The 100th birthday of Manu Doshi, an Indian-American community activist and philanthropist, was celebrated June 22, at the Jain Center in Bartlett, Illinois.
Community activist, philanthropist, and Jain scholar Manu Doshi turned 100 this year, and his birthday was celebrated June 22, 2019, at the Jain Center in Bartlett, Illinois. (Photo courtesy Doshi family and the Indira M. Doshi Memorial Trust)
This first-of-its-kind event celebrated Doshi’s continued activism despite his age, and his contribution as a Jain scholar in North America, as well as being the founding pioneer of the Jain Center in Bartlett, a ‘magnificent’ Jain Temple that boasts a life membership of more than 4,000 devotees, organizers said in a press release.
A cake cutting was followed by tributes from those who have known Doshi and his work, followed by a dinner and entertainment program.
Manubhai, as he is affectionately called, was born at Mahuva, Gujarat, on December 27, 1919. He earned bachelor and master’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Bombay in 1941 and 1953 respectively. Thereafter he worked for the Government of India, retiring in the late 1970’s from the Government of Gujarat.
He married Indira Doshi in 1943. They immigrated to the United States in the late 1970’s, and along with their four children, are settled in the Chicagoland area.
Dr. Ashok Doshi, the eldest son, is a Cardiothoracic surgeon. Dr. Niranjana Shah, their daughter, is an Internist. Chetan Doshi, one of the twins, is an electronics engineer in a technology company. Dipak Doshi, the youngest son, is an industrial microbiologist and an entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical industry.
When he lost his wife in 1982, it was a turning point in his life and he decided to devote himself to researching and promoting the Jain way of life. In her memory he created a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (Indira M. Doshi Memorial Trust) that he founded with the help of his children in 1987. The trust provides non-profit assistance to the needy for education, medical services, disaster relief, and in promoting a ‘Jain Way of Life’. His contributions to the North American Jain community, specifically to Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago (JSMC) and JAINA, are immense.
At the age of 100, Doshi attributes his health partly to his disciplined Jain lifestyle, including meditation.
He is the first Jain scholar to be selected by JAINA for recording a Jain education lecture by the faculty of Claremont-Lincoln University in California for establishing the first department for studies of Jainism in this country. He has given numerous talks throughout the United States and India. In 1990 he founded a monthly Jain magazine, Jain darshan, and even to-date remains its Chief Editor. in 1995, he became a regional editor for Jain Digest, a position which he held for many years.
Using the platform of his non-profit trust, he published his first book, Essence of Jainism, in 1992. Since then, he has published several more books, including Dev Vandan, Samayika, Spiritual Code and Restraints, Jain Stories of Ancient Times, Pilgrimage to Shatrunjay, Atmasiddhi, Rajgeeta, Jivankala, Apoorva Avasar, Tattvartha Sutra, Mokshmala, Ajnabhaki, and Pushpmala, as well as elaborate articles including Call for Unity and Letter of Six Fundamentals. He has prepared translation and transliteration of Samvatsari Pratikraman in English along with explanation. All of his published works are available free of charge, both in book format and online.
He has been awarded the JAINA RATNA award, at the 13th Biennial JAINA Convention held in San Francisco in July 2005. He is one of the only nine recipients in the USA to have received this award. To this day, he continues his work for the advancement and education of Jainism.