Hindus are urging New Jersey schools, public as well as private, which have significant number of Hindu students, to include Diwali, the most popular Hindu holy day, as a school holiday in their 2015-2016 school calendars and beyond.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was not fair with Hindu pupils and their families as they had to attend school on their most popular festival while many schools in the state were closed on some other religious holidays. New Jersey had the highest concentration of Hindus than any other state in USA.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that this unfairness did not send a good signal to the impressionable minds of schoolchildren who would be the leaders of tomorrow. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion. Moreover, it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these students, Zed added.
Rajan Zed stressed that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and it would be a step in the right direction.
Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make the New Jersey pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make the state look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.
Rajan Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, which falls on November 11 in 2015. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.