US college establishes endowed chair in Jain and Hindu Dharma


Washington, December 22  

A US university has announced establishing an endowed chair in Jainism and Hinduism, which will be an integral part of its religious studies programme.

Over two dozen Indian-American families have contributed to creating a joint Endowed Chair in Jain and Hindu studies at California State University, Fresno.

The Endowed Chair in Jain and Hindu Dharma will be housed in the Department of Philosophy in the College of Arts and Humanities and will be an integral part of the University’s religious studies programme. 

A professor who is an expert in both the Jain and Hindu Dharma traditions will be appointed as interim chair in 2021.

The groundbreaking partnership between the Jain and Hindu communities and the California State University, Fresno underscores a mutual commitment to educating current and future generations of students about the principles of nonviolence, dharma (virtue, duty), justice, pluralist philosophy, the interconnectedness of all beings and care for the environment through Hindu-Jain texts, philosophies and traditions, a media release said. “The California State University (CSU) has never seen a partnership like this one with the Jain and Hindu communities. I’m very pleased that this has happened at Fresno State. It establishes a model for other campuses in the CSU and around the country to do the same,” CSU Fresno president Joseph I. Castro said.

Jasvant Modi, of Los Angeles, a prominent Jain philanthropist and supporter of this chair, added, “We hope that the younger generation, when they come to the college, they’re exposed to this philosophy as we know that Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and others followed a nonviolent way of solving the countries and the world’s problems.” The chair will teach Jainism and Hinduism, furthering Fresno State’s efforts to promote understanding of religions and communities, said Saul Jiménez-Sandoval, Fresno State provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Additionally, the endowed chair also will support Jain and Hindu scholarly endeavours for students, including scholarships, stipends and research funds. For the professor who holds the chair, the funds may support research and academic publications, conference travel and campus-sponsored events, the university said. PTI 



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