SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Hindus have applauded South Brunswick’s school district for declaring Diwali as a school holiday, calling it “a step in the right direction.” According to 2011-2012 school calendar, district schools will stay closed on Oct. 26 for Diwali/Deepavali.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that all school districts in New Jersey, one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse states, should declare Diwali as school holiday.
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.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make the South Brunswick School District pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make District look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.
Zed further said that since it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, closing schools would ensure children would not be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day.
About 9,100 students are enrolled in 12 schools of the district. About 11 percent population of South Brunswick is of India-descent. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents.
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