Hindus are seeking public holiday in Australian Capital Territory (ACT) 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 ACT Hindu community as they had to be at work/school on their most popular festival while there were public holidays on other religious days.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, suggested that ACT Government needed to revisit its public holiday policies as the ACT demographics had changed making it a multicultural society and Hindu populations were continuing to grow. He urged ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to seriously examine this issue of fairness.
Public holidays to be observed in ACT during 2021 include Good Friday, Easter, Christmas, Boxing Day, etc. Rajan Zed stated that it was important for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home/temple. Public 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 ACT citizenry and make them well-nurtured and enlightened citizens.
As an interfaith gesture; Rajan Zed urged Roman Catholic Archbishop Christopher Prowse and Anglican Diocesan Bishop Mark Short to come out in the support of Hindu brothers and sisters for Diwali holiday.
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 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.