March 2018

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MAR 2017


Letter From The Co-Chairs Jai Jinendra, We’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and supporters a happy and prosperous Mahavir Janma Kalyanak! We hope all who are observing austerities are in good health and that you and your loved ones are joyous on this auspicious occasion. Our Executive Board has been working hard on a number of events and projects, such as Regional Retreats, webinars, and YJA Pathshala! Our Convention Committee has been hard at work preparing sessions, social events, and so much more for the 13th Biennial YJA Convention this July. The spring season tends to bring with it a chance to start fresh. In our day to day life, we find ourselves juggling numerous responsibilities which can sometimes lead us to momentarily forget about our personal happiness. As Jains, our practice of non-violence not only applies towards limiting harm to others, but also to ourselves. Whether it be difficult classes at school, a demanding project for your job, or even a busy extracurricular, it is important to find time to take a step back and concentrate on your well-being. In this special issue of Young Minds, you will hear from Jains around the world on what personal wellness means to them and how it has shaped their approach to the daily ups and downs of life. While these authors recount the stories from their past, take a moment to assess your wellness and how you can pursue a more balanced lifestyle. As we enter the second half of our term, the YJA Executive Board is taking a moment to reflect on our wellness while looking to the future to continue working on undertakings that allow our members to engage with Jainism on a daily basis. With the 2018 YJA Convention only three months away, we are ready take this opportunity to start fresh, get creative, and bring something new and exciting to all YJA members through projects, events, and Convention activities! We hope you enjoy this special issue of Young Minds. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope to see you sometime soon. Happy reading! With #yjalove, Siddharth Shah and Dharmi Shah Co-Chairs, 2017 - 2018


Letter From The Editor Jai Jinendra, Just as each of our journeys share common ground in Jain principles and ideals, they are also similarly complex, engaging, and at times, busy. We juggle work, school, family, and friends, seeking to practice both self-care and spend time taking care of others. Wellness means different things to you than it does to your friends and to your family, but to all of us, it requires finding and shaping balanced lives. Finding the balance between the important parts and people in our lives begins with reflection (perhaps easier said than done). Take a step away from your journey and critically examine it and yourself. What or who truly makes you happy? What would you look forward to doing even when exhausted? Wellness is multi-faceted. Financial wellness involves aligning your money with your values. In “An Organic Theory of Economics and Finance”, Professor Atul Shah shares how Jain philosophy can lead to sustainable finance and business success. Emotional wellness involves being aware of and accepting of our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. In “The Science of Inner Freedom”, Dr. Hema Pokharna shares that being in touch with one’s feelings and values can transform suffering. Sachin Doshi offers invaluable advice on addressing your mental wellbeing, especially if you find yourself with a lack of support from your family or community. As he says, “There is hope, and things can always get better.” In “Jain Pluralism for a Divided World”, Dr. Jeffrey Long describes Jainism as a hopeful alternative to an increasingly divided world. We also spoke with Dhairya Dand, an award winning inventor and artist, on his inventions that improve emotional wellbeing. Living a life in harmony with nature ranges from using such eco-friendly technologies to consuming plantbased versions of protein and dairy products, as Sunny Jain and Ashna Jain suggest. Occupational wellness is about finding a career where we are satisfied; in “Between Culture and Passion”, artist and art teacher Meghan Shah shares her journey and how you too can find your calling. Last but not least, social wellness involves building supportive connections and relationships. Whether it be at local temple events, Retreats and Conventions, and much more, you are making time for wellness. I hope that this issue provides you with hopeful and inspiring stories that will guide you towards your own journey of wellness. With #yjalove, Rachna Shah Director of Publications, 2017-18



An Organic Theory of Economics and Finance



The Science of Inner Freedom



Jain Pluralism for a Divided World



Aneknatavad . . . . 14 Journey of Ahimsa Day



Local Representative Spotlights



Education Corner: Mahavir Jayanti



MIND Your Health . . . . 22 Truth and Beauty in Technology



A Conversation with Dr. Pankaj Jain



Between Culture and Passion: Reflections of an Artist . .


A Conversation with Ro Khanna



A Conversation with Rema Rajeshwari



Health and Wellness at Convention



Fake Meat is the Future



Fake Meat Recipe



Changing Your Perspective on Cheese




An Organic Theory of Economics and Finance By: Professor Atul K. Shah

The world today is driven by economics and finance. These are also the most popular subjects taught at Universities all over the planet – millions of students learn them. Sadly, they are disguised as scientific, whereas in reality, they are deeply ideological and biased in their theories. The present human experience of inequality and climate change shows that we urgently need to revise our fundamental assumptions about economics. It is time the Jains raised their voice in this debate, for the betterment of the whole planet, as they have something fascinating to offer, which goes beyond theory to lived experience and sustained success. That is the principal thesis of our new book Jainism and Ethical Finance by Aidan Rankin and me, published by the international publishers Routledge in London and New York. According to modern theory, the aim of business and individuals is to maximise profits, income and wealth, and somehow, this will lead to equality and prosperity for all. We all know the reality is that a few corporations have become very large, powerful and profitable, and jobs and incomes have suffered significantly as a result. In contrast, the Jains have had a non-materialistic view of the world and a philosophy which embraces respect for all living beings. The whole purpose of business is not to profit and exploit, but to fulfill and serve. Purpose and meaning are central to the lives of all human beings, and focusing on money and wealth betrays both the individual and the whole of community and society.


Our book has several chapters which explain success is always shared, and entrepreneurs Jain philosophy and ethics to a diverse are kept rooted rather than made distant from audience and also showcase how these people and nature. principles have been applied in business and .... personal lives, with real-life case studies. The book explores the Jain philosophy in depth, explaining principles like Aparigraha, which show the problems of attachment to money and material objects, and greed therefore becoming a form of violence against others. To a novice, connecting religion and economics may appear unscientific, fundamentalist even, but the truth is that throughout human history, money has been linked to faith, as trust is central to its acceptance and respectability. As a result, we must reconnect finance with faith, instead of pretending its irrelevance. We have all heard about organic food, but what about organic business? Here, we do not expand a business just because of profit opportunities, but we grow it in accordance with our capacity and ability to manage. This is antithetical to modern business education, where loans should be used extensively to expand and grow for the pursuit of profit and power. Even today, Jains are much more prudent, and as a result, continue to obtain sustainable success in business. Hence the book offers an organic theory of business growth, which is in harmony with animals and the environment, and the results are there for all of us to see as Jains have sustained their wealth and businesses over multiple generations. Their business approach has a strong relationship and humane element, which helps them to build lasting networks and trust. The central role of the community ensures that


Professor Atul K. Shah is founder of Young Jains, and teaches at the University of Suffolk Business School in UK. Further details and testimonials of the book are here. It is available worldwide on Amazon.

The Science of Inner Freedom By: Dr. Hema Pokharna Upon completing my Ph.D. program, I received a postdoctoral fellowship at Case Western Reserve University where I was to work on a research hypothesis I had designed as a graduate student. I was very excited about the project, and I had the good fortune to collaborate with a skillful biochemist and excellent researcher whose guidance I had very much wanted. Yet in one of our discussions, he became so frustrated that he said, “Are you sure you have a Ph.D.? You don’t seem to be bright.” I felt very sad and scared, because up until then, I was considered to be a good scientist and productive researcher. My identity was in jeopardy. In that moment, I considered myself a failure, since he was a very well renowned scientist. His words were the truth to me, and it was very painful to hear them. Yet after spending three hours crying and breathing, I returned to his office, renewed with compassion. “Can I spend a few moments in your luminous presence so that I can brighten myself?” I asked.


By then, I think he was aware of what had happened and was very kind to me thereafter. Toward the end of the fellowship, we had published three papers together, and my continued association with him has meant a great deal to me. After that day, my “Ph.D” stood for “Psychologically healthy and Delightful.”

Connecting with one’s self means connecting with our inner wisdom— being congruent with our own feelings and values. Hippocrates has said that the natural force within each one of us is the greatest healer of disease. One of the ancient techniques of getting in touch with our inner wisdom is meditation. This involves a systematic practice of mental habits that reduce painful mind states, encouraging us to What had changed? The time I spent breathing exchange anger for forgiveness, fear for love, and crying allowed me to react with freshness, and curse for blessing. taking time to remove any prejudice and restriction. This, to me, was meditation in Ahimsa paramo dharma: “Nonviolence is the its own form. Making time to meditate on supreme religion.” Mahatma Gandhi adopted a regular basis as a consistent practice has this Jain motto, bringing much healing to the made it easy for me to take time in moments world. We must endeavor to practice ahimsa of conflict and confusion. to the best of our abilities and understand it through our own experiences. At that time, I found and understood that the best antidote to any violence is to breathe. I grew up in an environment with the best of This has been one of the most exciting and Jainism, Christianity and Hinduism. When I major turning points in my development. In came to the US, none of the teachings at first those three hours of breathing, I was aware seemed to apply to my day-to-day life. I had of the suffering caused by unmindful speech to feel my way through explosive situations, and the inability to listen. I affirmed my own and out of these experiences I became more conviction to cultivate loving speech and deep and more convinced of the healing power and listening in order to bring joy and happiness to usefulness of nonviolence— ahimsa. my fellow beings and to relieve them of their Bhagwan Mahavir was deep in meditation. sufferings if possible. After understanding that His closed eyes radiated an extraordinary words can create happiness or suffering, I am serenity. A bird flew in the room and sat close now much more conscious of learning ways to to him. When he opened his eyes, the bird got speak truthfully with words that inspire selffrightened and flew away. confidence, joy, and hope. Lord Mahavir taught us that violence is Jainism’s paramount emphasis is on inner inherent in the very opening of the human peace, self-discipline, and nonviolent ways of eye. Nonviolence, or ahimsa, is not only the life in action, speech, and thought. It believes absence of violence; it is also the lack of fear that a core wisdom, an inner knowing, is and the presence of an all-embracing love for inherent to human nature. According to Jain life and all that supports life. Nonviolence does teachings, violence and suffering are the result not mean not to hurt anyone; rather, it is about of disconnectedness from the knowledge of building our innate capacity for compassion, who we are.


peace, equanimity, forgiveness, truthfulness, renunciation, and non-attachment. As practitioners of Jainism and nonviolence, one of our greatest powers is the choice not to react. As psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl said, “between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. There lies our growth and our freedom.” One way is through sitting still. This approach has been advocated since ancient times. Buddha sat still under a tree. Jesus sat still in a garden. Mohammed sat sit in a cave. Gandhi and King and thousands of others have brought sitting still to perfection as a powerful tool of social change. Beautiful things might happen if enough people did this on a regular basis, making it a way of living. If we want a peaceful world, we must start with becoming peaceful ourselves.

Dr. Hema Pokharna is a Certified Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Trainer. As an Executive Coach and Consultant she works with leaders and their teams to improve personal and organizational collaborative ​​ leadership.​H ​ ema is also an interfaith peacemaker and mediator, and has served on the board of Parliament of World Religions, Play for peace and presently serves on the board of Council of Religious Leaders of Chicago​and also on JSMC and the JAINA Interfaith Committee. Email: Webpage:

Jain Pluralism for a Divided World By: Dr. Jeffery Long


A Dangerous Situation

with it, the prospects for our survival.

One of the most urgent problems facing humanity today is the ongoing clash and general mood of divisiveness among people of differing worldviews and faith commitments. Particularly on social media, one quickly becomes aware that any conversation on topics relating to deeply held views, whether the subject is religion or politics or some other aspect of life, is likely to devolve into the cyberspace equivalent of a shouting match, with people condemning entire communities and belief systems in the strongest and harshest possible language. There is no room for moderation in these conversations– no space for saying, for example, that it is impossible to generalize about an entire community and about traditions that are centuries old–for such moderation is taken to be a sign of compromise with the other side (whatever it may be). And that other side is taken to be not only mistaken, but evil.

Hope for the Future in Indian Philosophy

climate change become increasingly serious, the more important it will be for people of different cultures and belief systems to work together for our shared survival. This would be a daunting challenge in even the best of times. But if we have already decided that we hate one another even before the worst stresses of the planetary situation befall us, the likelihood that we will pull together as one human species becomes less and less–and

The adherents of the various darshanas, or systems of Indian philosophy, argued, in ancient times, almost as fiercely as we do on social media today. The followers of each system believed deeply that their system communicated the highest truths of existence.

All, however, is not yet lost. For all of our flaws, we are a clever species. We still possess many intellectual resources that can enable us to survive the twenty-first century. In addition to our skills in the realms of science and technology, which will be essential to resolving, or at least mitigating, the effects of the disaster we have created, the ancient wisdom of India, and of the Jain tradition in particular, has something to offer us in our shared struggle.

Hovering behind all of the angry and divisive conversation is an assumption that many have begun to take for granted in today’s world. This is the assumption that, given two alternative truth claims, only one can be true. Either I am right and you are wrong (if you disagree with me), or I am wrong and you are right. And I can never be wrong. (The words “I’m sorry” or “Pardon me, I was wrong about that,” are This state of affairs is not only sad, but extremely difficult to find in anyone’s social dangerous. When taken in tandem with media feed.) another especially urgent problem that humanity faces–the problem of climate Is this, however, the only way to think change–it could well lead to the death of the about truth? The long history of the Indian human species. The scarcer the resources philosophical tradition suggests another of our planet become, as the effects of alternative.

Several important differences, however, exist between the debates of the traditional Indian thinkers and today’s debates. For one, the


standards of logical argumentation were far more rigorous. In order for one’s argument to be regarded as valid, or even as worthy of debating, one had to adhere to a shared system of rules and to apply these rules consistently. One also had to be in possession of a deep and wide knowledge base, understanding not only the intricacies of one’s own view, but those of one’s opponents as well. It was not enough simply to fling insults at the other, or to make insinuations. One had to present a detailed argument demonstrating the flaws in the positions of one’s opponents. A better comparison than bickering on social media would be between traditional Indian philosophy and the presentation of a legal case by an attorney, or the advancement of a new theory by a researcher contributing an article to a science journal. Indian philosophical debate, in short, was serious work.

schools in an ascending order, concluding with the siddhanta, or perfected end of philosophy, represented by his own school of thought. Or he might present the views of his own school first, and then give the views of the other systems in descending order.

Another important difference, though, had to do with the assumption that only view can be true: that the only alternatives in debate are “true” and “false.”

The Jain Contribution to Pluralism

Traditional Indian philosophers often compiled doxographies, or texts which present the views of many different schools of thought. Often, these views would be presented in an order reflecting the degree of truth which the author found reflected in their perspective. The author might start with a view he found deeply flawed (usually that of the Lokayata, or Materialist school of thought, which all other systems of philosophy rejected). He would then present the views of other


In short, the ancient Indians did not view their schools of thought as simply true or false. A school of thought could be ‘more true’ or ‘less true’ than another. The truth of a worldview admitted of degrees. It was not that one’s own view was simply true and everyone else was wrong (as we too often tend to think today). One’s own view was the most true, and the others were less so. Even the least true view still had some truth in it. The materialists, for example, accurately described the world of material phenomena, even if they were seeing as wrong in denying a spiritual reality.

One of the most sophisticated and best developed theoretical models of this idea of degrees of truth was developed in the Jain system of philosophy. According to a Jain understanding, reality is not something that can be described simplistically. It is anekanta. That is, it is complex. It is multi-faceted. It therefore lends itself to being seen from multiple perspectives, or nayas. Each of these nayas is a valid way of perceiving reality. If this is the case, then the best way for us to express truth is to use the word syat– that is, to say something is true, not simply or absolutely, but from a certain point of

of view. The views of different schools of philosophy can be reconciled using this way of thinking. The perspective of one system of thought can be seen as true and valid, from a certain point of view–when looking at a particular facet of reality that has become the focus of the attention of that school of thought. But the perspective of another, contrary system of thought, can also be seen as true and valid from another point of view–when looking at a different facet of the total, complex reality that we all experience. This way of thinking fits very well with the Jain ethos of ahimsa, or nonviolence, and is even seen by some Jain thinkers as a form of ‘intellectual ahimsa.’ It also fits with the Jain teaching that all beings possess jiva, or spirit, which is characterized by infinite consciousness. The perspectives of all of us are partial and obscured, so long as we are not enlightened. But they also each contain and arise from a facet of the infinite knowledge–kevala jñana–that is our highest potential.

philosophy can contribute to a more nonviolent mode of communication, just as the Jain commitment to ahimsa has already contributed to the practice of vegetarianism, and to conceptualizing a more compassionate and sustainable relationship between human beings and our natural environment. ... Dr. Jeffery Long is a Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College, where he teaches the department’s courses on Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism (Dharma Traditions), as well as a first-year seminar on Star Wars and Asian philosophy, Sanskrit, and Comparative Theology and Interfaith Engagement. He is the author of three books and a wide array of articles on Hinduism, Indian philosophy, and religious pluralism , and a Consulting Editor for Sutra Journal . In addition to his academic and spiritual interests, he is an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy and classic rock. He also likes cats.

Conclusion In talking with others, therefore, and in engaging with different views, our aim should not be to show that the other is wrong, but to draw out the grain of truth, the kernel of insight, in all views. Only then can we work together for a better world. With its logic of the multi-faceted, anekanta nature of reality, Jain


The Importance of Anekantavada By: Anshumi Jhaveri As a young Jain that attends Gyanshala on a regular basis, I have learnt and truly taken away some core Jain principles into my daily life. One principle integrated into almost everything in my life is Anekantvada. In simple terms, Anekantvada states that everyone has different opinions and views things from different perspectives. We must respect all viewpoints for no single point of view is the complete and absolute truth. This ideology can be implemented into almost every situation. In a day such as ours where battles over faith and beliefs take place frequently, Jainism teaches us to respect everyone’s opinion while maintaining a strong level of respect and confidence in our own. We may have had to stop and explain our beliefs to those who do not know of them, and those same people may not agree with what we believe in. However, we refrain ourselves in engaging in battles about beliefs and faith as Anekantvada has taught us to see the world through different lenses.

decision to practice vegetarianism because our faith believes in non-violence, but we understand that they have not made this lifestyle choice, and we will not think of them as lesser humans for it. Anekantvada also teaches us that the truth can be reached in a multitude of different ways. The New World Encyclopedia has shown that Jain doctrines state “objects have infinite modes of existence and qualities so they cannot be completely grasped in all aspects and manifestations by finite human perception.” Only the Kevalins, as omniscient beings, are able to comprehend knowledge of all subjects; all other beings are only capable of partial knowledge.

In the teachings of Jainism, there are many different stories which can show us how Anekantvada is put into place in the world. One example of this story is the “Maxim of the Blind Men and the Elephant.” There were three blind men who came across the paths of an elephant. In this particular story, all three of the For example, being Jain first and foremost men felt the elephant. However, one man means to engage in no acts of violence. felt its ears, another his tail, and the last One way we practice non-violence is by his trunk. All three men claimed to know being vegetarian or vegan. Many people the true appearance of the elephant but cannot understand why we do not consume each man could only partly succeed, meat and/or dairy, and they question this due to their narrow viewpoints. This lifestyle choice of ours. Our principle of example of Anekantvada is so simple yet Anekantvada can help us explain to them so meaningful. An elephant can show us in this situation that we have made our how everyone is viewing different things in


the universe from different locations and situations. Everyone has a different story to share which will lead toward the whole truth. However, this whole truth cannot be reached without multitudes of different people and their mindsets. For example, I have seen that in the modern world where social media runs the lives of the people, many rumors can be spread. Different people know different things, and when all these heads come together and share their perspectives, we are able to figure out the whole story.

It teaches us to realize truth in its fullest and most pure form. The reason it may be hard to follow the principle of Anekantvada is because as humans, we are naturally stubborn. It may be impossible to practice this 100 percent of the time, but the more we try, the better the quality of our minds and our lives will be. Implementing the principle of Anekantvada leads to a happier world with more peace.

Anekantvada can cater to people of any faith and teach them to respect and consider the viewpoints of people they may consider as their rivals. This concept comes into play when faith and religion is being discussed, and it can help to be the founding factor of how people can come to peace and come to terms with one another over unsettled arguments and different opinions. Gandhi Ji stated that he knows we are all right from different viewpoints, and that we judge people based off of their circumstances or situations, and we love all because we can see ourselves from their standpoints as well as our own. From these simple and powerful words, we can understand that this principle of Anekantvada teach lessons beyond our faith. Anekantvada shows us the right path and helps us comprehend why everyone’s viewpoint matters and though they may be different, they lead to one truth.


The Journey of Ahimsa Day By: Bansri Mehta Not just violent actions, but also violent thoughts and words are believed to cause himsa, or harm. For Jains, ahimsa is a core and essential principle to be followed, and one necessary for ultimate liberation. This fundamental doctrine has been celebrated in the British Jain calendar annually since 2002. The Institute of Jainology (IoJ), a non-sectarian organisation founded in 1983 to represent Jainism in the U.K., conceived this festival to raise awareness of Jains in the UK and publicly identify Jainism with Ahimsa. The celebration of Ahimsa Day in the U.K. is not held at a religious place, but usually takes place in the Palace of Westminster, the House of Commons of the U.K. in London.

of Parliament expanded in 2006 to include a segment to honour a particular individual that embodies and promotes the principles of Ahimsa through their work and activities. Selected by the IoJ Board annually, past recipients include His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, humanitarian Scott Neeson and many more.

This year’s recipient of the IoJ Ahimsa Award, Mr Ravinder Singh, was selected for his Outstanding Humanitarian Service as the founder of Khalsa Aid, an organisation that has provided the world selfless service and universal love in its international emergency relief missions. The organisation was established after Mr Ravinder Singh and a group of people The event involves Members of decided to provide food and shelter Parliament, especially those with large to refugees and victims of the war in Jain communities in their constituencies, Yugoslavia. From then to the Andamans to speak and debate. This underlines the after the tsunami in 2004, Haiti in 2010, recognition of Jainism as a faith by the Kashmir in 2014, to Nepal in 2015, Khalsa British political establishment and the Aid has worked tirelessly to collate and desire of the Jain community to reach provide aid. The organisation’s breadth and non-Jains. The speakers include social reach to areas of natural, environmental activists and people working in the fields disasters, and wars has included assistance of education, environment and more. to people from all races, cultures and They cover the concepts of non-violence nationalities. Khalsa Aid has worked with and compassion and discuss their own Yazidi survivors of ISIS persecution in activities, showing how they are relevant to Iraq, refugees fleeing the violence of the the development of these Jain principles. Syrian civil war in Lebanon, and victims The annual celebration at the Houses of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria. The


In 2016, Mr Rajendra Singh – the ‘Waterman of India’ was selected as the recipient of the ‘IoJ Ahimsa Award’. His environmental activism has restored the ‘water table’ in many parts of India. He firmly upholds the principle that if you take care of the earth, it will take care of you. HH The Dalai Lama was awarded the ‘IoJ Ahimsa Award’ in recognition of his lifelong spiritual devotion, scholastic successes and visionary achievements as a leader. In 2015, HRH The Prince of Wales was awarded a special 25th Anniversary ‘IoJ Ahimsa Award’ to celebrate the organisation’s existence and successes for the past 25 years. The Award was for the Prince’s many years of emphasis on the critical importance of taking better care of our interconnected and increasingly fragile world, his championing of the natural environment, unwavering appeal for action for a sustainable future and acceptance of religious diversity. World-renowned humanitarians, environmentalists, scholars, social and spiritual activists all form a long line of winners of the ‘IoJ Ahimsa Award’. The celebration of Ahimsa Day in the U.K. has not only raised the faith’s awareness amongst the local population, but also allowed for a presence in Parliament, and at national and international events paving the way for a recognized, effective Jain voice and presence to make a difference in British society.


Local Representative Spotlights Ritika Bais (South) Hometown: Dallas, TX As a high school senior, I’ve been making a lot of decisions about my future lately: my future college, my future career, my future friends, etc. It can be overwhelming to decide the path to the rest of your life in a mere few seconds, but I’ve noticed that keeping Jainism in mind has helped me in this process. Jainism can be practiced anywhere, but I personally wanted a college where I would be able to talk to other Jains freely to further my growth. When I go to college, I not only hope to make strong connections with other Jains, but also practice Ahimsa and especially Anekantvad in my experiences. Following that, one of the main goals I have for this year is to learn to make more of my own food so I can incorporate more vegan and Jain elements in my diet. I also want to take a more active role in the YJA community as I enter college, and my hope is to eventually see and help YJA spread education and community in college chapters across the country. With this goal, YJA in the future could not only help connect Jains in America to their roots, but also allow Indian-America youth to spread modern Jainism values to places like India and connect more to the world.

Hetali Lodaya (Midwest) Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI YJA gets bigger and better every year. As we grow our skills as leaders and find new and different ways to use tools and technology to expand our reach, we connect with more and more Jain youth and bring them into the fold. That’s the future - even more Jain youth who find value in YJA and say that it helps them give meaning to their religion, see a path for themselves as leaders in the Jain community, and make some of their closest friends. I want to do education law, but that’s basically all I know - I have no idea where I’ll end up or what exactly I’ll be doing, and as they have in my life up until now, Jainism’s core principles will be on my mind when I’m making the most important decisions. Am I furthering compassion in the world? Am I considering others’ viewpoints? How can I help create opportunities for others? I know my YJA friends will help me figure it out as well. I won’t have answers to all that by the end of the year, but hopefully I’ll be further along!


Deesha Ajmera (Mid-Atlantic) Hometown: Ashton, Maryland YJA is a national community that brings Jain youth together and empowers them. I am proud to be a part of this community and hope that in years to come I will look at YJA and see more and more kids joining this close knit family, because it gives you everlasting friends and memories. Jainism has always been an influential and important factor in my life, and as I approach my senior year and apply to college, I hope that it will continue to guide me to make the right decisions and stay true to my roots. I am beyond excited to go to the Chicago convention and not only meet new people and develop more connections, but to also take away information and lifestyle changes from amazing sessions. By the end of this year, I hope to maintain a modern Jain lifestyle and implement my religion into important future decisions (college ahh!!).

Akshay Madhani (West) Hometown: San Jose, CA The Jain community, whether through YJA or my local sangh of JCNC, has always given me the best memories, acted as a family, and provided guidance for my future. For the past few years, Jainism has taken a larger role in my day-to-day lifestyle as I continue to resolve my ethical leanings with modern society. The knowledge I continue to gain from the Jain community astounds me and has helped me guide decisions on career choices, diet, and much more. I look forward to using YJA as a space to have important discussions and expand people’s perspectives on life and religion. The power of guidance from a family like YJA motivates me as an LR and hopefully will also inspire others! I’m looking forward to pairing these experiences with some Codeword sessions, extreme sleep deprivation, and new lifelong friendships at Chicago this summer!

Virag Vora (Northeast) Hometown: Foxboro, MA I have been involved with YJA for several years now, and as I get older, I begin to see the significance of the organization, and it’s members. I see YJA’s future as one that empowers young Jains to get more involved in maintaining and preserving Jain practices both in our spiritual and physical spaces. I hope to pursue a career that allows me to create the most good I can, without harming other beings. In today’s world, it may seem difficult to adhere to Jain principles, but even the smallest of actions can have a large impact. As the year progresses, I hope to become independent in my ability to practice Jain rituals. Also, I can’t wait to learn from others at the 2018 Convention, see you in July!


Hannah Shah (Southeast) Hometown: Jacksonville, FL Young Jains of America is a network for minds to connect and redefine the future of Jainism in America, while keeping the core values intact. YJA serves as platform that encourages individual growth and strives to fuse Jain ideals and values into an “American� lifestyle. As a college student (GO GATORS!!!!) pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and on the Pre-PA track, there are many instances where Jainism in the daily life is a testament of faith. Jainism guides me to make the right choices on a personal level because I firmly believe that no one person is more Jain than another. Personally, it is not about the strict rules or memorization of the sutras based on scriptures, instead it is about how the morals and foundations of Jainism leave a lasting impact on the decisions I choose to make in life. For 2018, my goal is to implement a creative diet during the week of Paryushan instead of not participating at all.

Event Spotlight: Ann Arbor Interfaith Discussion


Education Corner By: Saagar Shah

Jai Jinendra! Today is Mahavir Jayanti, also known as Mahavir Janma Kalaynak, which is one of the most auspicious days of the year because it marks the birth (Janma) anniversary of our 24th Tirthankar, Mahavir Swami. He was born on the 13th day of the bright-half moon of the month of Chaitra (around March-April) in the year 599 B.C. to King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala, in the city of Kshatriya Kund. Prior to his birth, Queen Trishala saw 14 auspicious dreams (16 according to Digambar tradition) that indicated several qualities of the Tirthankar. Jains use this day to remember and worship the life and teachings of Bhagvan Mahavir and all the other Tirthankars. Though Mahavir Swami faced many adversities during his monkhood, he was famous for always displaying love and compassion while following the principle of Ahimsa throughout his ordeals. A big example of this was during his incident with the violent snake, Chandkaushik. Chandkaushik, angered that Mahavir Swami decided to meditate in his forest, spewed venom on Mahavir Swami and even bit his toe after. Instead of being angered by this sudden aggression towards him, Mahavir Swami calmed down and forgave Chandkaushik. Because Mahavir Swami’s words were filled with such love and compassion, Chandkaushik obtained Jatismaran Gyan (knowledge of past lives) and realized how destructive anger is. Ultimately, what this incident has taught us is that we should always display love and compassion while getting rid of anger in the face of adversity. Jains celebrate this day with great sincerity and devotion. Some Jains, in keeping with the austere nature of Jainism, hold quiet celebrations and often go to the temple or various other pilgrimage sites on this day. Others have grand processions by decorating temples and holding elaborate worship rituals. Altogether, this is a day for Jains to remember and worship the teachings of Mahavir Swami.


What to Do When Your Parents Don’t Understand Your Mental Health By: Sachin Doshi Three years ago, I started working for a nonprofit called Mental Health America (MHA). I had almost no experience with the field of mental health and, in fact, I’d only landed the job as a result of a grueling 7-month job search after I decided I no longer wanted to go to medical school. I felt lost, isolated, lonely, and worthless. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you fall into one of two categories – you’re unsure about why you’ve been struggling lately, or you know you’re having mental health concerns but don’t know what to do about them. Instead of diving into my own story, I want to show you how to turn awareness into action by sharing some steps that you can take to address your mental wellbeing if you find yourself in a less-than-ideal family or community situation, as so many of us do. There is hope, and things can always get better.

conditions can look as simple as losing interest in the things you used to enjoy, or having trouble sleeping or keeping worrying under control. When we treat diseases like cancer or heart disease, we start way before Stage 4 – we take steps to prevent them, to identify their symptoms early, and to treat them with a goal of reversing the condition and helping you achieve recovery. But as a society, we don’t do the same for mental health concerns. We wait until they’re incredibly serious and potentially life-threatening. Having depression does not need to mean you want to take your own life. Having anxiety does not need to mean you have panic attacks when leaving your house. By learning about and catching mental health concerns regularly, when you aren’t in crisis, you can keep your mind just as healthy as your body.

Regardless of whether or not you think your feelings are expected reactions to a specific stressor in your life or signs of an underlying mental health condition, if they are causing you any pain, worry, or otherwise disrupting your daily life, it is always a good idea to address them as soon as possible. I know it’s scary to think about what you’re experiencing as a “mental health issue”, but it’s important to remember that the earliest signs of these

One of the quickest ways you can monitor your mental health is by taking a mental health screening online. In the same way that you get an annual checkup with your doctor, you should consider a regular mental health screening part of your routine healthcare. Taking a screen is free, anonymous, confidential, and takes as little as 5 minutes. MHA works with universities, researchers, and other groups to offer screens for depression, anxiety,


eating disorders, PTSD, bipolar disorder, psychosis, alcohol or substance use at Screens are meant to be a starting point for you to learn more or take action about your mental health, and you can decide what you do with the results. For example, taking your positive screening results to a family doctor is an excellent way to start a conversation and discuss how best to address your concerns, including finding a mental health professional if that is feasible for your situation. Just be aware that your parents can request access to your medical record if you are under 18. Screens are also a great way to confirm or deny questions you might be having about the way you feel. For example, if you think you may have bipolar disorder and screen negative for it, chances are that there may be alternative causes for the way you feel. At the same time, screening negative does not definitively mean that you don’t have bipolar disorder. Learning more about any of this can be stressful – the resources you find can be hard to understand or sound like you’re reading a textbook. That’s why MHA is developing Screening-to-Supports, a new beta site where you can learn more about mental health concerns in plain language, without having to deal with medical terminology. Often, our articles are written by people who have been where you are now, with the intention of helping you in your journey to getting better. In particular, if you’re not sure how

to discuss your concerns with someone else, I strongly encourage you to read a quick step-by-step guide by clicking here. It’s equally applicable whether you’re struggling with your mental health, with alcohol or drug abuse, or both. One of the many articles on the Screeningto-Supports site. It can be hard to figure out who you are comfortable approaching about your concerns. If you are unsure who to turn to, remember that your support network can be larger than you think. It can be difficult to come to your parents, because often they don’t know how to respond to changes in your behavior or to your attempts to start a conversation. You might be met with unhelpfulness, dismissal, denial, or even hostility. Sometimes the right people to talk to aren’t the most obvious. Consider confiding in a neighbor who is close to the family or reconnecting with old childhood friends who have known you for years. Reach out to your extended family members or talk to your siblings – you might be surprised to find out they can relate. Starting this conversation with anyone can be difficult, but there is a good chance the other person can relate to what you are going through or just be there to listen. Your school is also a good resource. Teachers, professors, coaches, and friends are great places to start. In fact, I credit my biochemistry professor for helping me reorganize my life after I opened up to him


about my struggles. If you have a school counselor, make a quick appointment and let them know what’s been on your mind. If you’re in college, your campus may have free or low-cost counseling services available for students. I would recommend looking into them before stresses begin to pile up. Although they may have their limits, they really can be a useful resource. Just keep in mind that it can take a few meetings to get a sense of whether a specific counselor is a good fit for you. Be sure to verify their confidentiality procedures if that is a concern for you. Unfortunately, seeking professional help – while never a sign of weakness – isn’t always an option when you grow up in a South Asian household, especially if you’re on your parents’ health insurance. Consider finding and posting in an online community that can offer what we call “peer support” – connections to people who have experienced what you’re going through. MHA has started gathering some at our growing Connect hub, but chances are you can find plenty of other groups on your own. I’m personally a fan of the depression subreddit at depression. These are just a few of the many excellent, anonymous, supportive, non-judgmental communities that would love to hear your voice. Dealing with mental health concerns isn’t easy, and the families and communities we grow up in can make this worse even when they mean well. By learning other strategies for monitoring and improving your mental health, you can take back


control of your life. The resources and tips I’ve listed here are just a few of the options available to you, and you should consider this as more of a starting point. Just remember that the earlier you notice warning signs and act on them, the less likely they are to affect your life.

Truth and Beauty in Technology With: Dhairya Dand What memories specifically stand out in your journey from your childhood to where you are today? I grew up in Nasik to a dad who was a plumber and a mom who was deeply interested in mythologies. My curiosity has led me to keep moving and live in several countries across continents, to dabble into new unknown fields, and to collaborate with interesting people even though I’ve no idea of the work they do, all with the conviction that if you put in the work - it’ll happen. How have your projects worked to improve the journey of emotional and mental wellbeing? SuperShoes came from my personal experience growing up in a rather rural part of India; there were no paved pathways - but you would walk and make your own road. But then I started moving and living in busy cities where cities are made of grids. SuperShoes was about bringing this joy of wandering and wondering that I had growing up back into these busy concrete grids of cities I live in. Lovotics has an emotional memory of how you have interacted with it in the past both your words and your actions - which influences its current and future feelings towards you. So, in a way it’s somewhere on the spectrum between a partner and a pet. EmoTweet was a bunch of flowers which would bloom or droop physically depending on how your relationship is going on with an individual who matters to you. One glance at this garden of flowers and you know how your social world is going on.


Currently, I’m working on a wrist watch that uses modified bacteria to represent time. The bacteria DNA is altered so it changes colors as time goes by and the bacteria lives for exactly 24 hours. So you experience time through color change of an organism on your wrist - it’s a take on mortality, death and mindfulness.

know that my work is done?

What is the favorite lesson that you’ve learned in your journey for truth and beauty? The purpose of my work is to find truth and beauty. The way I see it, I don’t start with an idea for a product or an invention - I start with an area that I’m curious about or touched by an experience I’ve had or a way to work through some emotion - and the product/invention is only a byproduct of that search for truth.

Are there any specific obstacles or challenges that you would like to address that you have faced? When it comes to inventing, nothing is for certain. You could spend a decade on a problem working with the brightest minds and nothing could come out of it. And given this unknown, having other smart people believe in the vision and give their time - sometimes years of their life -- and having investors continue to commit.

It is very demanding in the sense that it requires you to uphold yourself to a much higher standard, to be able to accept your own flawed existence and still plough through. And beauty is intricately related to truth. When you ask yourself when do I


The answer is that in your journey for finding truth when the truth looks like beauty - when you can’t subtract or add anything to it - when it is elegant the way it is - that is precisely when you know the work is done.

But over the years I have learnt to take this uncertainty and realize that it’s not something to freak out about, but appreciate it as part of this lifestyle.

A Conversation with Dr. Pankaj Jain The journey back home can also be interpreted as the journey to one’s ethnic and ancestral heritage: to India. As young Indians and Jains in North America, we are cognizant of our culture entering mainstream conversatxions and media. We recently talked with Dr. Pankaj Jain, an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas, about his journey, the journey of Indian American civil rights, and what India and Jainism can teach the world.

University and did my Master’s in Religion, which I finished in 2003, and I applied for my Ph.D., which I finished in 2008.

How did your journey into Indian studies begin? I was born in Pali, a small town in Rajasthan near one of the main Shwetambar Jain centers of India. My grandmother was the most staunch follower of Jainism I know; she wouldn’t even drink a drop of water before visiting the temple. My mother and father are also practitioners of Jainism and Hinduism who have been doing rituals all their life. In school, I studied Indian history and languages. While I studied computer science in my undergraduate years, just before leaving India, I plunged into the religious heritage of India. That really changed my life. When I came to the United States in 1996, I was looking for an avenue to go deeper into Indian history and heritage. In 2002, I left my IT career and became a student of Indian culture, history, and philosophy. I went to Columbia

You’ve been leading a local initiative to have Diwali recognized as an official school holiday. Why is this so important? Being a part of two cultures—living in India for the first part of my life and now in the USA for the last two decades— continue to motivate me to share our culture widely. Wherever our culture is not being portrayed properly or not being portrayed sufficiently, I make sure to do my part.

As a citizen of the United States, I consider myself a cultural ambassador of Indian heritage. I always love to share my culture with a wider American population. Today, as a tenured professor of Religious Studies, I spread knowledge and awareness about the philosophies of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism wherever possible.


movement to have the school board declare Diwali as an annual holiday. One of my boys is a senior in high school and the other is in fifth grade. In the Coppell school district, 45% of the students are of Asian heritage. We are the largest ethnic group in Coppell ISD, but we have no recognition for Diwali. We are requesting the school board for Diwali to be given equal treatment to Christmas and Good Friday.

heritage must be at least one million. It’s thus the question of the heritage of one million students who right now have no proper acknowledgement or portrayal in textbooks or in the media. We want to press on these issues so that the next generation of our communities in this country feel equally proud of their heritage and culture.

What are your thoughts on the portrayal of Indian culture by the media? Even though America is officially a secular CNN’s Believer (2017) is one extremely country, only Christmas is officially a disturbing and problematic show. It federal holiday. In India, holidays are began by showing Hindus eating the dead granted for Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, bodies of other humans in India, which and Christian holidays. America should really disturbed the Hindu diaspora in give equal respect to all religions or not this country. A petition was raised with give any religious holidays at all. Indian 21,000 signatures to stop the show. This students should feel that their culture gets is just one example where the media has equal respect from their schools. sensationalized our culture. Indian culture should be portrayed properly so that kids Our online petition, started back in growing up in elementary schools don’t August, has gathered over 1,600 signatures. feel ashamed to say that they have Jain, It has been covered by local newspapers Hindu, or Indian heritage because of and we have had several meetings with stereotypes associated with them. school board administrators. Neighboring districts have also taken up the issue; What advice would you offer for young the Frisco School District’s petition has Jains today? gathered almost 1,000 signatures. Diwali is Young Jains have to be proud of their great already a holiday in many school districts heritage. One major aspect is anekantavad, in Northeast states, such as New York, New where all viewpoints are of equal Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. importance; we must listen to and respect each other. Aparigraha is also an important People are becoming aware of this issue, idea: cutting down consumption and in the same way all other minority groups never wasting. The story of nonviolence in this country have campaigned for civil is highlighted by: [Tirthankar] Mahavir, rights. Diwali is a civil rights issue for us. Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. There are three million people of Indian These M’s are what all young Jains should heritage in the US; the students of that be proud of.


Between Culture and Passion: Reflections of an Artist By: Meghan Shah This past November, I was at my parent’s house for a Diwali party with their friends from the Jain community. I was the only young person around, but that was okay because I typically enjoy conversation with most of these adults. My former Pathshala teacher had asked me what I had been up to, and I told him that I have been teaching art to children grades Pre-K through Six in an inner city magnet school in New Haven, Connecticut. His response: “But you don’t expect them to make anything that good, right? Art isn’t a valued subject.” I think that the 2016 election has led me to voice my opinions more strongly, but I made sure that he knew how wrong he was.


“Actually, art is extremely valued at my school, and the teachers and students are really excited to have me there. I also have very high expectations for the kids. I expect greatness from all the students I have taught; it has never mattered if they were a three-year-old or an adult in a printmaking workshop.” A couple summers before this party, I had found myself at a Jain picnic, also in my hometown, where I met a young girl going into high school. She was telling me about how she admired my life as an artist and was asking me all these intriguing questions about my life and career. I came to find that her passion lies in music. But, she never had any intention of pursuing music, because she didn’t think of it as a career choice and also because even if it was, her parents would not have been supportive of her pursuing a career in music. I tried to be as encouraging and motivating as I could in convincing her that she could make a career out of her passion. “It may not be the safe or easy choice, but it is one that would make you truly happy because that’s where your passion lies.” Growing up, I always needed creative outlets. I thrived on expressive projects in school and I found that my after school activities always included music and dance. During my senior year in high school, I took an AP art class and immediately decided then that art was going to be my career.


While I began college by studying communication design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, I soon learned that I really disliked working with computers and that graphic design just wasn’t for me. I transferred to Southern Connecticut State University and graduated with a BA in fine arts. A degree in studio art with a concentration in printmaking was miles away from the job security I would have had with a degree in communication design at Pratt, but I needed to work with my hands. That’s what makes me truly happy. Thankfully, I have grown up with extra supportive parents who also wanted to make sure I would end up with a financially stable future. But, that’s not limited to the Jain community. That’s just parents wanting the best for their children and encouraging success with high expectations. There was no class in college that taught me how to navigate my life through the art world. I didn’t have relatives to guide me through “how to make it as an artist.” I didn’t even feel like I could be an artist until after the summer of 2014. That summer, I worked as the printmaking teaching assistant at the Oxbow School in Napa, California. I met people who were living their lives surrounded by their passion of art, and as they became my close friends a career as an artist finally turned into a tangible reality for me. If all these people were doing it, so could I.

Finding that art has a therapeutic healing power in me changed my life. I found a way to spend my days doing it. Something I pass on to all my students and younger friends is this: if your passion is something you can’t live without, then you need to make sure that you don’t. You have to work hard in honing your craft and putting yourself out there to fuel that fire within. If you decide that and put every intention towards the outcome, you will get there. I want to prove to you, the next generation, that if there is something in your life you are truly passionate about, there is a way to make it your career. It probably isn’t going to be the easy choice, but the rewards are infinitely more than you can ever imagine.

I divide my time between teaching, working in the studio, curating shows, running two side businesses, and working shop duties at a letterpress studio. This generation has to change how arts are perceived in the Jain community. In art history, the only Indian artist we learned about was Anish Kapoor. Let’s change that. We need to support the arts with all our power and advocate for them in all aspects of our lives. This starts with showing up. Be present in your local art community, visit shows in museums, go to gallery openings, and seek out what artists in your community are up to. By doing this, you’ll find a way to support them in a way that also interests you. Our story isn’t over yet.

With recent arts funding cuts, it is even more important to show everyone the value in art. Every day, I see how a stimulating art project changes the behavior of an entire class. They quiet down, listen to the music, and focus on purely creating. It no longer matters that they were having a bad day or forgot their homework or another student just yelled at them. The safe space that art classes provide is essential to our world and our future. Equally important to teaching art is advocating for the arts around the world. Since I live my life as an artist first and as a teacher second, it is important for me to show my students that their teacher is making a career as an artist.


How does faith play a role in your work? Where and to what extent? Faith gives basic values - values of compassion, integrity, caring about the dignity of every person, and respect. Those are things that I try to think about when making decisions: the impact they will have on people’s lives.

representation in Google’s Pichai, Microsoft’s Nadella, and so on. People recognize the Indian-American contributions in technology. In addition, Indian-American values of education are shared by so many Americans. These are areas I have focused on in Congress.

What are your plans to maximize good in the current political climate? I work with people who I disagree with to find common ground. I look for areas where we can compromise and work together and where we can advance a common interest. For instance, I worked with Republican Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX) to pass a bill [VALOR Act] to provide military veterans greater access to apprenticeship training programs following their service. We found common ground in this bipartisan act that helped promote something that is good for the country. What is your experience as an IndianAmerican in politics and in the Silicon Valley? It’s a source of great strength. In the Silicon Valley, there’s a positive

A Conversation with Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17) Khanna’s maternal grandfather, Amarnath Vidyalankar, was part of India’s (led by Gandhi) independence movement working with Lala Lajpat Rai and spent years in jail in the pursuit of human rights and freedom. Rep. Khanna was the first member of Congress to endorse the recall of the judge in the Brock Turner sexual assault case and is a cosponsor of CASA.


How can Indian Americans find their political voice and why is it important that they do so? Politics is about giving back to the community and shaping the community. Indian Americans have done very well, and we also need to give back. Young Indian Americans can do internships on the hill, internships for their local elected officials, run for local office, work on campaigns. I have worked in all of these ways - I’ve done internships in Washington, worked on many campaigns before I ran, and worked for other politicians. By doing all of that, you understand how the process works and find ways to contribute. Get engaged in your local communities: go to city council meetings and get engaged with local organizations that tackle issues such as homelessness, education, and climate change. Pick an issue that you’re passionate about and get involved. Social media is also a big platform. Follow politicians’ work and comment on what they agree or disagree with. It’s great that so many young Jain Americans are interested in public service. We need the next generation to get involved. Many young people understand technology and issues of the environment and gender equity much better than previous generations, and their voice is particularly important at this time. I hope that people who read this article will choose to get involved in politics.


A Conversation with Rema Rajeshwari An Indian Police Service officer with a distinguished career of integrity and passion, Rema Rajeshwari started her career in the Police service as an Assault Commander with the ‘Greyhounds’, an elite special force. Through her collaborative policing efforts, she encourages women to break gender stereotypes and empower them to emerge as leaders.

tough. But it gave me a strong sense of purpose. Finding purpose is rarely an epiphany, nor is it something you pick up from the routine moments of your life. It can be a long, arduous process that requires introspection and reflection, then a strong commitment to act. In my case, I found it during my training days. I worked very hard and made use of every opportunity that came my way during the training. During our basic training in the What factors influenced you to pursue a academy, I had a great exposure to various career as an Indian Police Service officer? aspects of policing - law enforcement, antiextremist/terrorist work, jungle warfare, In India, Police Service is a part of the Civil tactics, modern weaponry, cyber crimes Services. I was raised by my grandmother. - the list is endless. I was the topper of the She used to tell me numerous stories about IPS class of 2009. the life of civil servants during the British era in my hometown. Munnar (Kerala What are your greatest challenges as an State) was once the summer capital of officer? the British. As a child I always wanted to be in the civil services. In 2008, when I I started my career as an Assault cleared the Civil Services examination, I Commander with The Greyhounds. It is was allotted to the Indian Police Service one among the best anti-insurgency force (IPS). Hence started my journey as a police that specializes in anti-Maoist operations officer. and are experts in jungle warfare. The force is well-trained and has the ability How did you prepare for a career in law to cover huge tracts of hilly and forested enforcement? terrain ranging from 20 - 30 km in one single operation by surviving on frugal Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police ration. During my stint with Greyhounds, Academy (SVPNPA) is the premier training the undivided State of Andhra Pradesh institution to prepare leaders for the was battling a conflict situation due to Indian Police, who will lead/command the activities of left-wing extremists. The the force with courage, uprightness, challenge was the difficult terrain where dedication and a strong sense of service to we operated. And yes, I was the only the people. I underwent my basic training female in my team at that time. Eventually there. Training was the best part. It was I took up law enforcement assignments


as a District Police Chief. A skewed police-population ratio is a big challenge in terms of service delivery. Bringing more women into the police department is another issue due to the structural challenges and societal Limitations. How has spirituality influenced your life? I am a very spiritual person. It gives me a direction whenever I am in doubt and draw my internal strength from my faith in God. How do you see policing promoting nonviolence? In the Indian context a widespread allegation against the police officers is that they resort to unfair treatment, do selective law enforcement and have lack of sensitivity. By working closely with the communities beyond these dividing factors and by helping them to achieve harmony police can play a huge role in promoting non-violence in the society. If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why? Maya Angelou, the American poet and civil rights activist. Her life and work inspire me a lot. Whenever I am in doubt I go back and read her poem - The Phenomenal Woman. I would love to be in her shoes to learn the importance of taking pride in who you are. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year- old self? Set your priorities early in life. Make sure that the pursuit of happiness is one of them all along. Success for me is to have hope for the future.

The most disturbing hypocritical binary of our times is that we name our streets on brave women of India and but we don’t care enough to protect them on those streets. The word ‘Bharat Mata’ often resonates in our political space, but we still have misgivings in letting the ‘matas’ take centre stage. The current political scenario is that of a bottom-heavy one with more elected women representing at grass roots. Unless women engage in decision-making positions, a more diverse political space will remain a distant dream. The reality is that law alone cannot transform a society. Gender-based violence is not a law and order issue alone, but has deeper cultural undertones. Values must start at home. It takes a collective social responsibility to teach every boy how to honour and respect every girl. We must realize that the ease of justice to women and absence of fear in them to step out of the safe walls, are the barometers of a society’s virtue; the sole parameter to calibrate the security indices. We need to give a strengthened, community-owned response to violence against women by converging all the efforts of various agencies.


Health and Wellness at Convention By: Brinda Shah As someone who has been involved with YJA for over six years now as an attendee to retreats, conventions, and dinners, as well as a Local Representative, I am extremely excited to serve as a Co-lead for the Hospitality and Souvenirs committee. While there are many things I’d like to accomplish to make the 2018 convention enjoyable for all, two of my biggest goals for this convention revolve around being health conscious. Everyone knows how real YJA’s love for chutney sandwiches and “Cheez-its” is; and while they will forever be a convention staple in the hospitality suite, I’d like to attract more attention to the fact that a healthy snack can be just as flavorful and satisfying as something considered more “junk food.” My first goal for this convention year is to introduce a healthy snack station in the hospitality and JNF suites. My intention is for this snack station to have a new set of healthy snacks for each day of convention. This will allow attendees to try something new and hopefully spark an interest to be more conscious of their food intake. As someone that’s struggled with eating well in the past, especially during my undergraduate studies, I now understand the importance of healthy eating and would like to share that with other Jain youth.


My second goal for this year is to try to incorporate mental health concerns into sessions. Mental health is a rising issue that many of us do not realize we have or we overlook them out of fear. I believe Jainism can help youth understand and cope with mental health issues, including those suffering anxiety, depression, and stress. I hope through sessions, we are able to understand the importance and speak up about the health of our bodies and minds.

Fake Meat is the Future By: Sunny Jain

As public opinion towards sustainability shifts, demands for meat alternatives are fueling fake meat production on a global scale. Fake meat has reshaped the food industry. It’s gathered $4 billion in sales last year and is one of the top 3 culinary trends of this year. Fake meat is available in almost every grocery store chain, in every form, and in every cuisine. As I watch my fellow vegetarian friends eagerly devour imitation hot dogs, I wonder. Fake meat repulsed me - it was the idea of eating something I was trained all my life to avoid and feel disgusted by. But the debate surrounding fake meat has valid points and arguments from both sides. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, it’s important to recognize and address all the implications of this culinary trend, both the positives and negatives. Generational and Cultural Divides Millennials are generally more open to it, citing that as long as animals aren’t harmed in the process, they’re fine with consuming fake meat. This attitude parallels the generational characteristic of Millennials as being more open to social change. I see this divide in my family: my parents are opposed to fake meat, while my sister and I are more favorable of it. There is also a geographic divide. People born in North America and Europe tend

to have a more favorable view than those born in Asia. This is most likely due to the low availability of and exposure to fake meat in Asian markets. In addition, Asians are generally more cautious about social change and place a higher emphasis on tradition. There is little research on the long-term behavioral implications of eating a product designed to replicate real meat. Could it cause people to become desensitized to real meat? Could it have an opposite effect and act as a “gateway” to eating real meat? When I once accidentally consumed meat, I threw up and felt horrible. Would someone familiar with the taste of meat have the same reaction? In the 1980s, trends revealed that transitioning vegetarians often “abandoned their vegetarian ways” during Thanksgiving and Christmas, tempted by foods like turkey. Today, fake meat enables people to transition towards vegetarianism while satisfying their cravings. In this way, fake meat creates more vegetarians and vegans in the world. Fake meats also generally have a significantly lower amount of fat and calories than their meat counterparts. According to the American Dietetic Association, the average veggie burger has about three times less total fat and seven times less saturated fat than the average


According to the American Dietetic Association, the average veggie burger has about three times less total fat and seven times less saturated fat than the average beef burger. Fake meats often boast high amounts of protein and fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels, reduces blood pressure, and more.

their opinion is just as valid as yours. After becoming a vegan in January, I have warmed up to fake meat. Although I consume these products in moderation (primarily to avoid incorporating too many processed foods into my diet) it has proved to be invaluable in my personal life, especially when it comes to dining in public. Whether we choose to However, many fake meats are often consume fake meat ourselves or not, we highly processed. When unhealthy should support vegan owned businesses ingredients like genetically modified soy and products when possible. It’s simple and high amounts of sodium are consumed capitalism: increased demand will cause excessively, it leads to numerous health larger companies to recognize this market threats including high blood pressure, and follow suit, in turn making way for heart problems, and hormonal imbalances. greater availability and affordability of Not all vegetarian foods are created equal. these products for the general public. As vegetarians and non-vegetarians, it’s This may even start a dialogue for the important to be aware of the positive systematic treatment of animals and and negative health effects of fake meat increased need for regulations and products. government oversight. As a whole, the culinary trend of fake meat is beneficial Because a large percentage of fake meat for the overall welfare of animals and this consumers are ethical vegans, fake meat movement does more good than it does is overwhelmingly vegan. Interestingly, harm. the majority of vegetarians who adamantly oppose fake meat consume high amounts of dairy on a regular basis. This raises an interesting question - if less animals are harmed from a lifestyle that incorporates fake meat than a lifestyle which incorporates animal products such as dairy, which lifestyle is more beneficial to the overall welfare of animals? No matter which side of the debate you are on, it’s important not to judge or force fake meat products onto people who are uncomfortable with the concept:


Tofu Tacos

Source: Food Network Magazine Time: 30 minutes Servings: 4 Incgredients: 12 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 8 slices 4 cups shredded coleslaw mix 1 small bunch radishes, thinly sliced 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 bunch scallions, sliced 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 limes (1 zested and juiced, 1 cut into wedges) 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon taco seasoning 8 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or pepper jack cheese 1/4 cup jarred salsa verde

4. Brush the tofu on all sides with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the taco seasoning. 5. Heat a nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat, then add the tofu and cook until it begins to crisp, about 5 minutes; flip and cook 2 more minutes. Cut into strips. 6. Toast the tortillas in a dry skillet, 1 minute per side, or wrap in a damp towel and microwave 1 minute. F 7. ill with the tofu, cheese and slaw, then drizzle with the yogurt sauce and salsa. 8. Serve with the lime wedges.

Directions: 1. Lay the tofu slices flat on a stack of paper towels; top with more paper towels, then put a heavy skillet on top to press out the excess water, about 10 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, toss the coleslaw, radishes, cilantro, scallions, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lime zest and half of the lime juice in a large bowl. 3. Mix the yogurt with the remaining lime juice in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.


Changing Your Perspective on Cheese By: Ashna Jain

Before I start, let me establish that I am just a normal Jain girl from Northborough, Massachusetts. I am nothing extraordinary. I love to eat chocolate, ice cream, cake, cheese, yogurt, milk, cookies, pizza, Starbucks lattes, and boba. However, the difference between us may be that while all the things I eat are made cruelty free, you may eat foods of similar taste whose production requires immense pain. I have been vegan for 7 years now, and as I reflect, I can say that the hardest part of becoming vegan is not the transition itself; it is the circumstances that present themselves, testing your determination. At the beginning, I would deeply crave non-vegan treats, especially cake. At Jain birthday parties where the cake was eggless, it was extremely difficult at times to resist myself from eating it, since only a few months ago, I would have. Resisting became even harder at social events, like at ice cream shops. I had to find a way to not indulge in the the taste that dairy provided in my favorite flavors. Many people confuse my perseverance with pressure from my parents, however, my parents never forced me to become vegan. For me, it came from within, and that is why I succeeded in this transition. For this process to be successful, you have to desire this for yourself. You have to understand how eating dairy products inflicts pain on yourself more than on


the cows. With every situation that was presented, I reminded myself that the “pain� I suffered was nowhere equal to the immense pain the cows and calves suffered in the production of the dish. I am now at a place in my life where I don’t crave anything non-vegan. It is a milestone in my life that I had to work extremely hard for. But it does will happen, and when it happens, it is one of the most satisfying feelings. We are so lucky to be exposed to Jainism. This religion helps us understand nonabsolutism, non-possessiveness, and nonviolence. Through these concepts, not only are we are able to understand pain of other living beings, and detach ourselves from diary, but as a result minimize our actions which inflict violence. As Jains, we are able to treat all respects of life as equal beings. Whether it be a a small insect or a animal. And that fact alone, is what makes Jainism so unique. Many of you are already following very respectable vegetarian lifestyles, but the 21st century has caused us to call into question and reevaluate the process behind dairy production. We need to apply nonviolence to situations where animals are not just getting killed, but also in places where they are negatively exposed and violated prior to their death. Above all, it is not right to take away something that is not ours.

Over the years, I have also learned that your regard towards something is just based on your perspective of the thing itself, whether it be good or bad. An example of this happened just last year. This past year, I attended the 2017 JAINA Convention. For one of the youth lunches, we were told that we would be served a fully vegan meal, which included vegan cheese. I saw how quickly my friends rejected the idea of vegan cheese and judged it based of off the “title” of it being vegan. Specifically, they claimed that the cheese tasted “bad” and “extremely nutty” when they tried it; almost all my friends ended up throwing the cheese away complaining how they wanted “real” cheese. The truth came out that the cheese actually was not vegan; instead, it was a dairy based cheese. However, because of the negative perception of vegan cheese, the same cheese that my friends had been eating everyday suddenly tasted bad. This example shows the importance of perspective; by changing your perspective towards veganism, you can not only benefit your health but save the lives of innocent cows. We are living in a society where there are multiple alternatives to dairy milk including soy, rice, almond, and cashew milk. You no longer have to fear that you will miss out on the taste or substance of animal byproducts by becoming vegan. For instance, an easy vegan replacer for one egg can be made by whisking together two tablespoons of water, one tablespoon of oil, and two teaspoons of baking powder. This substitute can be added in almost

all your homemade goods along with any vegan milk substitute. Veganism is the voice for the animals who are unable to speak, yet who understand and sense all the same feelings which we prize. Veganism might be intimidating, but in no ways is it impossible. Your one decision can have an effect of the lives of many, many souls. Make a change and be something to aspire. The choice is yours.