Jainism is noteworthy for being one of the most pacifist religions in the world. It’s not something they preach endlessly without practicing. They follow through. They make up less than a half of one percent of India’s population, where their biggest community thrives. There are also a number of Jains who identify mostly as Hindu, which makes the actual figures harder to find. Where are the biggest Jain communities?
In India, the biggest communities can be found in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh, which also have populations of Jains that exceed ten percent. Karnataka falls just under ten percent, while Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu all fall below five percent.
If you needed more reason to respect the Jain religion, here’s a big one: they’re great for the economy and humanitarian efforts. They make more money than any other community in India, much of which is shared or donated to charity. They also enjoy one of the highest literacy rates in the country, which leads to more highest graduates.
Jains have a major community in Karnataka called Jain Bunt.
Another smaller community called Jain Komati can be found in South and Central India. These followers have their own Jain institutions.
Another community called Saraks is located throughout Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhand, and Orissa. The followers who make up this community have believed for thousands of years.
Navnat is an umbrella term for several Jain communities in East Africa.
There is a community of about 70,000 who practice in Kenya, most of whom live near big cities.
About 80,000 practice in the United States. Alongside Kenya, these followers make up about half of all who practice outside of India. Most arrived in the 1970s.
Around 17,000 live in the United Kingdom, where they arrived in the 1800s. Although the number of Jains who live there is small, they have a big “presence.” There is a Jain library that was built in 1930 by Champat Rai Jain. He was a scholar who studied law there in the late 19th century.
Smaller communities of Jains still live and thrive in Canada (over 12,000), Tanzania (over 9,000), Nepal (just under 7,000), and then Uganda, Burma, and Malaysia with just over 2,000 people each. Considering the religion’s impact, it’s a wonder it hasn’t spread further around the world!