Austin | Dallas | Houston
First time in Houston

Jaina convention meets for networking and, maybe, marriage?

News_Jaina Convention_July 2011
Opening procession at the 16th Annual Jaina 2011 Convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center Photo by Ruchi Mukherjee
News_Jaina Convention_July 2011
Samniji chant prayers Photo by Ruchi Mukherjee
News_Jaina Convention_July 2011_Sarika Sanghvi_Sona Sanghvi
Sarika Sanghvi, left, and Sona Sanghvi Photo by Ruchi Mukherjee
News_Jaina Convention_July 2011_Ami Domadia_Heena Domadia
Ami Domadia, left, and Heena Domadia Photo by Ruchi Mukherjee

More than 3,000 people from all parts of the United States and India gathered over the weekend at the 16th Annual Jaina 2011 Convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center. They met to network and take part in religious, business, and health care activities. Also high on the list: find a Soulmate with a common background.

One of the oldest religious sects of India, Jainism has existed side by side with Hinduism throughout its long history. With more than 750 Jain families in Houston, the convention demonstrated its remarkable tenacity and endurance and made an attempt to exert an influence far beyond its small numbers.

 "One of the main purposes of the convention is to provide a platform for young Jains and try to connect them with suitable prospects for marriage."

 Jainism derives from a Sanskrit word meaning 'follower of the Jina, or conqueror' that was established in the sixth century BC by the Indian sage Mahavira. This community is the oldest continually surviving monastic community in the world with a very strict practice of vegetarianism and non-violence.

It was the first time the convention was held in Houston.

"Our biennial convention has a long and proud history of bringing Jains together for networking with religious leaders, academic scholars and researchers," said Houston-based entrepreneur Swatanra Jain, fundraising committee member of the Jain Convention. "One of the main purposes of the convention is to provide a platform for young Jains and try to connect them with suitable prospects for marriage."

With the theme, "Live and Help Live," the convention kicked off on Friday at the Hilton Americas-Houston with "Swagatam," a welcome program by the Jain Society of Houston that included a talent competition, Garba and Bhangra dances and Bollywood performances. Early morning weekend sessions included a strict Jain breakfast with yoga, meditation and Zumba and Bollywood-inspired exercises.

A spectacular temple-like structure was created inside of the convention center where the visitors witnessed a grand temple procession of dignitaries, Jaina presidents and spiritual leaders from the Jain center. 

The age group of those participating in the convention ranged from early teens to the late 70s. More than 300 young Jains took part in a vibrant program organized by Jain Networking Forum coordinator Arpan Shah and Dr.Vijay Mehta that encouraged them to seek out their life partner amid other Jain singles. Sona Sanghvi, 24, who participated in the forum, said that several activities were designed for Jain singles who are looking to meet others for friendship and marriage. 

"Vijay Uncle made the sessions very interesting with icebreakers, along with lectures on what they should do when looking for a partner, with topics that ranged from relationship discussions, career development, and ways to apply Jainism in our modern society," Sanghvi said.

While there are no statistics to show who clicked with who at the convention when it ended on Monday, Sanghvi said that the convention was a great way of making new connections, providing a variety of dating options within the Jain community.

Ruchi Mukherjee is a lifestyle feature journalist for TV Asia and host of online magazine Lights Camera Action that covers Houston Indo-American society news.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address

Vote Now
Select CultureMap's 2015 Charity Partner

Part of our mission at CultureMap is to shine a light on all the good work Houston non-profits do to make our city a better place to live. That's why we're bringing back the CultureMap Charity Challenge presented by Yellow Cab.

Help us select our 2015 charity partner by voting once a day, every day, until February 20 at midnight.

CultureMap Houston 2015 Charity Challenge January 2015 Alzheimer's 270 by 202 pixels