Report on Muni Jambuvija's fatal accident

franco at RZ.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE franco at RZ.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE
Wed Dec 23 04:27:15 EST 2009


Dear all,
I copy below a detailed report by Ms. Hiroko Matsuoka on Muni  
Jambuvijayaji's fatal accident, if indeed it was an accident. The  
report (in PDF form) also contains some photos that I was unble to  
copy into the email. Anyone interested in these photos can contact me  
off the list.
With best wishes,
Eli Franco

Param Pujya Munishri Jambuvijayji Maharaj Saheb*
Hiroko Matsuoka
(PhD Student, Hiroshima University, Japan)
Ahmedabad, 17th December 2009
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Summary of the event
Param Pujya Munishri Jambuvijayji Maharaj Saheb, seven other monks, seven nuns
and I left Nakoda (Barmer District, Rajasthan (RJ)) for Jaisalmer (RJ) on 9
November 2009 on pilgrimage, when on the fourth day, the road accident  
occurred.
At 6:55 AM on 12 November 2009 on the Balotra-Barmer road, Muni Jambuvijayji
and three of his disciples were brutally hit by a speeding jeep from  
behind. At that
time, I was walking with the nuns at a distance of four kilometers  
ahead of the
monks. As soon as we heard of the accident, we rushed back and found  
four monks
lying in a pool of blood on the road. Munishri Jambuvijayji  
(eighty-seven years old)
and his disciple Namaskarvijayji (thirty-four years old) were already  
dead and cold.
Their bodies were cremated on 13 November 2009 in Shankheshvar (Patan  
District,
North Gujarat (GJ)).
Circumstances**
9 November:
Eight monks, seven nuns, one assistant, one driver and I started the  
pilgrimage
towards Jaisalmer from Nakoda (Barmer District, RJ). We walked about 15 km in
the morning and evening and stayed overnight at a school near Tilwala.
10 November:
We walked 15 km and stayed overnight at a school in a small village north of
Tilwala.
11 November:
We walked 15 km and stayed overnight at a school about 13 km east of Baitu on
the Balotra-Barmer Rd.
12 November:
5:30 AM
Jinendraprabhushriji, the other six nuns and I left the school for  
Baitu (Barmer
District, RJ).
6:30 AM
The eight monks left the school. Jambuvijayji led his group by taking  
the hands of
both Dharmagoshvijayji and Himavantvijayji. Namaskarvijayji followed  
these three
monks with a wheelchair in order to assist Jambuvijayji whenever  
necessary. The
1
other four monks walked slowly with an aged disciple Dharmachandravijayji, who
was using a wheelchair. An assistant and a driver, after cleaning up  
the rooms of
the school where the monks and the nuns stayed the previous night,  
followed the
monks, one by a bike and the other by a truck.
6:55 AM
According to Himavantvijayji, who was the only eyewitness, the four monks, who
were walking together on the left edge/side of the road, were hit by a  
speeding
Toyota Qualis from behind. Namaskarvijayji was killed instantly. At  
that time, the
car as well as the wheelchair, onto which Namaskarvijayji rolled, caused
Jambuvijayji to topple over Namaskarvijayji. Jambuvijayji?s head was  
hit very hard,
and his stomach and bones were crushed, but he still breathed unconsciously.
Dharmagoshvijayji, who was taking Jambuvijayji by the left hand, was knocked
unconscious and both his legs were crushed. Himavantvijayj, who was taking
Jambuvijayji by the right hand, was severely injured in the legs and  
unable to move,
but was screaming for help. The Toyota Qualis came to a stop about 50m away
from the scene after hitting them, and four of its passengers ran away  
into the
bushes.
7:00 AM
According to Himavantvijayji, Jambuvijayji stopped breathing. No aid  
was available.
7:10 AM
According to Pundarikaratnavijayji, Pundarikaratnavijayji and the  
other three monks,
who were one kilometer behind Jambuvijayji and the other three monks, reached
the scene of the accident by foot.
7:20 AM
A driver informed us that there was a serious accident in which some monks had
been crushed by a jeep, while others sustained serious injuries.  
Greatly shocked by
such tragic news, all of the nuns and I, who were approximately 4 km  
ahead of the
scene of the accident, rushed back to the scene almost running the entire way,
breathlessly. It was a horrible scene to see Munishri Jambuvijayji and
Namaskarvijayji lifeless and the old monk Dharmaghoshvijayji almost  
unconscious,
as he was dragged about five meters by the speeding car.
8:00 AM
The police came from Baitu, approximatley 12 km away (Barmer District, RJ). At
the same time, an ambulance car arrived from Balotra (Barmer District,  
RJ), some
35 km away. Only Dharmaghoshvijayji and Himavantvijayji were taken in an
ambulance to the hospital, and the dead bodies of Jambuvijayji and
Namaskarvijayji were taken to Nakoda by car. Since I had a camera, the police
asked me to take two photographs of Namaskarvijayji on the road and a
photograph of Jambuvijayji in the car.
8:30 AM
We reached a hospital in Balotra.
2
9:00 AM
The bodies of the deceased monks were kept uncovered for darshan for  
visitors and
devotees at the Nakoda Parshvanath Jain Derasar located 12 km away  
from Balotra.
There was a heated discussion that the bodies of these monks should be  
cremated
at Nakoda, since they were there for the entire rainy season (01.&+'!$1).
Nevertheless, various samgha leaders finally decided to take the dead  
bodies to
Shankheshvar where Munishri Bhuvanvijayji (Guru and Father of  
Jambuvijayji) was
cremated.
13 November:
1:00 AM
We left Nakoda for Shankheshvar by car and traveled about 350 kilometers.
7:00 AM
We reached the Agama Mandir in Shankheshvar, where the bodies were kept for
darshan.
3:30 PM
The bodies were set on separate palanquins (,!)1>"").
4:00 PM
The funeral march (13.#'16!.+1/,!)1>""6!.+1) proceeded towards a crematorium
($1'!/"#) 2 km away from the Agama Mandir via the Shankheshvar Parshvanath
Jain Derasar. Thousands of people from all corners of India were present.
5:00 PM
The cremations (1?3#$1!$>!+1) started.
9:30 PM
The cremations ended.
14 November:
Their bones were collected into small cans. Jambuvijayji's ashes were  
divided into
hundreds of packages for gifts for the condolers.
18 November:
The Tapagaccha Jain order, to which Jambuvijayji belonged, held a Requiem Mass
(?&"!3&9!/1% $1'("!). At the mass, the chief monk of the Tapagaccha
(.1,!?100"!/"#,1.#%!0!+61) accused the Anoop Mandal of the accident.
28 November:
Five monks including Himavantvijayji, seven nuns, one driver and three  
assistants
left Shankhesvar for Patan (North GJ).
29 November:
I joined the pilgrimage from Mujapur, 12 km away from Shankheshvar, to Patan.
3
2 December:
Everyone safely reached the the Sagar Jain Upashraya in Patan. From  
there, I left
for Ahmedabad.
12 December:
9:00 AM
A Requiem Mass (?&"!3&9!/1% $1'("!) was held at the Sagar Jain Upashraya in
Patan.
3:00 PM
A memorial service (3199!"&!% ,+1>!+"% ,#5!) was performed at the Pancasar
Parshvanath Jain Derasar in Patan.
Present Condition
Dharmaghoshvijayji, who was hospitalized in Jodhpur (RJ) after the  
accident, has
since regained consciousness and will hopefully be able to leave the  
hospital this
January. The other monks and nuns are expected to settle in Patan for not less
than one year in order to study with local pundits in the hopes of  
someday fulfilling
Jambuvijayji?s last desire. Jambuvijayji was adequately prepared for  
the manuscript
scanning project in Jaisalmer from December 2009 to March 2010, as he was in
Patan from February to June 2009.
The hit-and-run driver was caught by the police of Baitu on 12th November, but
unbelievably, after only ten days of being detained, the driver was  
released on bail.
The police have not confirmed whether or not he is a member of the  
Anoop Mandal
or even if he is an actual criminal.
Social Repercussions
Prior to this accident, four nuns were also killed in a road accident  
near Mahesana
(North GJ) on 9 November 2009. Most people in the Jain community do  
not believe
that the Jain monks and nuns were killed by simple misfortune, but strongly
suspect that the Gujarat-based anti-Jain cult group ?Anoop Mandal? was  
involved in
these unnatural deaths. One easily finds sensational articles  
headlined ''It was not
an accident (1>1$'!.) but a plot (#1$613.+1)!'' or ''Who is the  
criminal?'', etc. in
various newspapers and magazines. As mentioned above, the chief monk of the
Tapagaccha officially accused the Anoop Mandal of the incident at the  
Mass. Even
on the short journey from Shankheshvar to Patan, the group that had  
been with the
now deceased Jambuvijayji were very frightened that members of the Anoop
Mandal might attack them. All the members of the group suggested that  
I avoid the
pilgrimage, as members of the Anoop Mandal might know of my presence from the
newspapers. However, I joined them again with strong will and  
confidence, and the
pilgrimage turned out to be safe.
On the contrary, most non-Jains as well as the police seem to perceive  
the accident
very lightly, as one of many accidents which occur all over India.  
Unfortunately,
4
they do not realize that this accident has taken the precious life of  
a saint who was
noble, knowledgeable and highly respected among intellectuals all over  
the world.
My analyses or impressions
I cannot judge whether the incident was an accident or premeditated  
murder, as I
was 4 km away from the scene when the accident happened, and I am also a
foreigner. On the one hand and as far as I could tell at the scene of  
the accident,
the following circumstances would lead me to believe the incident was  
an accidental
homicide: 1) With the distant range of the small hills behind the  
Nakoda-Badmer Rd,
the car may have come from the hills in an accelerated speed and out  
of control; 2)
Approximately fifteen minutes after sunrise, the bright and white  
color of the sky
blended with the white clothes of the Jain monks and nuns, and therefore the
monks may not have been sighted in time for the driver to avoid  
hitting them; and
3) The driver of the Toyota Qualis was driving at an exceedingly high  
speed and
could not slow down in time to prevent hitting the monks. Needless to  
say, none of
the monks were at fault for what happened.
On the other hand, these conditions do not easily answer a pertinent  
question: Why
was it that Jambuvijayji, who was walking at the safest point in the  
middle of the
group on the corner of road, was the most injured by the car? The  
driver must have
already seen the group of four monks that were one km behind Jambuvijayji and
had safely passed them. Why did the driver knock over Jambuvijayji's  
group? For
these reasons, this accident remains a mystery and is in need of further
investigation by the authorities.
Lastly, I would like to offer my humble opinion. As a Japanese student who has
been studying in India for the last two years, I am greatly impressed  
by the Jain
mendicants, who walk from place to place regardless of cold or hot  
temperatures.
People normally pay a lot of respect to them. However, this incident  
has opened my
eyes to two major problems: the government in general does not enforce  
road rules
very strictly, and the Jain mendicants, although usually taken very  
good care of by
the Jain community, increasingly face difficulties in finding proper  
accommodation
in small villages on their pilgrimages.
I strongly wish and feel that the Indian people and the government  
must make the
roads safer and enforce strict laws without hesitation. Traffic law  
and order is very
poorly enforced in India. Moreover, one can get a four-wheeled vehicle  
driver?s
license without being tested first, and by giving some money if one  
already owned a
two-wheeled vehicle. Therefore, most car drivers are untrained and  
pose as serious
threats to two-wheeled vehicle drivers and walkers. Meanwhile, as a remarkable
development in the Indian economy, well-surfaced roads are being constructed
everywhere, and the middle class can purchase cheap cars such as TATA NANO. I
am not surprised to read newspapers reporting many vehicle accidents  
every day,
and I can easily imagine it will get worse in the future. Whatever be  
the case, I am
still extremely shocked that the driver of that car could so easily  
kill innocent Jain
monks, who were walking on the side of the road, especially when there  
were very
5
6
few vehicles on that road. To make matters worse, the police of Baitu are not
taking the matter seriously.
As for the Jain community, most of the Jains have migrated to big cities like
Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad, leaving no Jains in the  
villages to assist
Jain mendicants, rendering them helpless. Therefore, the Jain  
communities should
make arrangements such that the mendicants always have escorts from  
one village
to another. I was pleasantly surprised when I witnessed a local escort  
leading the
mendicants on a small road headed in the direction of their next stop  
of pilgrimage
in order to ensure their safety. Additionally, the arrangement for  
Jain food (?-01+")
and boiled water is also important. I have seen with my very own eyes  
the troubles
faced by monks and nuns on pilgrimage when they do not get proper food and
water.
I sincerely request the Mahajanas or the chiefs of villages to look  
after every facility
intended for Jain mendicants in their villages. In turn, the villagers  
will also benefit
by the presence and knowledge of the mendicants.
*I am deeply indebted to Pu. Munishri Himavantvijayji Ma. Sa and Pu. Munishri
Pundarikaratnavijayji Ma. Sa. for their relevant and useful input as  
well as to Mr.
Somchandbhai V. Shah and Ms. Lynnaben Dhanani, who corrected my English.
**Find the places on this Google Maps link:
http://maps.google.co.in/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=100978103501
057315681.00047a4ed8be0c6d8d258&ll=24.537129,72.993164&spn=4.526251,7.
064209&z=7



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