Hindus are urging Valley Stream Central High School District (VSCHSD) in New York to proclaim official holiday on Diwali, most popular of Hindu festivals, starting 2021.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Diwali holiday in VSCHSD would be a step in the positive direction in view of presence of a substantial number of Hindu students in the District; as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu pupils.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that VSCHSD should seriously and speedily work towards declaring Diwali (which falls on November four in 2021) as a 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 VSCHSD students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
Rajan Zed indicated that 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 VSCHSD was to their faith.
If VSCHSD had declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali, Zed asked. School districts should not be in the business of discriminating among religions, Zed stated and added that holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion.
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 oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
About 4,600 students from Valley Stream, North Valley Stream, Elmont, Franklin Square, Lynbrook and Malverne are enrolled at VSCHSD; whose history goes back to 1925. Dr. Bill Heidenreich and James Lavery are Superintendent and Board of Education President respectively of VSCHSD, whose tagline is “Learning, Achieving, Succeeding”.