Indian Americans rejoice as 15 years of advocacy bears fruit
Washington, DC: The USPS announced the official release of a forever postage stamp commemorating the festival of Diwali, an important festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all around the world. The stamp will be released on a first-day ceremony hosted by the Indian Consulate on October 5th in New York City.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), a leading figure advocating for the stamp, held a celebratory event marking this historic occasion and lauded prominent Indian Americans in the New York City area, Ravi and Ranju Batra of the Diwali Stamp Project for envisioning a Diwali Stamp in the US and leading a campaign for it.
Co-chair of the India Caucus and the only Indian American in the US Congress, Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) said in a statement, “I am thrilled that the United States Postal Service has issued a stamp to celebrate Diwali…Nearly a billion people around the world celebrate this Festival of Lights, including two million right here in the U.S., and this stamp represents the hard work and achievements of all Indian Americans.”
Dr. Shailendra Kumar, an Indian American physician based in Maryland, played an early role in initiating this cause in 2001. In 2007, the US Congress officially recognized Diwali’s significance, and in 2009, President Barack Obama lit the symbolic diya, or Diwali lamp, at the White House. Activists Ravi and Ranju Batra in 2013 succeeded in gathering over 400,000 online signatures calling for the stamp. And in 2015, Senate India Caucus co-chairs Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced Senate Resolution 113, calling for a Diwali Stamp in the U.S. Community engagement, online petitions and social media interactions built up critical momentum to lead to eventual success.
Sanjay Puri, Chairman of USINPAC welcomed the release of the Diwali Stamp saying, ‘The Indian American community has had a sustained positive impact on the culture and traditions of the US. Elements of all major religions find expression here and it is indeed momentous that finally Diwali too, which is part of Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, has been recognized and commemorated by the USPS.”
The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is the voice of over 3.2 million Indian- Americans and works on issues that concern the community. It supports candidates for local, state and federal office and encourages political participation by the Indian- American community. Visit www.usinpac.com for more details.