Welcoming 21 public school districts in Pennsylvania reportedly closing schools for students on October 24 (Diwali-day) this year, Hindus are urging all public school districts and private-charter-independent-parochial schools in Pennsylvania to close on their most popular festival Diwali.
Diwali falls on October 24 this year; and 2022-2023 calendars of Bensalem Township, Central Bucks, Central York, Coudersport Area, Council Rock, Downingtown Area, Ferndale Area, Great Valley, Greenville Area, Lower Moreland Township, New Hope-Solebury, North Penn, Owen J. Roberts, Pennsbury, Punxsutawney Area, Spring-Ford Area, Unionville-Chadds Ford, Upper Darby, Upper Dublin, Upper Merion Area, West Chester Area school districts in Pennsylvania show holiday for students on October 24.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was simply not fair with Hindu pupils of most of the schools in Pennsylvania, as they had to be at school on their most popular festival while schools were closed around commemoration of other religious days.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that holiday on Diwali in Pennsylvania schools would be a step in the positive direction in view of the reported presence of a substantial number of Hindu students in various parts of the state, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu pupils.
Rajan Zed indicated that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children; closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and would also display how respectful and accommodating Pennsylvania schools were to their faith.
If schools had declared holidays around other religious days, why not Diwali, Zed asked. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed added.
Rajan Zed suggested all Pennsylvania schools, public-private-charter-independent-parochial, to seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official holiday, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education. Zed noted that awareness about ‘other’ religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make Pennsylvania students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
Zed urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Education Acting Secretary Eric Hagarty and Pennsylvania Board of Education Chairperson Karen Farmer White; to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the Pennsylvania public schools, and persuading the private-charter-independent-parochial schools to follow. Zed also thanked boards of 21 public school districts in Pennsylvania which closed schools for students on Diwali-day; for understanding the concerns of Hindu 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.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in the USA.