The Legislative Assembly of the Canadian territory of Nunavut has turned down requests to have Hindu opening-prayer in an upcoming session.
According to Rules of the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut: A prayer shall be read in an official language each sitting day before the Assembly enters upon any business.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who wrote to the Assembly Speaker Tony Akoak and others requesting that he be scheduled to read opening-prayer in an Assembly session, received a delayed response from Akoak stating “Request denied”. When Zed emailed him again requesting to “explain the reason/reasons of denial of the request”, Akoak responded: “The matter is closed”.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, after receiving the denial, feels that it is simply a case of unfairness, exclusionary attitude, discrimination, favoritism; and does not speak well of a democratic society.
Rajan Zed suggests that it is time for the Nunavut Legislative Assembly to move to multi-faith opening prayers. Since the Assembly represents every Nunavutian irrespective of religion/denomination/non-belief, it would be quite befitting in this increasingly diverse territory to do a rotation of prayers representing major religions and aboriginal spirituality and including slots for the thoughts of non-believers.
As adherents of all religions, including minority religions, and non-believers have made a lot of contributions to Nunavut and Canada and continue to do so and paid their share of the taxes; they should all get representation in the Assembly prayer. Democratic governments should not be influenced by one religion or the other; Zed, who has opened both the United States Senate and US House of Representatives in Washington DC with Hindu prayers, emphasizes.
Rajan Zed is of the view that the existence of different religions is an evident symbol of God’s generosity and munificence. Nunavut Legislative Assembly should quest for a unity that hailed diversity.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.2 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.
Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, English, French are spoken in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, which has 22 members. The Territory of Nunavut was created in 1999, and PJ Akeeagok is the current Premier.