US congressmen Indian-Americans celebrate Diwali at US Capitol

By Lalit K Jha
    Washington, Nov 15 (PTI) Top US lawmakers along with leading Indian-Americans from across the country celebrated Diwali at the US Capitol, pledging to further strengthen Indo-US relationship.
    Highlighting the contributions of Indian-Americans in the socio-economic development of the country and the rich cultural diversity they bring to their adopted land, a number of top American senators and congressmen celebrated the festival of lights, a day after US President Donald Trump
commemorated Diwali.
    Speaking on the occasion, the top American Senators and Congressmen pledged to work to further strengthen the India-US relationship.
"We are privileged to have your support. The Indian Embassy really feels very much comfortable on the Hill," Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Singh Sarna said, addressing the Diwali celebrations organised in association with top Indian-American organisations from across the country.
    "We find so much support, no matter which corridor we walked through, which door we knock on, we always get a warm welcome and great support," he said.
    "Frankly, we are the beneficiaries of all the hard work of the community that you see here. They Indian-American community which has been working its way steadily and hard and diligently into the right places in the society, the polity of the United States," Sarna said.
    Celebration of Diwali at the US Capitol, now an annual event, he observed, if nothing else, "is a recognition" of the position that the community has in the US and the position that India has in the of world view of the US.
     Diwali was celebrated across the world on November 7.
    A day earlier, Sarna shared the podium with President Trump at the White House Diwali celebrations. Last week, he was the chief guest at the State Department Diwali celebrations.
    "I think all of this shows the increasing familiarity with India and Indian culture. Diwali is a quintessentially Indian festival and I'm so happy that it is now being celebrated in such a wide way," Sarna said.
    Prominent among those attended the US Congress Diwali celebrations were Senators Tom Tillis, Bill Cassidy, Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard, Pramila Jayapal, Grace Meng, and Norma Torres, and Congressmen Raja Krishnamoorthi, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Pete Sessions and Keith Rothfus. The White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah also attended the Diwali event.
    "Happy Diwali! The Hindu Festival of Lights is a time to celebrate the light in our lives, rather than darkness. Let’s carry tonight’s joyous celebration within ourselves and share that light with others," Torres said in a tweet.
    Diwali celebrations at the US Capitol was co-hosted by several Indian-American organisations including Indiaspora, Hindu American Foundation, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha , Art of Living Foundation, Federation of Jain Association in North America, Jain Society of Metropolitan Washington, and US-Friendship Council with support from US India Business Council. PTI LKJ AMS AKJ AMS