Los Angeles Times

Little known outside India, Jainism spreads at US colleges amid calls to 'decolonize' studies

LOS ANGELES — Cerritos College in Norwalk — where the majority of students are Latino and the first in their families to attend college — is a stone's throw from Southern California's famed "Little India," a stretch of clothing and jewelry shops, groceries and restaurants in Artesia.

Not far away, in Buena Park, the temple at the Jain Center of Southern California draws legions of followers of Jainism, a little-known, millennia-old Indian religious and philosophical tradition.

So when retired gastroenterologist and Jain devotee Jasvant Modi sought to spread knowledge of the faith, Cerritos College seemed like the perfect fit. He and his wife Meera, along with donors Harshad and Raksha Shah, last month pledged $1 million to fund an endowed scholar of Jain Studies at the community college.

They are among a small but dedicated group of American Jain donors who are

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