German Hindus demand equality in religious holidays

The German Hindus are hoping that the prestigious University of Hamburg (Universität Hamburg UHH) will grant class exemption for the Hindu students to observe Diwali and other Hindu festivals.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) yesterday, said that like all pupils, it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of Hindu students also and show respect to their faith by granting class exemption on Diwali and other holy days. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion.

According to the statistics of REMID, in 2011 there were an estimated 120,000 Hindus in Germany.

German Hindus, Hinduism, Germany, University of Hamburg
German Hindus are hoping that the university will hear them out.

Code of Conduct for Religious Expression at UHH posted on October 18 claims it to be “secular and committed to ideological pluralism” where “all forms of discrimination are to be refrained from”; and further states that “Students who choose not to attend class to participate in religious festivities bear the consequences”. On the other hand, UHH offers “Christmas break” from December 24, 2017 to January 07, 2018 and “Pfingsten break” from May 20, 2018 to May 27, 2018. UHH should learn to treat all religions and no-religion with equality and fairness, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.

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Rajan Zed urged UHH President Prof. Dr. Dieter Lenzen to seriously consider granting class exemption to Hindu students on their holy days as Hinduism was rich in festivals and religious festivals were 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.

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Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents.

UHH, founded in 1919, claims to be “the largest institution for research and education in the north of Germany”, reportedly placing it among the top 1% of global universities; and boasts of three Nobel laureates. It offers 174 programs to its about 43,000 students.

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The Bertelsmann study shows that most Germans hold overwhelmingly positive view Hinduism, although they have presumably never met a Hindu. Detlef Pollack, the sociologist who conducted the study noted that “the picture the media give of Buddhism or Hinduism is that of peace-loving religions.”

Will the German Hindus get heard? That’s the big question now!