October 10, 2016: The seven-year-long effort of Indian Americans to get Diwali recognised as a cultural holiday has finally paid off. The US Postal service has launched on October 6, the stamp with an Indian Diya or lamp on its face, lit against a sparkling background and the words “Forever USA 2016” written below, at the Indian Consulate.
Diya in the stamp is photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce of Connecticut and design is prepared by Greg Breeding of Virginia, under the direction of William Gicker of Washington, project’s art director. The release was attended by India’s Consul General Riva Ganguly, US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and India’s former diplomat Hardeep Singh Puri, reported PTI.
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According to Ms Maloney, “It has taken many years of hard work and advocacy but the light has finally triumphed. Today Diwali joins the ranks of other major religions and cultural holidays such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Eid.”
“Since the start of the American Revolution, destiny beckoned the US and India to be the closest of allies and the stamp represents nothing short of respectful inclusive indivisibility within America and between the two sovereigns,” said Ravi Batra, Indian-American lawyer to the Press Agency.
Pritha Mehra, Vice President of the US postal service, said, “It was an honour to issue the Diwali stamp and we hope that these lights will light up millions of cards and letters as they make their journey through the mail stream.”
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Ranju Batra, Chairman of the Diwali stamp project, said that it was a dream come true. “Now for the first time, there is a stamp that celebrates Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists as Americans forever. The Diwali stamp will be a matter of pride for generations to come,” she said.
The approval of stamp has been the result of diligent endeavours and resilient commitment of members of Diwali stamp project, the group behind all the efforts, and meetings with Prime minister, Narendra Modi and plea to Barack Obama, President of United States.
– Prepared by Jeenat Grover of NewsGram. Twitter: @JeenatG