Hindus are upset over reported removal of popular Hindu song “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” from Holiday Concert of Greendale School District in Wisconsin.
Strongly criticizing it, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement today, asked the Greendale School District to immediately apologize to the Hindu community and the student who was to sing it.
How fair was singling and pulling out a Hindu song and including a classic Christmas song Feliz Navidad and Jewish song Hava Nagila in the multicultural holiday concert? Was it not giving preference to one religion over another? Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked.
What happened to respect for “other” cultures, fostering diversity and being inclusive in a School District whose “Belief Statement” included, “◦We are members of a global society. The awareness and understanding of this diversity enriches us” and “Vision” included “embrace the ideals of tolerance and fairness”? Rajan Zed pointed out. There are said to be about 21 different languages spoken in the District.
Zed argued that “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” actually talked of unity among religions with lyrics like: “God and Allah are your names, Bless everyone with this wisdom, Lord.” Favorite of peace icon Mahatma Gandhi and sung during his famous Dandi Salt March in 1930, it has been featured in many Hindi, Kannada, English and Tamil movies and recorded by many well-known singers.
Rajan Zed stressed that opening-up Greendale children to major world religions and non-believers’ viewpoint would make them 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.
Tom Slota is School Board President, Dr. William H. Hughes is Superintendent of Schools, and Colleen McHugh-Moore is Director of Pupil Services of highly rated Greendale School District, whose tagline is “We are inspiring minds”.
Known for its rich heritage and beautiful green spaces, the Village of Greendale in Milwaukee County, originally developed in 1938, consistently ranks as a favorite small town to visit and a great place to live and work. Notable residents include folklorist-linguist Jeremiah Curtin and actress Jane Kaczmarek and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife Eleanor Roosevelt visited it. John R. Hermes is Village President while Todd K. Michaels is Village Manager.