The Non-Gujarati Jains
"What is your name? Smrita Jain. Oh! So you must be guju? NO! I am NOT Gujarati. I am just plain simple Jain from New Delhi." I am always asked this question the moment another Indian, living in the USA, learns about my last name, Jain. Even though I laugh every time I am asked that question, it always seems very unsettling to me. And the reason why this question comes up is only that, it is preconceived and taken for granted that Jains primarily are Gujaratis, a northwestern state of India and there are many Jains from Gujarat. But the fact is that the state of Maharashtra has the most Jains living. There are Jain temples all over India, but the largest and the biggest Jain Dilwara temple actually exists in Rajasthan (India’s largest state), which shares the borders with Punjab to the north; Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the northeast; Madhya Pradesh to the southeast; Gujarat to the southwest, and Pakistan to the northwest. This notion that “all Jains are Gujaratis” is overshadowing the true representation of who Jains are and the religion Jainism. With my video presentation of the most basic practice of how the Jain priest performs the daily rituals and through his explanation of who Jains are no matter which state they belong to, will hopefully clear this misconception.