Hindu community is heartbroken over Hillsborough Township Public School District in New Jersey not including Diwali as a school holiday in its 2015-2016 school calendar despite their longstanding demand and considerable population.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was not fair with Hindu pupils and their families as they would have to attend school on their most popular festival while schools in the district were closed on some other religious holidays.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that this unfairness did not send a good signal to the impressionable minds of schoolchildren who would be the leaders of tomorrow. Zed urged the District to immediately revise the already approved 2015-16 calendar and include Diwali in it, which would fall on November 11 in 2015.
Rajan Zed stressed 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 it would be “a step in the right direction”.
Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make the Hillsborough pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It would make the District look good also besides bringing cohesion and unity in the community.
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. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali. 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.
Mission statement of Hillsborough Township Public School District, with an enrollment of approximately 7700 students, includes “superior education”. Thomas Kinst and Jennifer Haley are President and Vice President respectively of Hillsborough Township Board of Education, while Dr. Jorden Schiff is Superintendent of Schools. Calendar for 2015-2016 was approved in Board’s November 10 meeting.
Hillsborough Township, which received its Charter in 1771, about 60 minutes west of New York and in close proximity to Princeton University, is a collection of small villages whose over 12% population is Asian. It has adopted a project—Sustainable Hillsborough— to promote sustainable development and environmental stewardship. Douglas Tomson, Greg Burchette and Anthony Ferrera are its Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Administrator respectively. Prominent people associated with Hillsborough include heiress/philanthropist Doris Duke, actor/comedian Michael Ian Black, football player Shaun O’Hara and R&B singer Jaheim Hoagland.