Thursday, September 28, 2006

Coverage of Jain woman's self-inflicted death: Santhara

Wide coverage has been given to the Jain practice of Santhara (or Sallekhana) after the death of Vimla Devi in Jaipur. Never before this practice attracted such attention.

Though magazines and the Tehelka had done features on the practice, the petition filed in the court seeking ban on Santhara and the demise of Vimla Devi, suddenly brought it under sharp focus.

Interestingly, Santhara is a regular feature in Jain dominated areas of Maharashtra, Malwa (Western Madhya Pradesh), Bundelkhand and parts of Gujarat/Karnataka but never such a 'samadhi' invited such media criticism. Only recently a Santhara occurred in Ganj Basoda (Vidisha) and in UP but none of the incidents found a passing mention in electronic media.

Seems the proximity of Jaipur to Delhi is one of the reason for the media's attention. It was long overdue and the issue had to come up before the nation someday. Though Jains may not agree but the truth is that most of those who go for this fasting unto death are older women (often considered useless for the family) and amongst men it is mostly monks who go for this form of death. Ordinary Jain males don't normally end life in this fashion. A 'santhara' raises the 'prestige' of family amongst Jains and also opens avenues of earnings if the family is not financially well-off.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Well, I am here again to share some of my special thoughts with you on a strange fact. I really wanna know what do you feel about this!

Death has no victory over life now! Sounds strange isn’t it?? Yeah! Now Jains can decide when they want to die. Well, what’s weird and wonderful is, that, Jain deaths aren't sad now else it’s a grand occasion and a time for celebration!! Santhara, a very wonderful Jain concept, is the ultimate way to expunge all sins and karma to liberate the soul from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It is the "Dharmic mahotsav" - the means to get salvation and to purify the body.

Have you heard about this practice! Do you think its good? Do share your opinion on:

Your friend,
Simran Khan

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