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Saturday, 2nd December 2023


Photo: Mr. Keshavji Rupshi Shah performing his daily Samaik. He has dedicated his life to the building of an ethical community and keeping the Jain roots alive outside India. 

The Jain community in the UK has been most fortunate to have such pristine culture and values, which are perfect for the twenty-first century and beyond. We have our elders and parents to thank for retaining our culture and bringing us to these shores. Our success has been really built on the values that they brought to these shores, and the East African history is also very relevant to our establishment in Britain.

The London Metropolitan Archive has shown an interest in capturing our history and storing it for the purposes of research and preservation for future generations. They have generously invited community leaders and patrons to their headquarters in central London, near Kings Cross/Farringdon station, on 18th May 2010 at 2.30pm to 4.30pm. The actual address is: 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB. They have successfully done such projects with the Chinese community and the Afro-Carribean community and are keen to engage with all London communities. They have also hosted successful conferences and seminars on migration, involving young people from these communities. Their website is here, and directions of how to get here are also on this site.

We will be inviting key community leaders to this meeting to understand the work of the archive and gather the views of members of our community. If there is a warm feeling, and the LMA are convinced that we have good quality material, then they will give us further support and training to help with the collection of memories and histories. The urgency of this project cannot be over-emphasised. We are losing the older generation and their memories very fast, and need to do something about it now.

The beauty of an archive project is that it can captivate the young people and encourage them to understand their roots and capture them creatively. So the legacy of this project lies in the present, not just the future. We have already received endorsements for this project from Dr. Peter Flugel, the exceptional Director of the Centre for Jaina Studies at SOAS and Mira Kamdar, author of the outstanding Jain roots story, Motiba's Tattoos which was serialised in Jain Spirit magazine.

If anyone is interested in this project, we would love to hear from you. In particular, we are looking for volunteers who can give time to mobilise the interest in this project and help pass on the baton of our cultural and community heritage. Please email: atulATdiverseethics.com in the first instance, no later than 15th April 2010. If you want, you can bring one letter or object which has special memories for you to share with the group. An easy example that comes to mind is the story book biography of Mr. Meghji Pethraj Shah.

Article added on 22nd March 2010 at 8:49pm
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