British primary school students wore sari on Diwali

Nevada, Nov 10, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Hindus have lauded Thorpe Primary School in Wakefield (West Yorkshire, United Kingdom) for reportedly celebrating Diwali as a classroom topic and have urged all elementary and secondary schools of United Kingdom (UK) to include Diwali celebration as an annual activity.

Reports suggest that as part of Diwali celebrations, Thorpe students dressed up in saris, learned to sing Hindu religious songs and Dandiya folk dance, sported bindi on their foreheads, learned the story of Ram and Sita, explained about Diwali festival to an assembly of fellow pupils and parents, etc.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it would be highly productive to include Diwali celebrations in UK schools. Awareness about other religions thus created by organizing festivals like Diwali would make the UK pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It also made a good business sense to know the beliefs of “others” in a global community. Moreover, students should have knowledge of the entire society to become full participants in the society.

Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that with school celebrations including festivals like Diwali, ethnic minorities would feel as equal and full members of British society, thus bringing cohesion and unity in the community. With change in demographics of United Kingdom, it would be “a step in the right direction”.

Thorpe Primary, where age range of pupils is 3-11, is located in a geographically isolated community with few amenities and high unemployment, with only about seven percent of pupils from minority ethnic families. Its aims include to “help pupils understand the World they live in" and "develop personal and moral values". It runs a Bollywood dancing club, taught skills in ‘Emotional Literacy’, and organized “Hats for Haiti” fundraiser in February. Mrs. E. Kus is Headteacher, while Chair of School Governors is Mrs. M. Daniels. Thorpe is administered by Leeds City Council, which through its Education Leeds program, has developed Diwali Wordsearch, Diwali Quiz, and Diwali Pairs Game as a part of Diwali activities. James McKenna is the Lord Mayor while Tom Riordan is Chief Executive.