PolitickerNJ Wire Feed

By Gita Bajaj | November 16th, 2012 - 7:31pm
| More

CHIVUKULA UNVEILS DIWALI MEASURE FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH HIGH INDIAN-AMERICAN POPULATIONS TO DECLARE 1st DAY OF FESTIVAL A HOLIDAY

(TRENTON) In the season of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights celebrated by an estimated one billion people worldwide, Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra J. Chivukula today unveiled a measure he will sponsor to urge New Jersey school districts with high Indian-American populations to declare the first day of the five-day festival a holiday.

Derived from the Sanskrit word 'Deepavali,' which means a row of lights, Diwali is the most popular Indian festival celebrated by a majority of the state's Indian-American population including Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. At about 3.2 percent, Indian-Americans are the largest component of New Jersey's fastest-growing Asian-American group, which accounts for an estimated 8.7 percent of the state's nearly nine million population.

During Diwali, the faithful light their homes and businesses with diyas, which are decorate clay lamps fired by oil. These lamps are kept lit throughout the night to invoke the blessings of Laxmi, the Hindu Goddess of spiritual and material wealth and well being. The lighting of the lamp also invokes the illumination of spiritual knowledge over the darkness of ignorance.

This year, Diwali will be celebrated through November 17, 2012.

"The lamps of Diwali illuminate a path to understanding and awareness of a rich heritage, and also signify the desire for spiritual enlightenment. Closing schools with high Indian-American populations on the first day of Diwali, would honor an important tradition of a growing segment of our state's population and would provide all Indian-American children with the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful festival with their family and friends," Chivukula (D-Somerset\Middlesex) said.

The only South Asian lawmaker in the 120-member Legislature, Chivukula encouraged non Indians to learn about Diwali, either from their Indian friends or by taking a walk down streets like Oak Tree Road in Edison or Newark Avenue in Jersey City.

"It is the mingling of cultures and traditions that help us open our hearts and minds to each other and deepen our human experience. It is the cross pollination of ideas and ideology that fosters our coexistence in harmony," he added. "Perhaps the unity in our diversity is aptly illustrated in the Sanskrit verse below which reverberates through many Indian homes during the festival of Diwali and could apply to people of all faiths."

Sanskrit Shloka from Upanishad

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Asato Ma Sad-Gamaya
Tamasoma Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrityor-ma Amritam Gamaya
Om Shaantih, Shaantih, Shaantih

Translation

Lead us from the Untruth to the Truth
Lead us from the Darkness of ignorance to the Light of spiritual knowledge
Lead us from Mortality to Immortality or the Eternal
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace

Under current state law, Diwali is included in the list of religious holidays during which students are permitted to be absent from school. The statute ensures that a student's absence on a religious holiday will be recorded as an excused absence and that the student cannot be deprived of any opportunity for any award or of the right to take an alternative test or examination.

Chivukula's measure would urge certain school districts to close schools on the first day of Diwali.

###

CONTACT:
Gita Bajaj
gbajaj@njleg.org email
(973) 224-4851 cellular
bajajgita1@yahoo.com email

The Back Room

Daily News: PVSC still a patronage cesspool

Despite Gov. Chris Christie's much-covered intevention and rearrangement of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) four years ago, the place is still a mess, according to a story in the Daily News.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 21, 2014

The Political Passion of Paterson: Goow campaigns in the 4th, Pascrell to vote for Sayegh, Torres backers party at MakaoPATERSON – That most pagan rite of NJ politics rages on the day before Easter here, on the day before the death of Paterson boxing legend Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, on...

Op-Ed

How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"Fliers extolling the virtues of freeholder candidate Gerard Balmir, Jr. of Jersey City were found inside bags of meals-on-wheels deliveries. Someone must have thought it’s time for the recipients to stop watching TV with their meals and do some constructive reading." - Political Insider columnist Agustin Torres

- The Jersey Journal

Poll

Was Frank X. Graves of Paterson New Jersey's best mayor?:

Resources

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources