To Whom It May Concern: November 13 & 14 mark this year’s Diwali and New Year’s Celebrations for the Hindu community. Diwali is the largest celebrated holiday for the Hindu community and is an important part of our culture and religious beliefs. Diwali, the festival of lights, marks the last year of the Hindu calendar and signifies the triumph of good over evil. It is a time of celebration with family and friends, and is a time to reflect on the past year and see how we can improve in the New Year. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a socio‐spiritual organization promoting harmony between families and diverse communities while maintaining the spirituality of the individual. BAPS has been serving North America in the areas of child and youth development, family unity, preservation of cultural heritage, humanitarian services and, above all, spirituality. For its universal work, the global organization of BAPS has received many national and international awards and an affiliation with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Every year we celebrate this joyous Diwali Occasion here at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Hindu Temple) in Lilburn, GA. The members of our religious community and our guests will participate in special religious ceremonies conducted according to the Hindu scriptures and celebrate this time with their families and friends. Hence, we sincerely request and appeal your esteemed institution to kindly excuse the student invited to participate in this important religious holiday on the aforementioned dates. We understand that it will be the responsibility of the student to make arrangements to obtain any assignments or exercises that will be missed due to attending this event. We thank you for your cooperation and consideration.
Mitesh J. Patel Director of Community Outreach