THE announcement of the peaceful passing of HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has saddened us all.
His life has been one of service and duty. He was also a great supporter of the Jain community for more than 30 years.
In 1990, 30 eminent scholars produced the Jain Declaration on Nature, setting out fundamental Jain values, and emphasising how we are in harmony with the environment.
This work was presented to Prince Philip in his role as president of the World Wide Fund for Nature International, at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, with 21 Jain leaders and scholars from across the world. This marked the recognition of the Jain religion in the UK.
In 1995, the first full-scale exhibition of Jain art in Europe opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Institute of Jainology was the main organiser and secured the joint patronage of the Queen and Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, then president of India. Prince Philip opened the exhibition and is pictured (above) greeting the chairman of the Institute of Jainology, RP Chandaria.
In 1991, the Institute of Jainology undertook the work of cataloguing the Jain collection of the British Library. This mammoth project was managed by Berlin University’s Professor Chandrabhal Tripathi, and Professor Nalini Balbir of Sorbonne University, assisted by Dr Kanubhai Sheth and Dr Kalpnaben Sheth both from Ahmedabad, India.
When the catalogue was published in 2007, Prince Philip agreed that the international launch should take place at Buckingham Palace, in the presence of members of the international Jain community.
In these years, we have found Prince Philip to be a great supporter of the environment, of our community and of young people. His passing is a huge loss for the nation and his family. We pray that his soul finds eternal peace.
Nemu Chandaria is chairman of the Institute of Jainology.