Approximately 1.2 crore Jains in the country and across the world can soon get community cards with individual identification numbers. Members of the newly-formed Jain International Organisation (JIO) are set to launch the project this December.
“The JIO cards will help community members build a network. We can also negotiate for discounted rates for them on housing or health facilities,” said Ashish Shah, a JIO member who is in charge of the project.
“Another objective is that with the savings of the members, we can take up social work that will benefit all communities,” he said.
In one example of collective bargaining, community members said that some Jain businessmen bought a two lakh square feet land in Nashik for a big discount, and similarly, a network built through community cards would help members seek such benefits.
Jain sadhu Parampujya Naypadmasagarji, who was the force behind 24 major community associations over the last decade and the establishment of JIO, said the cards would unite Jains.
However, the Jains are not the first to implement a card system.
The Dawoodi Bohras had made it compulsory for every community member to have an identification card with a unique bar code in 2003.
“The purpose of the card is to help every community member travelling anywhere in the world get access to the community musafirkhana (accommodation) and avail of benefits,” said community spokesperson Qureish Raghib.
However, sociologists said the implementation of such a system could be complicated. “The system of community cards is fraught with questions about inclusion, particularly for those who have married outside the community or those who have converted to Jainism,” said Kamala Ganesh, a sociologist at the Mumbai University.