Applauding nearby South Brunswick School District for declaring Diwali as a school holiday, Hindus want West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey (USA) also to add Diwali, the most important Hindu holy day, to the holiday calendar. According to 2011-2012 school calendar, South Brunswick School District schools will stay closed on October 26 (Wednesday) for Diwali/Deepavali. Other religious closing days mentioned on 2011-12 calendar are Rosh Hashanah, Christmas, and Good Friday/Easter.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urging West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District to announce Diwali as school holiday, said that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays would make the District pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make District look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children. He urged all school districts across USA to declare Diwali as school holiday.
According to Rajan Zed, Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Hindus worship goddess of good fortune and beauty Lakshmi, god of wisdom and auspiciousness Ganesh, and mountain Goverdhan on this day. Also on this day, coronation of Lord Ram was held, Lord Hanuman was born, Lord Vishnu returned kingdom to monkey king Bali of Kiskindha, Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi married, Lord Krishan killed demon Narakasur, and ancient king Vikramaditya was crowned. On this day of forgiveness, festivities, and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. It is also considered a harvest festival.
The mission of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District is “to develop all of our students as passionate, confident, lifelong learners, who have competence and strength of character to realize their aspirations and thoughtfully contribute to a diverse and changing world”. Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai alumni Dr. Hemant Marathe, Robert Johnson, and Bangalore educated Alapakkam Manikandan are President, Vice President and Member respectively of the School Board. Dr. Victoria Kniewel is Superintendent of Schools.
According to reports, about 51 percent District students are of Asian descent, and there is considerable presence of students of India background.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.