a joint statement.

"UC Santa Barbara is a prestigious place and more important, it has an effective model to achieve our goals.

"This new position will make Ahimsa, Aparigraha and Anekantvad principles better known in the mainstream — and this will benefit us all," they said.

The new gift builds on prior philanthropy from the Modis and the Parsons, in partnership with the Jain Center of Southern California and the Jain Temple of Los Angeles, to establish UC Santa Barbara's Bhagvan Vimalnath Lectureship in Jain Studies and South Asian religions.

University Chancellor Henry Yang said that the establishment of the Bhagvan Vimalnath Endowed Chair in Jain Studies will help to advance Jain and South Asian studies, an exciting and increasingly important field, at UC Santa Barbara.

The new position will also enable academic investigation of the many ways in which Jainism has been integral to South Asian and transnational religious histories.

The chair holder will support and train innovative scholars in the fields of Jain studies and South Asian religions, including language instruction in Sanskrit and Prakrit, while simultaneously making UCSB the programmatic center for an emerging network of scholars in the field, the statement added.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp