This book explores the ways in which the ecologically centred Indian philosophy of Jainism could introduce a new and non-western methodology to environmental politics, with the potential to help the green movement find new audiences and a new voice.
Aidan Rankin begins with a description of the ideas and principles that distinguish Jainism from other Indian (and western) philosophies. He goes on to compare and contrast these principles with those of current environmental politics and to demonstrate the specific ways in which Jain ideas can assist in driving the movement forward. These include the reduction of material consumption, the ethical conduct of business within sustainable limits, and the avoidance of exploitative relationships with fellow humans, animals and ecosystems. Overall, the book argues that Jain pluralism could be a powerful tool for engaging non-western societies with environmental politics, allowing for an inclusive approach to a global ecological problem.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental politics, environmental philosophy, comparative religions and Jainism.
Table of Contents
2. The Jain Voice and Political Ecology
3. The Jain Theory of Pluralism: Transcending the Politics of Protest?
4. Jainism and Environmental Politics: A Radical Synthesis?
Aidan Rankin is an author, independent scholar and property consultant based in London, UK. He has a PhD in Political Science from the London School of Economics and an MA in Modern History from the University of Oxford.
"I am impressed each time by the ancient worldview of Jainism, as presented by Aidan Rankin. The climate crisis reminds us of the vulnerability of human life when it becomes disconnected from its natural origin. Therefore, the necessity of bridging the gap between the modern world and the ancient cultures is more needed than ever before." -- Fons Elders, Emeritus Professor of the Theory of Worldviews at the University for Humanist Studies, Utrecht, the Netherlands
"This book fills an important gap in our understanding of the connection between Jainism (and other Dharmic traditions influenced by Jainism) and environmental politics. It emphasises the important, perhaps essential, role that non-western worldviews can play in addressing issues of sustainability. The book is very timely in that it coincides with the rise of India as an economic power facing severe environmental problems as well as a greater global interest in the role of spiritual or religious traditions in addressing environmental questions. It is an important read for environmental activists seeking to incorporate non-western ideas into their political thinking." -- Daniel T. Ostas, Professor & James G. Harlow, Jr. Chair in Business Ethics, Michael F. Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma, USA
"Impressive and fascinating insights into Jainism. The case study of the jeweller Vardhaman Gems and its business and environmental philosophies illustrates succinctly how Jain principles are applied successfully in a practical way." -- Paul Barker, President, Leeds Theosophical Society, UK
"Through this book, Aidan Rankin open us up to the breadth and depth of Jainism with its outlook and practices that are deeply relevant for our time of ecological crisis. This book brings much needed hope in these challenging times." -- Ian Mowll is the coordinator of GreenSpirit (www.greenspirit.org.uk) and an Interfaith Minister, UK