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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Jain man takes vow as monk; renounces wife, daughter and Rs 100cr-property

The man and his wife sent shockwaves through their community after announcing their decision to become munis, and attracted a lot of criticism for leaving their three-year-old daughter.

bhopal Updated: Sep 23, 2017 23:24 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Sumit and Anamika Rathore (faces covered) at a religious ceremony. Sumit took his vows as a monk on Saturday.
Sumit and Anamika Rathore (faces covered) at a religious ceremony. Sumit took his vows as a monk on Saturday.(HT Photo)

Suspense over a Madhya Pradesh-based Jain couple, who hit national headlines for deciding to leave behind a three-year-old daughter and Rs 100 crore in property for monkhood, continued on Saturday after only the husband took his vows and the wife’s ceremony was postponed.

The ceremony was held at Vrindavan park in Surat Gujarat under Jain monk Acharya Ramlal Ji Maharaj, who christened 35-year old Sumit Rathore as Sumit Muni.

Ramlal said 34-year-old Anamika’s initiation would be held after completion of legal formalities but did not give a specific date, leading to speculation that condemnation across the nation, the Jain community and also from within the family, had influenced religious elders.

“This decision was in the best interest of the girl,” said RK Bhandari, a well-known doctor and community leader.

Many had spoken out against the decision and activists even complained to the National Human Rights Commission arguing that the move amounted to infringement of human rights of their minor daughter Ibhya.

The situation was unclear because on Friday, the couple signed an affidavit giving guardianship of Ibhya to Anamika’s father Ashok Chandliya, leading everyone to believe that both were going forward with the initiation.

Sumit’s cousin, Sandeep Rathore, who was strongly opposed to the move, told Hindustan Times that local government officials had spoken to community leaders and others on Friday night. “I am personally very satisfied with the postponement,” he said.

Sumit Rathore taking his vow of monkhood on Saturday.
Sumit Rathore taking his vow of monkhood on Saturday. ( HT Photo )

RTI activist Kapil Shukla told Hindustan Times that though he was not privy to activities within the Jain community, the delay in Anamika’s deeksha likely meant that it has been delayed for years, at least till her daughter grew up.

Akhil Bharatiya Sadhumargi Jain Shravak Sangh Neemuch district in-charge Sandeep Khabia, who was present in Surat at the deeksha ceremony, said it was held at 7:30 am in the presence of hundreds of Jain community members. Sumit’s head was shaved and he wore the white clothes of a monk. But he refused to comment when asked why Anamika’s initiation was postponed.

Jain spiritual leader, Maharaj Udai Muni, said the right to practise one’s religion was fundamental under the Constitution and that the state could not interfere in it.

Sumit and Anamika had decided to become monks when Ibhya was only eight months old and, as preparation, started living separately. The couple, who married four years ago, have taken a vow of silence.

First Published: Sep 23, 2017 17:07 IST

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