The Diwali holidays just finished and it is back to work for many people. The fact that the main festival landed on a Sunday was quite a topic of frustration for people because not only would they be losing out on a guaranteed day-off but also it would be a Monday the very next day.
The advocacy for a long Diwali break or a proper holiday week in India just like in the West is not new. Several times the topic has come up, that Indians employees should also be given a proper and long break to enjoy the festival time in peace and without being bothered by work.
This time, Edelweiss MF’s Radhika Gupta had also spoken in favour of a long Diwali break, however, she also soon wrote why her company could not implement it herself.
What Did Radhika Gupta Say?
Right before the main festival Radhika Gupta, the Managing Director and CEO of Edelweiss Mutual Fund, herself had advocated for a longer, week-long Diwali break.
On November 11th, 2023, she posted on X/Twitter that “In all my years living in the West, holiday season was long and extended. Christmas time off started after the 15th of December and continued through the New Year.
In China, Chinese New Year has a long holiday. Unfortunately, in India, Diwali holidays are usually 1 or 2 days in corporate offices. In years like this one when Diwali falls on a weekend, there is one day off. Many of us travel to be with families across the country, sometimes far and wide.
While we can take the days off, is there a care for a longer festive break, maybe a week long one, as a country, so we can enjoy the festive season and family time without counting days?”
She mostly got supportive replies to this thought with user @1nemali writing “Absolutely necessary. But the issue is that we have many other festivals. Cumulatively, we consume the same number of holidays as the west when combined with other public holidays. Can corporates make a Diwali fortnight? Absolutely yes!
In that case they will have to clawback some of those other festive holidays. In my view employees will agree too. Great time to travel, plan vacations and get that necessary break. We also have the right to say “Happy Holidays” with no specific attribution to any festival.”
User @infidelkufar suggested “We can start our holidays on dushera and close around Diwali…. Festivals in India provide economic activity…. This whole assumption by Narayan Murthy kind of business man that Indians are lazy at work are completely false and have no evidence… We work very hard”.
While there was support, some people did point out that perhaps Gupta can start with her own company. With user @MashraniVivek writing “You can start with your organisation, propose it to your board. We have already implemented in our company”.
Anuj Singhal, the Managing Editor of CNBC-Awaaz also quote-retweeted her tweet writing “Absolutely on spot. I had raised this point last week too. There was a time markets were closed for a good 5-6 days during Diwali. In last 2 years it’s opened on next day of Diwali and this year it’s even more stupid considering Diwali is on Sunday. Let Diwali feel like Diwali. There is no harm in a proper 3-4 day holiday period.”
To this, the Edelweiss MF boss replied “Btw a number of people asked me after my post, why I don’t implement this as a CEO. Impossible for anyone in the capital markets profession to do so responsibly when exchanges are working and NAVs are declared. The issue has to be solved systematically.”
The fact that the market was still open even on Diwali day perhaps makes it difficult for employees in that sector to get long holidays, however, it does need to be worked out.
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