Hindus ask for Diwali holiday in Scotch Plains-Fanwood Public Schools in New Jersey

SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. - April 14, 2024 - PRLog -- Hindus are urging Scotch Plains-Fanwood Public Schools (SPFPS) in New Jersey to close on their most popular festival Diwali; which falls on November one this year.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was simply not fair with Hindu pupils in the eight SPFPS institutions; as they had to be at school on their most popular festival, while schools were closed around other religious days.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that since it was vital 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 SPFPS was to their faith.

Rajan Zed indicated that holiday on Diwali in SPFPS would be a step in the positive direction in view of the reported presence of a considerable number of Hindu students; as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu pupils.

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

Rajan Zed suggested that SPFPS should 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 their students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.

Rajan Zed asked that while "Justice" was one of the goals of SPFPS (which states: Each student will increasingly recognize unfairness, acquire language to describe unfairness, and gain understanding that unfairness hurts), why this unfairness to Hindu students?

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 the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in the USA.

SPFPS is a regional school district serving 5,500 students from preschool through 12th grades. Per its School Calendar 2023-2024, schools were closed on Yom Kippur, Good Friday, Eid Al-Fitr; while Christmas fell in December 25-29 Winter Break, and Spring Recess March 25-29 was just before Easter.

Dr. Joan Mast and Evan Murray are Superintendent and Board President respectively of SPFPS, which covers diversified communities of Township of Scotch Plains and the Borough of Fanwood, and besides others, also teaches classes on chemical dependency and family life education. "Diversity" is its another goal.
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