Hindus in New Jersey have urged the State Department of Education in USA to add nine more Hindu festivals, including Durgapuja, to its “List of Religious Holidays Permitting Pupil Absence From School”.
Indo-American Hindu scholar Rajan Zed, in a statement today, said that Hinduism was rich in festivals and festivals were very dear to Hindu families. Since families want to celebrate these festivals together along with their school going children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on these days.
Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, listed the festivals to be added to this list of religious holidays as: Lohri, Durgapuja, Makar Sankranti, Naga Panchami, Guru Purnima, Goverdhan Puja, Pongal, Onam, and Gudi Padwa.
This New Jersey Department of Education list of religious holidays already includes following Hindu days during the 2009-2010 school year: Raksha Bandan, Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesha Chaturthi, Navaratri, Dasera, Diwali [Deepavali], Vasant Panchami, Maha Shivaratri, Holi, Hanuman Jayanti, Chandramana Yugadi, Ram Navami, Magha Puja Day.
In New Jersey, any student absent from school because of a religious holiday may not be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award because of such absence, and students who miss a test or examination because of absence on a religious holiday must be given the right to take an alternate test or examination.