Profile of the Month | Swatantra Jain
At the recent 2011 JAINA Convention, Lights Camera Action’s (LCA) Ruchi Mukherjee caught up with Houston entrepreneur, philanthropist, and fundraising committee of the Jain Convention member Swatantra Jain for a brief Q&A.
Swatantra Jain has over 30 plus years of experience in International Trade and has held various leadership positions with Vinmar International Ltd, Houston. Graduated from University of Delhi, India with a Honors degree in Accounting, he is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
Like many immigrants, after establishing a flourishing career in the United States Jain got actively involved with various non-profit organizations in Houston. Swatantra is the founding member and Chairman of JVB Preksha Meditation Center, Houston and is at present serving as the President of Pratham Houston Chapter, providing education to unprivileged children in India.
Swatantra has been married to his wife Bimla for now forty years and they are proud parents of two sons.
Q. According to you what are the most important values for the younger generation?
A. I would say pursuit of success and happiness in life. While some young couples achieve success sometimes there is a lot of negativity and that creates stress and they become less tolerant which eventually leads to divorce.
To me that is so unfortunate and a lot of them do not even care to get married and have a family. In our Jainism, Lord Mahavira gave to the world a new word called Anekantwad – means multiplicity of views. There are many truths of a point of view. At JVB Preksha Meditation Center we have conducted workshops on the power and benefit of Tolerance and I plan, that this year, we will start a certification course on Power of Tolerance which is very much needed for our younger generation.
Q. You have given back to the community in many ways. Explain what does that mean to you.
A. As successful members of the community, we have a responsibility to help those that are less fortunate and contribute to the common good. Giving back to the community gives you a pleasant feeling of connectedness and the satisfaction of at least trying to make the world a better place.
I would love to share Dalai Lama’s saying that if you want happiness practice compassion and if you want others to be happy practice compassion. I always received great satisfaction when sharing wealth and knowledge.
I often encourage my community to give generously to various charities as you might be surprised at the benefits you reap.
Q. Tell us about the recent 2011 JAINA Convention.
A. Our biennial conventions have a long and proud history of bringing Jains together for networking with scholars, researchers, businessmen and spiritual and religious leaders.
For me the most exciting event at the convention was the grand temple opening ceremony with Jain nuns and monks conducting workshops and lectures on Jain values of life, which focus on non violence, peace and happiness.