Your history textbook must have told you about the 1893 Parliament of World Religions held in Chicago, famously attended by Swami Vivekanand. What you are probably unaware of is the presence of another Indian at the international event.
The man was Virchand Raghavji Gandhi, an erudite Jain scholar who was the first to introduce Jain philosophy to the western world. On Sunday, nearly 108 years after his death, the World Jain Confederation (WJC), along with the Postal Department of India, will release Gandhi’s stamp, at Vile Parle’s Bhaidas Maganlal Sabhagriha, to commemorate him.
“Vivekanand won most of the prestige of attending the Parliament of Religions, and today not even most Jains know who Gandhi is,” said Ila Shah, chief executive officer of the WJC, a charitable trust for Jains.
“Our attempt is to make known to today’s world, a man who changed the west’s perception of India as a land of cobras and uncultured heathen,” said Shah.
He toured America, giving more than 500 lectures that inspired many in his audience to embrace vegetarianism and non-violence.