Hindus have commended Jakarta Provincial Government in Indonesia for granting facultative holiday to Hindus for celebrating Diwali (Deepavali).
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, called it “a step in the right direction”, although long overdue.
Jakarta Manpower and Transmigration Department, in letters issued on October 31, urged entrepreneurs and schools to give workers and students respectively of Indian descent holiday to celebrate Deepavali, reports suggest.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Jakarta Provincial Government to make Diwali a permanent annual holiday. He requested other 33 provinces of Indonesia to follow Jakarta in declaring Diwali as a holiday for workers and students and Indonesia President Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to announce it as a national holiday.
Rajan Zed stressed that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home.
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.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Indonesia, an archipelago consisting about 17,508 islands which defies homogenization, is world’s largest Muslim nation and fourth most populous country and biggest economy of Southeast Asia. Its capital Jakarta, said to be one of the world’s greatest megalopolises, was established in fourth century.