Elisha Pulivarti/ Washington DC
Indian festival Diwali or Deepavai will be celebrated in New York city, the US, as a public holiday from new year, 2023. This year, of course, it will be celebrated as optional holiday. This is a joyous and delightful news not only to around 200,000 Indian Americans in New York city, but also to thousands of other Indian diaspora in the US and millions across the world.
In fact, Diwali, festival of lights is being celebrated with enthusiasm in the US for long. I was happy to have been present at White House when then US President George W Bush first officially celebrated Diwali during his tenure. Since then, Diwali is being celebrated in White House, US presidential residence. Thousands of Indian Americans and many Asians too celebrate this unique festival, in houses and communities.
New York mayor Eric Adams decision to declare public holiday on Diwali festival in the city is unique and welcome. This shows the significance of Indian Americans who have contributed a lot for the growth and development of the US in many ways in many fields. Every year, thousands of Indian students come to the US. Adams said in an interview to an Indian news agency that he had learnt a lot about the festival recently.
Adams was accompanied by New York Assembly member Jennifer Rajkumar and New York City Schools Chacellor David Banks. Adams said by declaring a public holiday on Diwali he wanted to convey “a loud and unambiguous statement to innumerable people who acknowledge this season of celebrations”. Indian Americans have long been asking for this.
Indian consul general in New York Randhir Jaiswal told PTI that this recognition gives a deeper meaning to diversity and pluralism n New York city while allowing individuals from all walks of the life to experience, appreciate and enjoy Indian ethos and legacy. Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists join the Diwali celebrations in the US.
Sripriya Ranganathan welcomed
Indian diaspora welcomed newly appointed Deputy Chief of Mission at the Indian Embassy, Washington DC in a grand style. Diwali celebrations got enhanced by the arrival of Sripriya Ranganathan, a career diplomat in the US. I, in the capacity of CEO of US India SME Council talked about the importance of SMEs in strengthening bonds between the US and India.
Sripriya is married to Mukund Santhanam and is blessed with a child. She speaks Tamil, Hindi, English and a little Turkish too. Sripriya with a masters degree in History from Delhi University is known for her commitment to the cause of women empowerment and social justice. Members of National Council of Asian Indian associations joined to felicitate Sripriya Ranganathan on October 21, Friday.