Jains In Society

Interviews with Jains from around the Globe

The Jain way of life manifests in unique circumstances around the world. Museum Rietberg and Arihanta Institute have collaborated to bring you 7 interviews in English with Jains from around the globe demonstrating how Jain principles are applied in everyday life.

Museum Rietberg in Zürich, Switzerland, is hosting a Jain art exhibition from November 18, 2022 to April 30, 2023. This exhibition uses Jain art to provoke thought, discussion, and action around some of society’s most pressing concerns such as the numerous social and environmental problems humanity faces in the 21st century.

Jain art expresses both context-bound socio-cultural values as well as seemingly universal wisdom. Our collaborative online interview project helps viewers understand how universal Jain wisdom such as non-violence (ahiṃsā) and non-possession (aparigraha) meet everyday situations in Jain life, whether at home in family life, on the job, or in one’s social environment.

The Jains featured in these interviews come from all walks of life and from many parts of the globe. Very real situations in their careers, homes, and social lives have presented them all with a variety of everyday challenges that required deep moral reflection and often difficult decision-making. Watch these interviews to see how contemporary Jains have negotiated these challenges in light of their Jain values, social identities, and commitment to non-violence (ahiṃsā).

As an exercise of self-reflection, we invite you, the viewer, to consider how Jain principles might apply in your own daily life. In light of the situations and circumstances you encounter in these interviews with members of the global Jain community, how might you have responded in each scenario? Furthermore, how might Jain principles of non-violence, non-possession, etc. help global society confront its manifold systemic and structural issues?

Views expressed by individuals interviewed for this project are personal and must be seen within the context of this exhibition. They are representative of a larger Jain community though do not speak for or on behalf of the community.

Interview Team

Johannes Beltz, PhD, Deputy Director, Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art
Harsha Vinay, Director, Green Barbet Ltd, India
Marion Frenger, Independent Researcher
Patrick Krueger, PhD, Research Associate, Ruhr University Bochum
Christopher Jain Miller, PhD, VP of Academic Affairs, Arihanta Institute
Parveen Jain, PhD, CEO, Arihanta Institute

Illustrations by Clara San Millán (www.clarasanmillan.com)