Hindus are seeking “bank holiday” ((national public holiday) in England on Diwali, the most popular of their festivals; starting 2022.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was not fair with England Hindu community as they had to be at work/school on their most popular festival while there were public/bank holidays on other religious days.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that United Kingdom government needed to revisit its public/bank holiday policies as the England demographics had changed making it a multicultural society and Hindu populations were continuing to grow.
England has eight bank holidays in 2021; including Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day.
Rajan Zed stated that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home/temple. Public/bank holiday on Diwali would ensure that and it would be “a step in the positive direction”.
Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would strengthen cohesion and unity in the overall England citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.
As an interfaith gesture, Rajan Zed urged Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Cardinal Vincent G. Nichols to come out in the support of Hindu brothers and sisters for Diwali holiday. Moreover, Welby seeks “to work together for the common good”.
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. Diwali falls on Monday, October 24, in 2022.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.