Jainism spreads at colleges amid calls for ‘decolonisation’

When retired gastroenterologist and Jain devotee Jasvant Modi sought to spread knowledge of the faith, Cerritos College in Norwalk, South California seemed like the perfect fit. He and his wife Meera, along with donors Harshad and Raksha Shah, last month pledged US$1 million to fund an endowed scholar of Jain studies at the community college in the United States, writes Nina Agrawal for Los Angeles Times.

They are among a small but dedicated group of American Jain donors who are seeking to expand US awareness of the ancient belief system of Jainism and its teachings beyond an estimated 5 million to 10 million mainly Indian followers. And they think academia is the best place to do so, especially at a time of increasing calls to move away from Eurocentric perspectives in education.

In the last decade, donors have funded endowed positions in Jain studies at a dozen universities, including the University of California Davis, Irvine, Riverside and Santa Barbara; the Cal State campuses of Northridge and Long Beach; and Loyola Marymount University. They have also sponsored lectureships and postdoctoral fellowships at other universities. They estimate they have reached hundreds of students directly but that the ripple effects will extend to thousands.
Full report on the Los Angeles Times site