World Hindus have supported the demand for Diwali as a public/bank holiday in United Kingdom (UK).
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was not fair with UK Hindu community as they had to be at work/school on their most popular festival while there were public/bank holidays on other religious days.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that UK government needed to revisit its public/bank holiday policies as the UK demographics had changed and Hindu populations were continuing to grow.
In 2015, Good Friday and Christmas Day are bank holidays all over UK; while Easter Monday is holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland only; and St Andrew’s Day and St Patrick’s Day are holidays only in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.
Rajan Zed stated that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home/temple. Public/bank holiday 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 bring cohesion and unity in the overall UK citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.
Rajan Zed requested the intervention in this faith issue of The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, whose “priorities” included “people, communities and nations learning to live together with deeply-held differences – in a spirit of love and respect”.
According to 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. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.