Manchester's Jain Community

- - posted in Ancient Archives

Arteth and I went along to a Vegetarian Week event at the Jain Community Centre that had been advertised (rather minimally) on the Manchester Vegan Society mailing list. We weren’t that sure what the event actually was, but it sounded interesting and we were curious about Jainism in Manchester.

I was at first surprised that Manchester even had a Jain community - Jainism is so often described as being a relatively tiny religion in India that it’s easy to miss the fact that India is a very large, very populated country: in India 0.42% of the population is a lot of people. Jains are famous for their ethical, pacifist principles, Ahiṃsā (although historically there have been Jain warriors and armies). Jainism has been very influential in Indian history and culture.

The event was a series of short presentations by a variety of vegetarian and vegan speakers, from the Young Indian Vegetarians, Hare Krishna movement, Viva, Quakers, a Hindu religious/educational organisation (that I’ve unfortunately forgotten the name of), Joni Purmonen from MVS and, and the founder of the Freshfields animal sanctuaries. The Jain community were very friendly and welcoming, and we were given a tour of the centre, including the temple. The centre is a meeting place and temple for local Jain families but is also used by other groups in the area, including for sports. The Jain religion is very keen on vegetarianism and pacifism, but also animal welfare - Manchester’s Jain community funds animal sanctuaries.