New York: A commemorative stamp will be issued by US this Diwali 2016, seven year long wait has been completed by Indian-Americans influential American lawmakers to have a stamp marking the Indian festival of lights, a move welcomed by the community.
The stamp that shows a photo of a traditional ‘diya’ lit against a sparkling gold background and the words ‘Forever USA 2016’ written below will be officially reveal on 5 October.
Senator Mark Warner, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus has tweeted “An important recognition for the more than 3 million Indian-Americans who celebrate Diwali,”
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from New York said, The postage stamp will be issued by the US Postal Service (USPS) from November to “honouring Diwali, the festival of lights,”
USPS Sally Andersen-Bruce of Connecticut photographed the diya and Greg procreation of Virginia designed the stamp, with William Gicker of Washington serving as the project’s art director.
On Wednesday Maloney said, the Diwali stamp is a result of “years and years of hard work,”
She lamented that Diwali is being an “important spiritual and cultural festival” for many Indian-Americans and millions around the world; it had not been yet given its own commemorative stamp. Given that every other major religion has its own commemorative stamp, but this stamp for Diwali took a long time to come.
She was joined by India’s Consul General in the city Riva Ganguly Das, lead of the Diwali Stamp Project Ranju Batra and eminent Indian-American attorney Ravi Batra as she made the “historic” announcement from the steps of the City Hall.
Maloney emphasized that the stamp would also be a “very important revenue generator” for the US postal department.
The efforts in the Indian-American community had been lead by Ranju Batra, who as chair of the Diwali stamp project and with the help of other community leaders, got tens of thousands of signatures for petitions to issue the stamp.
Batra said, Maloney had informed about efforts to get a Diwali postage stamp issued, to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visits to the US in 2014 and 2015.
Ravi Batra, praise Maloney for her years-long efforts and said, this move as the “strongest soft power that combines a billion people of India”
Among other lawmakers Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn and House members Joe Crowley, Ed Royce, Ami Bera, and George Holding, all past or present co-chairs of their chamber’s India convention, also led significant campaigns to assure Congressional support for this measure.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the only Hindu member of Congress, led the most recent write in campaign to the USPS with hundreds of signatories.
Gabbard said, “This is an long and demanding process but move by the USPS to recognize Diwali a special day”
“This year and for many more, diyas and spirits will shine brighter, as will greetings cards and gift packages sent put on the Diwali stamp,” said Suhag Shukla, Hindu American Foundation (HAF) executive director and legal counsel.