Joe Biden wishes members of Jain faith; launches campaign to woo Hindus in US


Democratic presidential candidate and former US vice president Joe Biden took to Twitter to greet the Jain community on the concluding day of Paryushan and Daslakshan festival.

In his tweet, Biden also wrote the Sanskrit phrase “Micchami Dukkadam,” which is used by Jains to seek forgiveness.

“May we all find peace and reconciliation in our lives. Michhami Dukkaddam and Kshamavani!” Biden said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Paryushan, the main festival of Jain community, is an annual 8 to 10-day period of fasting and meditation for Jain worshippers. The Jain communttiy is divided into two major sects. The Svetambara Jains celebrate the festival for 8 days while the Digambara Jains for 10 days. Paryushan is also popularly known as Daslakshan Parva.

Jain Acharya and founder of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti Acharya, Lokesh Muni, welcomed Biden’s message.

“Thanks a lot Mr Biden for your kind wishes on this holy occasion. We should be courageous enough to realise mistakes and ask forgiveness, (and be) gracious enough to forgive,” the Jain Acharya tweeted.

Over 150,000 Jains live in the United States, which is the community’s largest population outside India. The most significant time of Jain immigration was in the early 1970s. The United States has since become a center of the Jain diaspora.

In 1893, Virchand Gandhi was officially the first Jain delegate to visit the United States, and represented Jainism in the first ever Parliament of World Religions. Gandhi is considered a key figure in the history of American Jainism as the first practicing Jain to speak publicly in the United States about the religion.

The Biden campaign also announced the launch of ‘Hindu Americans for Biden,’ as part of its efforts to attract the over two million members of the community in the US and address their issues, including hate crimes.

Hinduism is the fourth largest faith in the US, which represented approximately 1% of the US population in 2016.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, Indian-American Congressman from Illinois, is scheduled to address the first meeting of ‘Hindus for Biden’ on Thursday, the organisers said on Tuesday.

The move from the Biden campaign comes after the Trump campaign on August 14 announced the formation of the ‘Hindu Voices for Trump.’

(With agency inputs)

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