Nevada (US), Dec 24 (ANI): Hindus have applauded the European Commission (EC) for reportedly mentioning Hindu festivals in Europa Diary distributed in secondary schools throughout the European Union (EU).
Well known Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, called it "a step in the right direction". Awareness about major world religions thus created by mentioning in school diary would make the pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. He, however, indicated that this Diary should have included Christian festivals also, as Christianity was the largest religion of the world.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that this Diary appeared to be providing wealth of information about EU, rights, living, environment, etc., and seemed quite helpful for persuading students towards critical thinking, responsible action, informed decision making, active citizenship participation, etc. It posed thought provoking questions, included helpful web addresses, and provided facts in fun way. Zed, however, suggested that it should have included information about Roma and the apartheid conditions faced by them in Europe.
Rajan Zed also urged EU and its 27 countries for recognition of Hinduism fully and officially, declaring Diwali as an official festival, consulting Hindus at national levels on religious and related issues as equal partners, providing adequate Hindu representation in various EU bodies, ensuring fair treatment of all major religions instead of patronizing only one kind of religion or denomination, complete freedom of practice of chosen religion by the citizens, availability of suitable and adequate facilities for Hindu funerals, promotion of interfaith dialogue, introduction of comparative religion as a subject in secondary schools including all the major religions of the world, efforts towards more assimilation and inclusiveness of all major religions, enforcing better labeling of foods clarifying that whether the contents included any non-vegetarian matter or the contents were purely vegetarian, etc.
Zed argued that acquiring permits for building new Hindu temples in some EU areas was a difficult and cumbersome process and many times ended in delay or denial and there were allegations of glass ceiling for top jobs and institutional discrimination.
Rajan Zed pointed out that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with a rich philosophical thought. EU should be more attentive to the needs of Hinduism and Hindus. Number of Hindus had been growing in Europe and now every country of Europe had considerable Hinduism presence, with total numbers reaching around two million.
EC published "The Europa Diary" 2010-2011 of 96-pages and titled as "Wise Choices", with a Foreword by EC President Josi Manuel Barroso, is in its seventh year of publication. About 3,275,500 such diaries have reportedly been distributed this year free of charge in 27 EU countries, costing around 5.5 million Euros, with highest, 503275, going to Germany. Catie Thorburn is the managing editor.
Its contents include: About the EU; Europe and me; my rights, my choices; my environment; my health, my safety; and beyond our borders. It talks about reducing the importance to material prosperity, "Intolerance will not be tolerated", "Equality and diversity", "avoid mobile phone addiction", "Cyberbullying", "Parrots in Europe?", "Cultural understanding around the Mediterranean", etc. (ANI)