April 15, 2024 04:17 PM


Hindus have welcomed Scotch Plains-Fanwood Public Schools (SPFPS) in New Jersey announcing closure of its eight schools (in its 2024-2025 School Calendar) on their most popular festival Diwali; which falls on November one this year. 

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked SPFPS for finally understanding the longstanding feelings of the Hindu community; which thought that it was simply not fair with Hindu pupils to be at school on their most popular festival, while schools were closed around other religious days.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that since it was vital for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children; closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and would also display how respectful and accommodating SPFPS was to their faith. 

Rajan Zed indicated that holiday on Diwali in SPFPS would be a step in the positive direction in view of the reported presence of a considerable number of Hindu students; as it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu pupils.

Zed hoped that SPFPS would make Diwali holiday a permanent fixture of its school calendar in the coming years, thus recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education.

Rajan Zed noted that awareness about ‘other’ religions, thus created by such holidays like Diwali, would make SPFPS students well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. 

Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, 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 of the world with about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in the USA. 

SPFPS is a regional school district serving 5,500 students from preschool through 12th grades. Per its School Calendar 2024-2025, besides Diwali; schools are closed on Rosh Hashanah (two days), Eid Al-Fitr; while Christmas fell in December 23-31 Winter Break, and Spring Recess April 14-18 (which includes Good Friday on April 18) was just before Easter (April 20).

Dr. Joan Mast and Evan Murray are Superintendent and Board President respectively of SPFPS, which covers diversified communities of Township of Scotch Plains and the Borough of Fanwood; and besides others, also teaches classes on chemical dependency and family life education. Its goals include “Diversity” and “Justice”. 


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