THE MONK WHO SHOCKED HIS WORLD
Jain couple give up 3-year-old daughter, property worth Rs 100 crore to become monks
- TEAM PT
Jain couple give up 3-year-old daughter, property worth Rs 100 crore to become monks



A Jain couple from Madhya Pradesh has decided to leave behind their three-year-old daughter and property worth around Rs 100 crore to become munis (monks), stunning the community that is no stranger to acts of renunciation.
 
Sumit Rathore, 35, and his wife Anamika, 34, will reportedly take deeksha under Sudhamargi Jain Acharya Ramlal Maharaj at Surat on September 23. Deeksha is the first step that the couple will take to become monks. The duo made the announcement on August 22 in Surat.
 
Their decision has sent shockwaves across hometown Neemuch, about 400km northwest of state capital Bhopal, where their families are established in politics and business.

The first question on the lips of incredulous Neemuch residents is: what about their daughter, Ibhya?

"I will take care of my granddaughter,” said Anamika’s father, Ashok Chandaliya, a former Neemuch district president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
 
While many wonder why the couple would give up so much for monkhood, especially their daughter, Chandaliya said that the family did try to convince them to drop the idea but to no avail. "We had no counter to their religious arguments and relented. One cannot stop anyone when religion calls," Chandaliya added. In fact, the families had rushed to Surat after the announcement to convince the couple not to take the step.
 
The couple got married four years ago and had reportedly already hinted at going on a spiritual quest when their daughter was just eight months old. In preparation, they had started living separately and finally announced their decision to the family on August 22.
 
Not just the parents, the relatives of the duo are also shocked at the couple's decision and still wish that they would change their minds. Sumit's cousin, Sandeep said: "He had everything that a man wanted. Property worth around Rs 100 crore, a loving wife and a daughter. But he chose to renounce everything. We are stunned."

In preparation, the couple has taken a vow of silence until the deeksha.
 
Prakash Bhandari, a leading Jain community member in Neemuch, said as far as he knew, this decision was unprecedented. "This is the first time that such a young couple is taking deeksha and that too by leaving behind a daughter,” added Bhandari, secretary of Sadhumargi Jain Shravak Sangh.
 
Another young devotee who decided to embrace monkhood was 17-year-old Varshil Shah, who now goes by the name of Suvirya Ratna Vijayji Maharaj. The Ahmedabad resident hit headlines in June when he decided to be a monk after scoring 99.9 percentile in his class 12 exams.
 
India has quite a large Jain population who are known to follow various customs and traditions. Some of these traditions have often made news and even slammed for being extremely stringent. In October last year, a 13-year-old girl Aradhana Samdariya from Secunderabad died after ending her 68-day fast, which is a part of the tapasya ritual. While the ritual taken up by the teen was on her own will, her death put her parents in negative light and it was even said that the parents might have forced her to fast. Later, Jain leaders spoke in support of the parents and said that their religion was being defamed.
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