Hindus are urging all state and independent/private schools in Wales (United Kingdom) to close on Diwali, most popular of their festival, which falls on October 19 this year.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it 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 Wales schools should make efforts to accommodate the religious requirements of Hindu students and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali.
Zed said: “If schools had declared other religious holidays, why not Diwali? Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion,” he added.
Zed also suggested that all Wales schools, state as well as independent/private, 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 Wales students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.
He has urged Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams to work towards adding Diwali as an official holiday in all the state schools of Wales, and persuading the independent/private schools to follow.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is a traditional Hindu Holy day which 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 in the world, with about 1.1 billion observers.