People of Fazilka, a town of southwestern Punjab in India, have announced celebrations on July 12, which will include fireworks (at the same time as prayer is read in the Senate), hawan, fluttering of "Om" flags on rooftops, free langar (community lunch) in local Hanuman Temple, Ramayan Path (recitation), etc., in honor of Rajan Zed, who has worked in this town as Public Relations Officer for the Indian State of Punjab. The prestigious high school of the area, Sarvhitkari Vidya Mandir, has decided to honor Zed during his next visit. According to Lila Dhar Sharma, an area Hindu leader, the whole region is very thrilled by knowing that ancient Hindu scriptures will be read in the US Senate for the first time. Dharam Loonaa, a journalist activist in Zed's prayer included recitations from Brahadaranyakopanisad and Tattiriya Upanisad. Reading from third chapter of Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord), the famous philosophical and spiritual poem often considered the epitome of Hinduism, he urged Senators to strive constantly to serve the welfare of the world, performing their duties with the welfare of others always in mind, because by devotion to selfless work one attains the supreme goal of life. May they work carefully and wisely, guided by compassion, and without thought for themselves, he added. Sporting saffron colored robe, rudraksh mala, sandal paste tilak, and Hare Ram Hare Krishan inscribed yellow shawl, he ended his prayers with the last mantra of Rig-Veda and his concluding line was "Peace, Peace, Peace be unto all", which is the English translation of "Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti." Although Zed wanted to recite the mantras in Sanskrit, Senate Chaplain's Office communiqué clearly stated, "It must be given exclusively and entirely in the English language."
The announcement of history making Hindu prayer created stir across the globe.and thrilled India where English, Hindi, and other regional languages media extensively covered it. Zed's unlisted phone and e-mail saw unusual activity during the last few weeks. City of Reno issued a proclamation to Zed during the City Council meeting on July five where Mayor Robert Cashell presented him with a plaque and declared July 05,2007, "as a day to recognize Rajan Zed" and "encourage all citizens to congratulate Rajan Zed on his latest professional accomplishment" mentioning the July 12 Senate prayer in the proclamation. Reno Police Chief, Michael Poehlman, presented him with "Chief'sCertificate of Commendation" on July 09 to recognize his good works in “promoting peace and tranquility for all, regardless of race or faith" and to commend him for continuing his work in promoting interfaith dialogue. Various other organizations in India and US are planning to honor him in the future. Chandigarh, when heard the news, immediately rushed to local Ganesh Temple to pray for its success. Besides Hindus, various Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Sikh media has carried the news, including Pakistan Christian Post, World Sikh News, Christian Post, etc. Blogs, with differing viewpoints, have flooded various sites. Lines from various blogs include "…Senate will break a new ground on religious diversity on July 12…", "strange but true", "…That is the nicest news God has given us for a long time…". Website of Institute for Public Affairs, public policy arm of the nation's largest Orthodox Jewish organization, commented, "…here's something noteworthy and positive…". Many were surprised to know that Senate had opening prayers. Harish Nevatia, an engineer in Mumbai, India, wrote in the blog "suite 101", "…When this event was reported in the Indian media, it evoked surprise and even shock. Religious prayers are not allowed in Indian Parliament and government events, because of the secular nature of the government…Another reason why this event has surprised many Indians, especially those of the younger generation, is that Indian society is slowly moving away from its original culture and adopting the culture of the west symbolized by MTV andMcDonalds. Hence the interest that Hinduism, with its ancient heritage, is creating in the west is something of a conundrum to many." Shiva Vishnu Temple of Lanham, Maryland, has invited Zed on July 12 evening to honor him for the feat. Dr. Nigel Subramaniam Siva, one of the Trustees of Murugan Temple of America, says, "This is a great moment in history for all Hindus."
Dr. Vedanand Thakur, retired trauma orthopedic surgeon from Lumberton, North Carolina, sent Zed congratulations "for this rare and great achievement for all of us" in his ten page note, besides sending letters to senators Edward Kennedy and Hilary Clinton concerning this event. Ishani Chaudhary, Executive Director of Hindu American Foundation of Kensington, Maryland, called it "a wonderful and momentous occasion." Sujata Shankar, Joint Secretary of the World Peace Centre of Maharashtra, India, in an e-mail to Zed, said, "You have rightly lit the lamp at the right time at the right place." Ann Shannon, President of Lokenath Divine Fellowship in Portland, Oregon, stated, "…it is a profoundly encouraging event…" Raghunandan Sharma, a community activist from Lorton, Virginia, and his wife Anita Sharma, remarked that it was a day of pride for all Americans in general and Indo-Americans in particular.