Hindu communities are shocked at what Editorial Board of Harvard Crimson (student daily of Harvard University) revealed: “Harvard students of Muslim and Hindu faiths must practice their religion in the basement of the freshman dormitory Canaday, with no windows, no sunlight, and too little space to pray without waiting in line.”
“It is extremely saddening that Muslim and Hindu students are relegated to such disrespectfully small and inappropriately gloomy spaces”, stated an Editorial published today by The Crimson Editorial Board titled “Harvard Can’t Keep Muslim and Hindu Students in the Basement”. Editorial indicated “this being a problem for the past 25 years”.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that this reported neglect and unfair treatment of Harvard Hindu and Muslim students was unacceptable and must be looked into immediately and quickly resolved. Did not they deserve the same respect, welcome, recognition and right as students of other faiths to “gather in religious spaces that let light in”? Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked.
Zed urged Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow and its Board of Overseers President Helena Buonanno Foulkes to offer a formal apology for this reported blatant mistreatment and dereliction which was allowed to continue for so long. Rajan Zed stated that it was perturbing to learn that Harvard Hindu and Muslim students had to practice their religion in “low-ceilinged, dark, isolated rooms in the basement”, which was “in stark contrast to the spaces on campus” which students of some other faiths enjoyed.
Zed further said that light, like many other faiths, was highly significant in Hinduism; as light dispelling darkness helped our approach to the divine. Gayatri-mantra, considered the most sacred and powerful mantra of Hinduism, taken from world’s oldest extant scripture Rig-Veda, talked about stimulating and illuminating our minds by meditating on excellent radiance of Sun god. Ancient Hindu text Brahadaranyakopanisad indicated leading one from darkness to Light. Another ancient text Bhagawad-Gita noted: The light of this knowledge shines like the sun, revealing the supreme Brahman (the supreme Godhead). Moreover, Hindus celebrated light with Diwali (festival of light which was the most popular Hindu festival) and Makar Sankranti.
Rajan Zed pointed out that an educational institution like Harvard should not be in the business of celebrating, nurturing and respecting certain religions; while neglecting, disregarding and maltreating some others.
The Harvard Crimson, which claims to be “nation’s oldest continuously published daily college newspaper”, was founded in 1873. Over 25 Crimson alumni said to have won the Pulitzer Prize and its past editors included Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.