Hindus urge all Pennsylvania schools to close on Diwali, after Council Rock okays Diwali holiday

Welcoming Council Rock School District (CRSD) for declaring holiday on November seven, Hindus are urging all public school districts and private-charter-independent schools in Pennsylvania to close on this day, when their most popular festival Diwali falls this year.

Board of Directors of CRSD, headquartered in Newtown (Pennsylvania), in their meeting on February 15, unanimously approved 2018-2019 calendar which includes the addition of Diwali as an official school holiday. In 2017, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District headquartered in Kennett Square (Pennsylvania) and many public school districts in New York and New Jersey also declared day-off for students on October 19 (Diwali), reports suggest.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that holiday on Diwali in Pennsylvania schools would be a step in the positive direction, as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu pupils.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and would also display how respectful and accommodating Pennsylvania schools were to their faith.

If schools had declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali, Rajan Zed asked. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed added.

Zed suggested that all Pennsylvania schools, public-private-charter-independent, to seriously look into declaring Diwali as an official 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 Pennsylvania students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.

Rajan Zed urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera and Chairperson of Pennsylvania State Board of Education Karen Farmer White; to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the state’s public schools, and persuading the private-charter-independent schools to follow.

Zed commended the efforts of CRSD student Vir K. Sahu, his father Dr. Pawan K. Sahu and other area community members towards persuading CRSD for declaring Diwali holiday. Zed also thanked the CRSD Board lead by Jerold S. Grupp and Superintendent Dr. Robert J. Fraser for understanding the concerns of Hindu community.

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.

CRSD, with tagline “Success for every student every day”, has over 11,000 students in 15 schools; and it covers 72 square miles comprising five municipalities: Newtown Borough and the Townships of Newtown, Northampton, Upper Makefield, and Wrightstown.

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