The Indian Economy Blog

April 30, 2008

Is Jain-To-Jain Better Than Jain-To-Many?

Long-time reader Joydeep Mukherji sends us this (via email)

This article talks about a program for Jains to donate money to help teach Jain students for free. It seems like a nice idea. Perhaps other groups (Patels, Jats, Chettiars) can follow their example. However, it may be a bad idea if you think that such charity should be open to all, not confined to one group. The latter is more equitable but it may not generate the level of donations that a more focussed program might generate. Perhaps this is something your blog should debate?

Comments are open.


  1. You discuss this long enough, you will arrive at the philosophical crossroad of “Does the end justify the means?”

    Here’s why: The objective of the program is to give education to people who need them.

    The fact that the donors are Jains and acceptors are also Jains can be moved as a peripheral fact.

    So fundamentally there’s nothing wrong with the objective.

    Why Jains donate? Because they want to. Why do they donate only to Jains? Because that motivates them.

    Now, I am trying not to get into the philosophy of why do we feel more connected to some people than others.

    So thats that.

    Comment by RK — April 30, 2008 @ 7:42 am

  2. It may be a bad idea simply because it adds on to difference in society that is anyways so badly segregated.
    However, if you look around India, there are already so many caste-based organizations. As long as it is not state sponsored organization, I think it should be ok. As RK rightly pointed out, if that motivates someone why not? Let patels,jats, sharmas(oh so many of them!!) also start on their own if that motivates them!
    Will it fragment the society further? May be yes. And more for the benefactors of this. As in future they might attribute their wellness(hopefully as result of better education) to the caste they belong to rather than Nation or humanity in general. But at least they will be better off! And hopefully with the (right) education they will undermine the caste difference themselves (but still appreciate the caste they belong to – dont really think they are mutex).
    To conclude, it may not be an ideal choice. But if this is the only choice, why not?

    Comment by Aashish Sharma — April 30, 2008 @ 8:07 am

  3. [...] 5. Is it right for a community to educate its own community or should it educate all? IEB has a debate [...]

    Pingback by Assorted Links « Mostly Economics — April 30, 2008 @ 9:13 am

  4. Ok so Jains will educate Jains..and Baniyas will educate Baniyas and sharmas , Sharmas…..
    And the lower castes will get even more reservation in governments institutions …since they are not rich enough to educate each other, but numerous enough to topple governments..and there will be another discussion on what “merit” means.
    Just another manifestation of caste based thinking.

    Comment by Vikas — April 30, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

  5. Well that is good that they are doing that and are able to do so.The point is that other communities of india don’t have that kind of commitment to their own.The so called leaders of them would use the communities for their own purpose and nobody thinks of giving back to it.Also it needs to have a deep faith in the philosophy and way of life of community to serve for a cause.Well most jains are proud of their non violence philosophy and are keen to promote that while in hinduism people are torn between so many views and counter views that there is not left any sense of oneness.In the whole that’s a commendable effort and should be followed by other too.If one can’t be for his own people, how can he be for others.

    Comment by ankit — April 30, 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  6. Its no big deal he wants to educate his own community.Big deal.There are similar jewish,parsee and sikh trusts.So what?He is handing out scholarships to people he wants to give it to.Can you really expect one million Gandhis.Anything that contributes to skill development in the contry should be welcome.

    Comment by Shantanu Chatterjee — April 30, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

  7. Though after sixty years of independence still we have lot of sub strata in our society, first he should benefit the community where they belong, then others, but this is not true in the case of philanthropic Institutions like the Tatas who are Parsis even G.D. Birla was know for his philanthropy.
    I have seen in Calcutta Marwari Relief Society do lot of good jobs for Non Marwaris also. Even Aga Khan trust also does lot good jobs even non-Muslim benefits, and Mother Teresa’s is an exception in spite of being a catholic. R.K. Mission do a lot for non Hindus

    Comment by Debashish Bramha — April 30, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  8. Vikas and everybody,
    Community based sponsorships are not a replacement for state-sponsored education.

    If you sponsor education for 10 people (whatever criteria that may be based on) it is in your willing.

    State is not doing a good job for educating their people – thats a whole different problem.

    Lets not mix issues here.

    Comment by RK — April 30, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

  9. Isn’t it the donor’s money? It sounds archaic and too narrowly focused, but the group might have constraints we are not aware of from the outside. They probably know the Jain community better. Also, if they get bigger and better known, particularly if the group counts better known businessmen among its members; self interest would have a pressure on it to broaden the target population. But ultimately this is donor’s money.

    Comment by Corporate Serf — May 1, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

  10. I totally agree that this type of community services should be extended to other groups in the society but I want to make clear on one point that JITO(Jain International Trade Organisation)will extend this service to other section too depending on the funds collected and I don’t think implementing initially on Jain group is immoral as presented by views of above commentators.
    And I think we should encourage organisations such as JITO as they are preparing for real competitors and not demanding any type of minority reservation like OBC etc…

    Comment by gaurav jain — May 1, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

  11. You dint have to take it personally :-)

    Appreciate your idea though.

    We were not talking about any specific community or JITO.

    I think the topic was generic in nature.

    Comment by RK — May 2, 2008 @ 1:16 am

  12. I am not a Jain. But I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with this idea at all. Each group has the right, and I may say, even an obligation, to preserve its own distinct culture and traditions. And to support its own members. As long as the group is not interfering with others, or oppressing others, I think this represents a stable Nash equilibrium in the social context. I believe successful societies are those which encourage diversity, as well as tolerance at the same time. If everyone were to think alike and act alike, the world would be a very boring place. Similarly if everyone were to fight with each other constantly, the world would be a hellish place indeed. A philosophy of live and let live probably confers long-term stability to society.

    When it comes to caste, I believe that as long as one caste does not treat another as “lower” or “higher”, but just as a unique endogamous group with a desire to preserve its own unique traditions, language, customs and culture, most of the conflict evident in today’s Indian society would go away. So instead of destroying castes, the focus should be on destroying casteism. Similarly, instead of destroying religion, the focus should be on maintaining communal harmony.

    More importantly, Jains, like many other groups, pay taxes to the Indian Govt. These taxes are used by the Govt for the welfare of various disadvantaged groups. Thus, by being honest taxpayers, Jains already help other groups that the Govt decides are disadvantaged. And then there is absolutely nothing wrong in a Jain foundation seeking to help its own members succeed in life. Jains must maintain and strengthen their identity so that Indian society can remain diverse and tolerant for another 5000 years.

    Comment by Observer — May 2, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

  13. The idea of charity is to help the needy. As long as the needy are correctly identified, it doesn’t really matter what community or sect they belong to. As long as the Jains or the donor group is donating to someone who needs the money, irrespective of the recipient group’s community, why should there be a problem?

    Comment by Rohan — May 3, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  14. Hi,
    I think the idea of donation / charity prevails in all the castes and communities . It all matters how do the individual organization use them.
    Some donate to temples / church / Gurudwara / Mosques and some for other purposes.
    Its good to hear that Jain Community is using part of these donations to knowledge as this will be a stepping stone to the prosperity and growth as a whole.
    Upto my knowledge ( strictly my POV ) Jain community has got many businessman and are self dependent. The literacy rate in the community is high too. Also as far as I know the Girl : Boy literacy ratio is almost equal. So as its always stated “Charity Begins at Home” so starting by motivating people to donate for the community and developing the community and then getting bigger by working on wider range is the best option.
    The Most Important Point I would like to state is
    Starting as a community its better to manage and keep proper surveillance on How the donators money is used. Your faith on the organization is not lost by this and you can even donate more for wider work for nation / humanity as a whole.

    * All points I covered are in general terms and applicable to all the castes and communities.

    Comment by Aakash Shah — May 4, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

  15. I am not opposed to the Jains or any other group, focusing charitable efforts on their ethnic group in principle. All else being equal, higher quality education is a good thing.

    But on a larger scale, in the long term, I think this type of thing is likely to lead to greater economic inequality between social groups within India.

    You have to realize that concentration of wealth within small privileged ethnic groups leads to resentment among the majority. Within a democratically elected society this manifests itself in the form of largely ineffective illiberal government policies designed to uplift the masses (i.e. linguistic chauvinism, reservations, regionalism, job protection etc). Outside of a democratic system the result can be even more dramatic (eg. naxalites)

    Consider that it is beacause of popular but stupid government policies, such as the ones likely to result from inequal distribution of wealth between social groups, that India’s public primary education system is ineffective to begin with. The consequences of a widespread adoption of ethnic group charities could well be far more negative than most would anticipate.

    Comment by dhruval — May 13, 2008 @ 8:33 am

  16. Joydeep had sent a link to his post. The link talks about Jains paying 15% of national taxes with a population of only 1.5% . The Jains are setting up 4 knowledge societies (including universities )developed on 100 acres of land, each in 4 metros.

    Assuming the figures are correct , this wealthy community is working on getting commensurate representation in civil services as well providing for quality higher education, free, for it own community. They are not asking for dole or quotas in the limited number of government-sponsored institutes.

    Some other minority communities in India do extend help in funding higher studies abroad for meritorious students from their ilk.

    With the reservation system in place in government institutes (& to continue till so-called social justice is delivered to all kind of backward groups); funding & quality education for increasing numbers of needy-but-meritorious students have to be undertaken by somebody.

    And who better than one’s own community?

    Maybe , this idea is not equitable but when the politicians are hell bent on doing social engineering at the expense of merit, this reaction by the Jain community is one of the more civilised-yet-powerful reactions than fighting out the reservation battle on the streets.

    Comment by Salty — May 18, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

  17. It is dishearting to read that even after sixty years of independence we are still cradling the age old caste system and reservations based on that. If they are really keen to develop the country let them educate all. No reservations No quotas only on merit basis. This will help to develop a bright future and level playing ground for the future indians.

    Comment by ARUN — June 8, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

  18. There is nothing wrong with what jains are doing. A BIG MIDDLE FINGER SALUTE to those giving it a bad communalist casteist wag of finger.

    I dont know if indian govt will go anywhere with regards to anything and perhaps each community doing its own thing may work. BTW I had proposed a government oriented suggestion to an earlier prashant’s post called bhartiya vidya sena

    I am DISGUSTED with government in india, and perhaps this is the only way it can work. Simply put its being run by folks without vision(and perhaps an anti indic( cultural vision

    Comment by Guru Gulab Khatri — June 11, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  19. Except religious aspects Jains are not at all known to keep charity confined to their own community. Jain to many had been hallmark of their charity

    In a globalised environment, many Jains even within a family have surpassed others while their own kith and kin suffer. This realisation have made Jains to create some common platform to help fellow Jains and new concept Jain to Jain has emerged.

    Jain community is arguably the only community in post Independence India, never made any demands on public funds nor resorted to agitational methods like many seek Government patronage or reservations or political mileage. Their thinking of self help need to be lauded and emulated.

    Numbers may vary but in post indepedence India every community has many neo rich who can take care of their fellow brothers and sisters. Their attitude will decide the altitude community takes.

    Comment by Daman Prakash — June 19, 2008 @ 11:30 pm

  20. “CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME”, hope all of us have heard this sometime in our life and if answer is affirmative then we all should appreciate the endeavor of various Jain charitable outfits who are dedicated to their community. I am not a Jain however I have closely worked with various such organizations and entire argument that they assist only Jain is inappropriate.
    Regarding various commentators who were immensely concerned about disparity and widening of gap between rich and poor or communities, I sincerely request them to stop adding to problems of this country. The biggest problem of this country is the so called educated class or intellect breed, as soon as they realize that they may have some grey cells they start blabbering philosophical. Please understand the truth that people who are poor are meant to be poor or remain poor. It’s very hard to believe or to digest such a blunt remark however you may authenticate this in your day to day life without launching a big research. In our country almost every poor wants a quick and easy relief and we call it charity or subsidy. Please go ahead and find out a single organization where there is no vacancy at class 4 levels or even simple go ahead and try finding someone to clean your choked drainage or clean weeds from your lawn or clean junk from your backyard and I guarantee you will understand my viewpoint. Those who wish to come out of poverty have made it in past and will continue to do it without any assistance or reservations, hope we know people like APJ Kalam, Rajendra Prasad, LB Shastri, DB Ambani and list continues. We are too engrossed in to the proverb “ squeaking wheel needs oil” however we also need to understand that if oil has not worked in 60 years then it’s time to understand that the wheel needs hammer to align better or may need a replacement. I guess this is a very practical approach we take in our day to day life however shy away to accept the same when it comes to forum as someone shouldn’t consider us dud or non INTELLECT.

    Comment by PC — July 2, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  21. R/Sir,

    “EK VICHAR” hamare desh KI KISMAT BADAL SAKTA HAI” So, I request to kindly read it.


    In today’s busy life a voice is coming from everywhere ie ‘THRIFTNESS’.

    I am a man of having a habit of saving small amount of money in small Saving Schemes and due to this my name is entered in Limca Book Of Records in the year of 1997 & 2000. Because of my this habit I have earned few profit & now it is my desire that some other people of society could also be profited.

    If in our country only 1% of the population on their respective birthday’s Could open one Recurring deposit account with an amount of Rs 50/-in Their nearest post offices for the duration of 60 Months. They should open an another account on their next coming birthday .After the completion of 60 Months they will get a MATURITY VALUE on the 61th month.

    On the other hand every month government will get a profit of Rs 50 crore For the ECONOMIC DEVOLOPEMENTAL ACTIVITIES in our country

    I have done this experiment on myself by saving money in small saving Schemes.I want to draw your kind attention of my new IDEA, and if you want to make our country economically powerful then please give this information to other people for economic social welfare, and belive me this type of regular saving practice may utilize to PREVENT POVERTY of our country.

    So I request to you kindly do needful in this way and if you require any clarification kindly mail me.

    Thanks & regards
    Mobile No. +919993025698

    Comment by P.K.Jain — August 14, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

  22. Dear Sir,
    After so many years of independence, we still divide each other on the basis of caste, communities and social strata.We have to come out of this to work and develop the underprivilged. We already know reservations have already done anything to solve this problem. In a particular educational institution if there are two needy students only- one being from the jain community and the other from maharashtrian community , will you not give the maharashtrain the money?
    sounds odd to me. think we all should come above all this……shudnt we?

    Comment by Dr Archana Ashtekar — August 21, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WP Hashcash

Powered by WordPress