WELL KNOWN Hindu leader Rajan Zed’s request to read opening prayer in House of Lords of United Kingdom has been denied.
Replying to Zed’s request to House Speaker; James Bowyer, assistant private secretary to the Lord Speaker Baroness Hayman, wrote in a communiqué: “Prayers are set down in the Standing Orders of the House of Lords (the rules determining the House’s procedures). These are of the Christian faith and are read by members of the House, ordinarily one of the 26 senior Bishops of the Church of England. It is not possible therefore for your request to be considered.”
On Rajan Zed’s another request for the possibility of the Bishop/Member once reading the Hindu prayer supplied by Zed, Bowyer replied: “I am afraid this won’t be possible. As I said, the prayers that can be read are set down in the Standing Orders of the House of Lords and these are currently only of the Christian faith.”
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, has read the first Hindu opening prayer in United States Senate in Washington DC in 2007.
United Kingdom Parliament, headed by Queen Elizabeth II
and consisting of House of Lords and House of Commons with 1,390 members and located in London, is the supreme legislative body and it examines and challenges the work of the government and whose origins go back to 12th century. Sittings in both Houses begin with Christian prayer since around 1558. Members of the public are not allowed into the public galleries during prayers. MPs and Peers stand for prayers facing the wall behind them, ‘due to the difficulty Members would historically have faced of kneeling to pray while wearing a sword’. The text of the House of Lords Prayers includes the words ‘…laying aside all private interests, prejudices and partial affections…’.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.