RENO, Nev. (Aug. 21, 2015) — The office of the Arkansas Secretary of State has denied the Hindu request of erecting Lord Hanuman statue in Arkansas State Capitol grounds in Little Rock.
Kelly Boyd, chief deputy secretary of state, in a letter dated Aug. 17, and addressed to Universal Society of Hinduism President Rajan Zed, wrote: This letter is to inform you the Office of the Secretary of State is unable to comply with your request to place a Lord Hanuman statue on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.
This letter further said: “During the 2015 legislative session, a monument honoring the Ten Commandments was authorized by legislative act. In fact, this legislation mandated this office allow the monument be erected on the grounds. During testimony in legislative hearings, the sponsor stated the monument was to honor the Ten Commandments as a legal document and not specifically a religious document. Regardless of the reason, the legislation mandated out actions and the process is underway.”
The letter was in response to Zed’s email to Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin, and other officials in his office on Aug. 6, which stated: “We hereby request your permission to erect a privately funded statue of Lord Hanuman in Arkansas State Capitol grounds in Little Rock. If permitted, we would arrange this Lord Hanuman statue to be constructed, designed and paid for by private funds at no expense to the state.”
Zed, in a statement in Nevada on Friday, said that they were now thinking of sending the Lord Hanuman statue on Capitol grounds request to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Hutchinson reportedly signed into law a bill on April eight allowing a privately funded Ten Commandments monument on Arkansas Capitol grounds. It could reportedly go up in the next few months.
Zed pointed out that Arkansas had now substantial number of Hindu residents and students who would love to see a statue of Lord Hanuman, who was greatly revered and worshipped and known for incredible strength and was perfect grammarian. If permitted, we planned to make it big and weather-proof, Zed added.
Zed indicated that besides honoring the Arkansas Hindus, this statue would raise awareness of Arkansans about Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought.
There are about three million Hindus living in USA and ultimate goal of Hinduism is moksh (liberation).
Duties of the Secretary of State include Capitol Facilities Division, which cares for the State Capitol and its surrounding landscape.
The Arkansas State Capitol, constructed between 1899 and 1915 on the site of the old state penitentiary using prison labor, already has multiple monuments on its grounds. Lonely Planet describes Arkansas as “America’s overlooked treasure” and “nature lover’s Shangri La”; and Walmart is headquartered here.