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Zed asks for Diwali holiday in all 64 SUNY campuses

Hindus are asking for declaring Hindu festival of Diwali as a holiday in all the 64 State University of New York (SUNY) campuses.

Hindu leader Rajan Zed of Reno said that in view of considerable number of Hindu students and faculty in SUNY campuses, it would be a “step in the right direction” for SUNY.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that SUNY should accommodate the religious needs of Hindu students and faculty and show respect to their faith by not conducting regular business and scheduling classes on Diwali. We did not want our students to be penalized or put at an unnecessary disadvantage for missing tests/examinations/papers, assignments, class work, etc., by taking a day-off to observe Diwali. No one should be penalized for practicing their religion, Zed added.

Rajan Zed urged SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall to seriously look into declaring Diwali as a SUNY-wide holiday. Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make SUNY students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow.

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 festivities, forgiveness and friendliness; families and friends get together for worship followed by a sumptuous and elaborate feast. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, which falls on November 13 this year.

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