Hindus ask Princeton to respect students’ feelings for Hindu Prayer Room

With the Editorial Board of its student newspaper “The Daily Princetonian” endorsing the student initiative of creation of a Hindu prayer space on campus, Hindus are urging Princeton University in New Jersey for a permanent and exclusive Prayer Room.

Editorial Board of The Daily Princetonian, University’s “only paper of record”, in an editorial dated April 26 and titled “Create a Hindu prayer space”, wrote “…a new Hindu prayer space would contribute to the mission of fostering diversity and cultural awareness which lies at the core of the University’s educational goals”. It also commended students’ “efforts to enhance Hindu life at Princeton”.

Editorial further said: “The prayer room would give the Hindu community greater control over how it wishes to organize its services and would likely motivate Hindu Princetonians to deepen their involvement in Hindu life on campus.” This “proposal has wide support from both Hindu and non-Hindu, religious and non-religious students across the University”, it added.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber and its Board Chair Kathryn A. Hall should positively respond to the requirements of its Hindu students to provide designated prayer-meditation hall for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.

Princeton reportedly already has a University Chapel hosting many Christian services, Muslim Prayer Room, Center for Jewish Life and Interfaith Prayer Room.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that it would be a “step in the right direction” in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students at Princeton, as it was important to meet the spiritual needs of these students. Some other universities/colleges in USA now offered Hindu prayer rooms.

Rajan Zed urged all USA and Canadian universities, both public and private, to respond to the needs of their considerable Hindu student bodies and offer prayer facility. Princeton needed to recognize the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism, Zed added.

Many Princeton students, Hindus as well non-Hindus, in a recent survey, reportedly expressed interest in creation of Hindu prayer space and supported the idea.

Chartered in 1746 and spread in 500 acres, Ivy League world-renowned research university Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in USA. Many of its faculty/staff have won Nobel Prizes. Its library holdings are over 14 million and its students number around 7,910.

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.

Per The Daily Princetonian, it “seeks to inform and engage our readers by delivering reliable, timely and accurate news and commentary relevant to the Princeton community” and aims “to drive the campus conversation”. Its Editorial Board, with 21 members, “decides and articulates” its “official position”. Managed entirely by undergraduate students, it is one of the oldest college dailies in the nation founded in 1876. Jeffrey Leibenhaut, Benjamin Dinovelli and Anna Mazarakis are Editorial Board Chair, Opinion Editor and Editor-In-Chief respectively.

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