Should December 25 be a Public Holiday in India?
From The Editor's Desk
(Hinduwebsite Editorial - Exploring Truth Amidst Illusions and Distortions)
Times of India and few others are trying to implicate the Indian Government on the Navodaya School circulars about some curriculum activities that are scheduled on December 25 for the students. All those who are clamoring on the issue should note that in none of the Christian majority nations a Hindu festival day is a government holiday. There are about five to ten million Hindus in America (both of Indian and American origins) and millions elsewhere in Europe and Australia, and they all work on every Hindu festival day or they have to apply for leave.
Therefore, logically Christmas should not be a holiday in India where officially the Christian population is about 5% or less. It is a holiday because of the Colonial legacy left by the British and the religious tolerance of the Hindus. And everyone who wants to denigrate the Hindu majority in India on this issue should respect that so far they have not made an issue out of celebrating Christmas in India, which is a Hindu majority country, and do not have a problem with Christmas being declared as a holiday despite the obvious. (All people love holidays, even atheists).
However, since Times of India has raked up the issue by blowing it out of proportion and ascribing motives to the government as if there is a conspiracy, it can potentially become an issue in the coming years with some self-respecting Hindus taking up the matter further with the Indian government. For that, TOI has to blame itself for trying to politicize and sensationalize a trivial government circular and attribute motives to an internal matter of a government run institution.
We apologize if this subject has made some people uncomfortable, but we have decided to point out the anomaly because some groups have made it their agenda to constantly attack Hindus and Hinduism in a Hindu majority nation on some pretext or the other. Newspapers in India believe that projecting Hindus in an aggressive stance using every opportunity makes news. Whether it is conversions or other matters, Hindus are subject to extra scrutiny and disproportionate criticism.
In today's world, festivals like Christmas and Diwali have ceased to be mere religious events. They create many business and employment opportunities, besides improving tourism, commerce and industry, and providing opportunities for mass celebrations and promoting religious harmony. We therefore believe that people have a right to celebrate their festivals and all communities should participate in them in the spirit of religious amity.
However, those who have created this controversy for whatever reason should remember that in none of the Islamic nations Hindu festivals are recognized, and in none of the Christian majority countries that we know a Hindu festival is officially declared as a holiday. Hindus are so simple minded that they are easily elated by the inconsequential news that the White House officially celebrates Diwali. The truth is, it is celebrated very privately by a few Hindus and their well-wishers in the administration, and not many people are invited into the White House to participate in it.
On the contrary, in many states of the USA common Hindu folk cannot celebrate Diwali in the traditional manner even in front of their houses and in their lawns, since using fireworks in public places is statutorily banned in those states. So far, in none of these states Hindus have managed to obtain permission from the local governments to use firecrackers on the day of Diwali. It is strange that Time of India tried to create news out of a school circular about some homework/assignment that was meant to be done by students on December 25 (Is it not true that many students do their homework on public holidays, or attend special classes?), but never bothered to report about this matter in any of their news. Perhaps for them Hindus and their discrimination do not matter.
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