Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) (right), Dan Meuser (PA-9) (center right), Representative Shri Thanedar (MI-13) (center left) and Asian American Hotel Owners Association President Bharat Patel (left) light the diya / BAPS
Over 300 members of the Indian American community from across the United States gathered at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights.
Jag Mohan, Minister of Community and Personnel at the Embassy of India graced the event. Also in attendance were Indian American Representatives Ro Khanna and Shri Thanedar along with their colleagues from Congress and Senate.
Lighting the Diya (ceremonial lamp), Congressman Khanna said, “The principles of Diwali - the triumph of good over evil, the triumph of righteousness, the importance of doing your duty - are good reminders to people of all faiths.”
Rep. Ro Khanna address the gathering / BAPS
“Celebration of this festival on Capitol Hill is not only a testament to the diversity and unity within our communities but it is also an opportunity to showcase the strength that comes from cultural preservation and understanding of the various communities,” shared Jag Mohan in his address to the assembly.
Suhag Shukla, executive director of the Hindu American Foundation shared, “Diwali is a time to reflect on the good that is within each of us and to let its light shine through, allowing us to transcend our differences big and small, to alleviate the suffering of others, and to act with wisdom so that we can overcome the darkness of greed, hate, and violence.”
“May the festival of lights inspire us to lift our communities with hope instead of despair and stand up for what’s right. That’s what Diwali is all about,” remarked Rep. Jim Costa on the spirit of the celebration.
BAPS youth perform at the event, Attendees enjoy Indian Sweets and snacks /
While bringing more attention to the Indian American community and interfaith harmony, the event also provided a unified opportunity to celebrate Diwali in the nation's capital, giving attendees the chance to reflect on the universal messages of the festival.
The celebrations were organized by BAPS Public Affairs and a number of Indian American organizations including the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur, Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA), the U.S. Indian Community Foundation, the U.S. India Security Council Inc, and the Indian American Relations Council.