Hindus have applauded Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) for reportedly including most popular Hindu festival Diwali as school holiday in 2015-16 school year calendar.
Calling it “a step in the right direction”, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays would make the PGCPS pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make PGCPS look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community, Zed added.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said 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. Zed 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.
PGCPS headquartered in Upper Marlboro, one of the nation’s 25 largest school districts having 207 schools and over 124,000 students, claims to be “nationally recognized for its innovative programs and initiatives” and serves diverse student population. Dr. Segun C. Eubanks and Carolyn M. Boston are Chair and Vice-Chair of its Board of Education, while Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell is the Chief Executive Officer.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Diwali falls on November 11 in 2015.