Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives recognising the religious and historical significance of the festival of lights, Diwali to millions of Indian-Americans. The resolution was introduced yesterday and has the backing of five other lawmakers. Co-sponsored by Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Tulsi Gabbard, Ami Bera and Joe Crowley, the resolution has been sent to the House Foreign Relations Committee for necessary action. While Bera, Jayapal, and Khanna are Indian-American lawmakers, Gabbard is the first Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress and Crowley is a top Democratic Congressman.
“I’m proud to introduce this resolution recognising Diwali’s religious and historical significance for millions of Indian-Americans,” Krishnamoorthi said. For Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in the United States and across the world, Diwali represents a time for giving thanks, and celebrating the triumph of light over darkness as well as good over evil, he said. Noting that this year many members of the Congress will celebrate Diwali in the US Capitol for the first time, the resolution expresses its “deepest respect” for the Indian- Americans and the Indian diaspora across the world on the occasion.
It acknowledges and supports the relationship of collaboration and respect between the US and India, and recognises and appreciates the religious diversity in both the countries and throughout the world. In a separate statement, the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and co-chair Bob Paduchik wished the “Hindu, Jain and Sikh friends a happy festival of lights.” “During the festival, we hope those who celebrate are surrounded by family and friends as they practice the religious traditions of this meaningful holiday,” she said. “The lightening of diya on Diwali is a joyful celebration of the triumphant victory of light over darkness.
We as Republicans embrace and continue to support religious freedom in our great country and encourage sharing these traditions with our very diverse communities,” McDaniel said. For Congressman Gregory W Meeks, Diwali is the “boldest, brightest, and the most widely-observed Hindu festival.” “Diwali affords individuals … an occasion to reflect on what they are doing to enlighten, to open, and to lift themselves, their families, neighbours, friends, communities, and country into the bright light of peace, progress, and prosperity for all people and all nations,” he said. “This is why Diwali is for everyone to let the light of awareness shine within themselves and from themselves outward to others,” Meeks added.
Another Congressman John Sarbanes said: “By lighting the diya, or lamp, Diwali reminds us that the good will outlast evil, that knowledge will triumph over ignorance.” “To all those who are joining in this observance, I wish you and your families a wonderful and heartwarming celebration,” he said.