US Prez Biden Greets Sikhs, Jains On Baisakhi, Mahavir Jayanti

| Updated : April 15, 2022, 6:45 pm
Updated : April 15, 2022, 6:45 pm

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US President Joe Biden (file photo)

WASHINGTON/ NEW DELHI: United States President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on Friday extended greetings to Sikhs and Jains on their occasion of Baisakhi and Mahavir Jayanti.

While Sikhs celebrate the spring harvest festival of Baisakhi as the beginning of the Sikh New Year, Jains commemorate the birth of Lord Mahavir, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of the faith.

“Jill and I send warm greetings on Mahavir Jayanti to people of the Jain faith. This is a day to strive for peace, happiness, and the success of all. May we each pursue the values Mahavir Swami embodied: to seek truth, turn from violence, and live in harmony with each other,” Biden tweeted.

In another tweet, he wrote, “Today is significant for many South Asians — especially Sikhs. On Vaisakhi, Sikhs celebrate the formalization of their community and reflect on oneness, love, and service. Happy Vaisakhi to all who celebrate.”

The United States hosts a strong diaspora of about 500,000 Sikh Americans, according to Sikh Coalition.

Scholars of Sikhism and Jainism in India said that the US president’s greetings to the two communities were significant as the country’s guiding principles of co-existence, self-governance and freedom were in line with the philosophy of the two religions.

Speaking to The New Indian, Dr. Priyadarshana Jain, Head of Department of Jainology at the University of Madras, said “US and India are democratic nations. They celebrate democracy, the rights of the people and self-governance. Self-governance is the best form of governance, which is also a part of ahimsa (non-violence).”

She said that the teachings of Mahavir can guide the world to find the solution to the problems staring at the modern world.

“Mahavir is a great spiritual scientist and the philosophical, psychological, social, environmental aspects of ahimsa need to be look into in the modern context — especially in the context of war, terror and pollution. We are happy that President Joe Biden has greeted us, the Jains. We wish the spirit of non-violence prevails,” she added.

Shedding light on the contribution of the Jains to the world, Premchand Jain, an advocate by profession and a leader of the Jain community in Delhi said, “Jains are peace-loving and present virtually everywhere around the globe. They are not involved in any communal struggle.”

He further said, “Every Jain contributes a part of their income to social service. Many colleges, schools and educational institutions are being run by the Jains without government help. Whenever there’s a natural calamity, they are the first in the line to serve. It’s wonderful that the community is recognized by the US president.”

Prof. Ratan Jain, Secretary General of Jain Mahasabha, said thought the Jains and Sikhs are minorities in India in terms of their population, but are “second to none” when it comes to their social contribution.

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