Anisha Saxena

Anisha Saxena

A study of the Shikharbandhi Jain Derasar at Potters Bar and the Jain Centre in Leicester

Currently I am a Fulbright Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Religion, Syracuse University and in November 2012 I Visited the Jain temple in San Francisco, in future as post doctoral research project I intend to undertake research on Jaina history of migration and temple construction in England.

I received the Jain Art Fund Award for the year 2010-2011 and it was for a period of one month. The primary purpose of this award was to enable students in India to access Jaina collection of the V&A and other museums and libraries in England, but in my project I wanted to stretch the limitations of the award and include research on Jain diaspora in England. I was particularly interested in recording and collecting material on Jain migration myths and histories and to conduct research on the temple building rituals among the Jain diaspora in England.

In England, I conducted research at two Jaina centers: first at the Shikharbandhi Jain Derasar or temple at Potters Bar and second at the Jain Centre in Leicester. The award also enabled me to access the collections of the British Library and the British Museum. I was also able to meet and discuss my work with scholars of Jaina history and Indian architecture; I would specially like to mention the names of Prof. Peter Flugel at SOAS and Prof. Adam Hardy at the Cardiff University.

The grant enabled me to focus my research goals and expand my research on Jaina diaspora My research on Jain temples in England and on Oswal Jains have helped in my doctoral research, providing me with fresh dimensions on which further research is needed like the migratory legend of the Halari Oswals, and the economic and religious dimensions behind the construction of Jain temples in England.

In February 2012 based on my research on Jaina temples in England I Presented paper titled: “Creating Abodes for Gods Abroad: Jain temples in England” at the College Art Association held at Los Angeles, U.S.A.