A well-educated Jain couple from Madhya Pradesh has decided to leave behind their three-year-old daughter and property "worth Rs 100 crore" to embrace monkhood under the 'Shwetambar' (white clad) order of their religion, according to their families.
Sumit Rathore (35), who had worked in London before managing his family business in Neemuch, and his wife Anamika (34), an engineer who was employed with a mining major, decided to renounce the material world recently, they said. Earlier this year, a Jain teenage boy from Gujarat, who had scored 99.99 percentile in class XII Commerce examination, took the vow of monkhood.
The couple will be initiated in Jain monasticism at a ceremony to be held in Surat on September 23 by Sudhamargi Jain Acharya Ramlal Maharaj.
Their family members today said the couple has been married for four years and has a daughter.
Currently, they have taken a vow of silence till they take 'deeksha' (vow) next Saturday. As per the monkhood tradition, their heads will be shaved and they will put on white robes for their entire life, as per the practice of monks and nuns of the Shwetambar sect.
The couple will start wearing mouth-clothes as per the tradition after the deeksha ceremony. The mouth cloth is worn by Jain hermits so that they do not swallow any living creature like flies etc. Even by an accident while they are talking.
Anamika's father Ashok Chandaliya, a former Neemuch district president of the BJP, said he would take care of his grand-daughter. "I am not against my daughter Anamika becoming a nun," he said.
Sumit's father Rajendra Singh, who runs a factory manufacturing gunny bags for packaging cement, also echoed a similar view.
Sumit and Anamika decided to renounce the material world for spiritual pursuits when their daughter was just eightmonth old, said Sumit's cousin Sandip Rathore.
Sumit announced his decision to take 'deeksha' at a function attended by Acharya Ramlal at Surat last month.
"However, the pontiff asked him to seek Anamika's permission. She not only gave her consent but also expressed desire to become a nun. Their families asked them to rethink, but the couple stood their ground," Sandip said.
He said Anamika was the first student in Neemuch district to win a gold medal in her Board examinations for class VIII.
According to a family member, she did her B.E from Modi Engineering College at Laxmangarh in Sikar in Rajasthan. She had worked with Hindustan Zinc before her marriage. Sandip said Sumit holds a diploma in import-export management from a college in London, where he worked for two years before returning to Neemuch to look after his family business.
He claimed Sumit owns properties "running into Rs 100 crore". Jainism emphasises on non-violence and vegetarianism and is followed by less than one per cent of the country's total population.