Home History A Jain Sadhu’s Pilgrimage to Sindh (Part-V)

A Jain Sadhu’s Pilgrimage to Sindh (Part-V)

A Jain Sadhu’s Pilgrimage to Sindh (Part-V)
Cover page of the book authored by Jain Sadhu

One gentleman from Karachi came to Guruji for salutation. He stayed for a few days. After mutual acquaintance was developed, he requested Guru Maharaj to visit the Sindh region

Cover page of the Jain book
Cover page of the book authored by Jain Sadhu

[Editor’s Note: This is Part 05 (five) of a series of articles based on a pre-partition book named “મારી સિંધ યાત્રા” (“منهنجو سنڌ جو سفر”) in Gujarati authored by Jain Sadhu Shri Vidyavijayji, narrating his experiences of travel and stay in Karachi for about 2 and half a year between 1937 and 1939. It would be advisable to click on Introductory Article and read for better understanding of the series. – Nasir Aijaz, Editor Sindh Courier]

Vimal Shah, Mumbai

[Note by Vimal Shah: The literal translation of the term ‘Chaturmas’ is ‘4 months’. Jain Sadhus follow a code of conduct which prescribes them to keep going to different places giving sermons, except for the ‘Chaturmas’ i.e. the 4 months of monsoon when they must choose a particular village/town/city for stay. The ‘Chaturmas’ is a holy period during which the Jain community overwhelmingly participate in religious ceremonies and perform rituals. The term ‘Sangh’ is used for the Jain community, just like ‘Ummah’ for the Muslim community. Local Jain communities are referred as ‘Karachi Sangh’ or ‘Karachi Jain Sangh’. Jain Sadhus are also referred as ‘Muni’, ‘Muniraj’, ‘Maharaj’ or ‘Maharaj Saheb’]

“This incident happened more than 25 years ago. Chaturmas of Jagat-Poojya (world reverend) Guruev Shri Vijay Dharmasoori Maharaj was in Beawar (Rajasthan). One gentleman from Karachi came to Guruji for salutation. He stayed for a few days. Mutual acquaintance was developed. He requested Guru Maharaj to visit the Sindh region. He said: “We are not aware of any Jain Sadhu visiting the region in the history of thousands of years. There are a lot of difficulties involved, but only you will be able to venture and open the doors to Sindh.”

In our imagination Sindh was like a different world altogether. ‘Jain sadhus cannot at all go to Sindh

After that several years passed. Guruji also left for his heavenly abode, still the prominent leader of Karachi, Bhai Popatlal Shah (P.T. Shah) did not stop, and he consistently kept pleading. He and his friend Khushalbhai Vastachand kept on trying to get a Sadhu who can give sermons in Sindh, can endure hardships, and can impress upon non-Jains. The topic kept boiling in the Karachi Sangh (Jain community) as well. A feeling of getting Sadhus to visit Sindh at any cost arose amongst every community member. Since then, Bhai Popatlal met many times, and kept pleading through letters too.”

Deputation in Udaipur

A Jain Sadhu- Bhai P T Shah“In our imagination Sindh was like a different world altogether. ‘Jain sadhus cannot at all go to Sindh.’ ‘Sindh is like a satanic place.’ One must walk bare foot, cross the deserts, scarcity of alms, cross the jungles – a Jain Sadhu’s visit to Sindh can be said to be very dangerous in such a situation. Days passed by but the words of Shri Popatlal consistently kept buzzing in my ears and heart. There was also a favorable voice – “How fortunate would it be to get an opportunity to be the pioneer in visiting a territory not visited by Jain Sadhus for hundreds of years?” But anything that must happen at the destined time cannot be changed. After spending several years in Bengal, Magadh, Marwad, Mewad, Malwa, M.P., C.P., Khandesh, etc., when I revisited Gujarat, the Karachi chapter started once again. Pleadings of the Karachi Jain Sangh once again started. Having come to Gujarat after many years, it was impossible for me to suddenly leave Gujarat and go to another territory, but then who knows what’s in the store for future. After deciding to spend the next chaturmas in Patan, had to visit Abu for a few days, when a deputation of Udaipur came. Udaipur won in the tug-of-war between Patan and Udaipur. During the chaturmas at Udaipur, once again the pleadings of the Karachi Sangh started, notwithstanding a deputation of prominent leaders came to Udaipur. The prominent leaders being Sheth Kheemchand J. Panachand, Manilal Laherabhai Mehta, Shri P.T. Shah, Choonilalbhai Gujarati, and Chatrabhuj Velji.”


“Despite having rising feelings of entering a new territory, the grimness of traveling for a Sadhu like us walking barefoot was so scary, not allowing us to give an affirmative response easily. But after all human nature also plays a role. I could not leave the Karachi Jain Sangh totally disappointed, who was willing to spend thousands of rupees and eager to get their Gurus to Sindh at any cost – for the (spiritual) uplift of their religion, for displaying the bright face of Jainism in Sindh, and for delivering the message of ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) of Bhagwan Mahavir (24th and the last Tirthankar) to the ears of non-vegetarian population of Sindh. I felt I should go if my honorable brother-sadhu Shri Jayantvijayji accepts to come to Sindh. I conveyed my decision to the deputation and relaxed until we get the acceptance from Shri Jayantvijayji Maharaj.”

“The deputation went to the village in Marwad where Shri Jayantvijayji Maharaj was available. I had a condition with the deputation – ‘Even if Shri Jayantvijayji Maharaj agrees, then too I can come to Sindh via Marwad only after accomplishing my scheduled visit to the North-West region of Mewad.’”

Having come to Karachi empty handed in search of livelihood twenty-five – fifty or hundred years back, the community is well-off today and in good numbers

“Shri Jayantvijayji agreed but the destiny had something else in store. It took me more time in accomplishing travel in the hilly region of Mewad. By the time I escaped from Mewad and travel to Marwad before departing for Sindh, the temperatures rose to such levels that travel was not possible. Finally with the consent of Karachi Sangh, decided to spend one more chaturmas in Marwad.”

Miss the sword strike and Live a Hundred Years

“Hearts of the Sadhus who did not want to come to Sindh felt much at peace. ‘Aage Aage Gorakh Jaage’ (Let’s wait and watch). I stayed in Padiv in the Shirohi state and Muniraj Shri Jayantvijayji stayed in nearby Baldoot. We thought the eagerness of the Karachi Sangh of taking the Sadhus to Sindh would calm down within the next four to six months. But the pain of hunger cannot be sustained for long. The Karachi Sangh was hungry full to the brim. In their minds, the darshan and vyakhyan (sermons) of Muniraj was like the best of blessings of life. Having come to Karachi empty handed in search of livelihood twenty-five – fifty or hundred years back, the community is well-off today and in good numbers. Despite having infrastructures like Mandir, Upashray (place for performing religious rituals), Dharmashala, Vadis (Community Halls), many would not have even taken darshan of a Jain Sadhu. Some people would have just seen Jain Sadhus by chance while visiting their natives for events like wedding. In such a situation, what is the matter of surprise if the Karachi Sangh is so anxious to get darshan and sermons of their Gurus?”

“As soon as monsoon passed by the pressing demand started once again. Despite persuading the other Munirajs their hearts were not consenting. I was not getting the courage to travel to a distant and ferocious region like Sindh along with just one Sadhu. As a result, our group decided that – ‘we should drop the idea of Karachi and showing the impossibility of coming to Sindh to the Karachi Sangh, tell them to request someone else (other sadhus).’”

The Notice of Satyagraha

“It was the night of 4th January. I was staying in the Kheevanadi village in Marwad. Received two telegrams from Aeranpura Road. One telegram was from the Karachi Sangh having a request with insistence and informing the preparedness for deputation. The second one was from Chaturbhuj bhai, the grandson of renowned leader of a time, Sheth Kala Gala. In which a decision was announced – ‘if the request is not accepted, he and others would go on fasting.’ Many times, people have to pass through such crisis where no decision can be taken at that very moment. Having dropped the idea of Sindh we were planning to travel elsewhere when this bomb blasted suddenly. Whether the sender of the telegram and his friends go on fasting or not, there was no doubt that the pleadings of the Sangh and the gentleman and his friends giving notice of fasting, were from the bottom of their hearts.”

“Our hearts melted, we changed our minds, and we deliberated with fellow sadhus. Even their hearts melted to some extent. Finally, we decided to deliberate by staying in Shivganj for eight days and conveyed that to the Sangh.” (Continues – 6th Part will be published on Sunday)


About the contributor of the series of Articles based on the book

Jainism - Vimal Shah - Sindh CourierVimal Shah is a follower of Jainism by birth and is based in Mumbai, India. He is a Computer Engineer and holds a Diploma in Jainology from Mumbai University. He has immense interest in reading, writing, studying, and teaching Jain Philosophical subjects. He conducts classroom as well as on-line sessions on Jain Philosophical courses. He has created several power point presentations with animation which he uses while teaching and has participated in several Jain Community events to present and explain the relevant subjects to the visiting audience. He has significantly contributed to the translation, reviewing, and editing of the set of books ‘Compendium of Jainism’ of JAINA, USA from English to Gujarati – an initiative of the JAINA India Foundation. He is also associated with a Project for the translation of Jain Aagams (Scriptures) from Gujarati to English and continues to study various subjects and remains a student of Jain Philosophy. He has a special interest in the history and preservation of the Jain Heritage in Pakistan, and is associated with the Jain Heritage Foundation, New Delhi.

Click here for Part-I, Part-II, Part-III, Part-IV


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