A successful business, 100-crore property and a three-year-old daughter. This Jain couple from Madhya Pradesh had everything, but one day they decided to renounce it all and become monks. Evidently it came as a tremendous shock to everyone.
More so, because they displayed no qualms in abandoning their toddler daughter and evading parental responsibility.
Yesterday, with the formalities completed, Sumit and Anamika Rathore finally embraced monkhood to set out on the journey for salvation, while putting their daughter Ibhya in the care of her maternal grandparents.
An affluent Jain couple from MP adopted monkhood after renouncing property worth an estimated Rs 100 crore https://t.co/iTSiEUgk7r— News18 (@CNNnews18) September 26, 2017
Many argued that this is inhuman of the parents to leave a child alone at the mercy of others? Ever since this news emerged, the couple's decision has met with rampant criticism on the internet with many saying that the move amounts to cruelty towards the child.
I think it's very cruel & insensitive to leave a toddler when she most needs her parents at this tender age.What if child turns Atheist?— DonaBarrettoPrabhune (@dona3659) September 27, 2017
This is sad, they are abandoning their responsibility towards their daughter. They should have become monks before having kids— RahulG for PM2019 (@magaxiom) September 18, 2017
What's the fault of the baby. You could have taken decision 4yrs back and the child would have been saved from this torture.— Sandy (@tobesandy) September 26, 2017
Most inhumane, selfcentered, irresponsible decision. Can't dump a tiny kid like this. Where are the human rights NGOs now?— DonaBarrettoPrabhune (@dona3659) September 27, 2017
Critics have argued that running away from parental responsibility in the name of god, is no excuse. As parents, it is imperative to understand that there's one more life involved which is dependent upon them, they say. Sure, the relatives might be well capable of taking excellent care of the kid given their affluence, but it's no match for a parent's love and care. Is depriving a minor child of her right to parental love dharma?
With all due respects to sentiments, Is protection & proper upbringing of progeny not the first dharma of a grihastha?— Chandrashekhar (@Chandra46) September 18, 2017
Amid such opposition, Anamika's father has justified her daughter's decision and told Hindustan Times:
“I will take care of my granddaughter. We had no counter to their religious arguments and relented. One cannot stop anyone when religion calls."
Seems like his rationale might have convinced a few, as opposing views also came to the fore
As long as they have made arrangements for the daughter to be well looked after, why does it matter when they chose to become monks?— Onkar Joshi (@joshio) September 18, 2017
It is not a Q about duty. It is a Q about who is going to take care. Who took care of Buddha's children and wife?— Shivakumar Gurumurth (@GSKMRGURU) September 18, 2017
They have made requisite arrangements for the daughter she will be given best care under her paternal uncle..— apoorva kothari (@apoorva_1994) September 27, 2017
Jain scholars and leader back the couple
Jain scholars are vehemently defending their decision and don't see anything wrong with it.
Dr. Bipin Doshi, a teacher of Jain philosophy at the University of Mumbai, dubbed the entire controversy around the matter irrelevant.
''It's a personal decision. As long as there are proper arrangements for the kid, there shouldn't be a problem. This act might not be socially appropriate, but from a religious/spiritual point of view it is right. Society might give a lot of opinions but we are no one to judge them and their feelings. Things like smoking/drinking are not appropriate but doesn't society accept it?" Doshi told ScoopWhoop News over the phone.
''Gautam Buddha also abandoned his wife and child, will you question him too? Sometimes, in matters of religion and spirituality there is no logic, but we still do it'', he further said.
Jain monk Sagarchandra Maharaj from Gujarat told ScoopWhoop News, that it is a welcome step and the Jain community stands by the couple.
''Taking deeksha is a highly revered tradition and if someone willingly takes it up, there should absolutely be no problem. Even if the kid was inside the womb of the mother and if his father wanted diksha (with due permission of the mother), no one should ask him anything. In this case, the child is 3-years-old,'' he said.
Maharaj also pointed out that Jains who understand their religion will never question the couple's decision.
''Also, if there had been no appropriate arrangement for the child, it would have been really unfair, no doubt. In Jainism you should take Diksha only after you have taken care of all your responsibilities. So, if you have provided suitable arrangement for her, I see no problem. In this case, all her relatives have come forward to take care of the child'', he told ScoopWhoop News.
When asked of isn't unfair for the child to not get parental care, he said that within Jain community there is abundant love and support and a child receives the same affection as he or she would from a parent.
''Our societal construct is such that a kid will be taken good care of. In fact, this kid is quite lucky that her parents have attained diksha'', he concludes.
Earlier this year, a Jain teenage boy from Gujarat, who had scored 99.99 percentile in Class 12 Commerce examination, took the vow of monkhood, sending shockwaves across India.