Congresswoman Maloney calls on President Obama to support Diwali stamp on his upcoming trip to India; announces introduction of congressional resolution in support of stamp
NEW YORK CITY (TIP): Congresswoman Maloney (NY-12), the Consul General of India in New York Ambassador Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, Chair of the Diwali Stamp Project Ranju Batra, and Chair of the National Advisory Council of South Asian Affairs Ravi Batra on January 16 gathered at the Indian Consulate to encourage the United States Postal Service to issue a postage stamp to commemorate the holiday Diwali. Maloney on Jan 14 wrote to President Obama urging him to support a Diwali stamp when he visits India next week.
“Although Diwali holds a great significance for many Americans and well over a billion people across the globe, the United States Postal Service has still not recognized this beautiful festival of lights with a commemorative stamp, although it has done so for other major religious and cultural holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Eid,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “It is time for the USPS to step up and recognize the importance of this holiday in the lives of many of our citizens by issuing a commemorative stamp. A relatively small action would hold great meaning for millions of people and I think it would be historic if President Obama would announce his support for a Diwali stamp during his upcoming trip to India”
”Diwali is a festival that is integral to the life of every person of Indian ancestry irrespective of whether the person lives in India or abroad,” said Consul General Mulay. “It bonds together a billion people all over the world who celebrate the uplifting spirit behind the lighting of lamps – Diwali. The Diwali stamp by the United States shall definitely add to the already existing good will and strengthen the relations between our two countries. The laudable effort by Ranju Batra and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and all others of goodwill supporting this focused effort, is a welcome gesture that is bound to bring cheer to everybody invested in the India-US relationship.”
“We have gathered thousands upon thousands of signatures, letters and petitions, said Ranju Batra. “Apparently, what we have done so far has not been enough to get the Diwali Stamp issued. We are going to continue our efforts, with grassroots’ support, and won’t stop until we get it.”
“USPS can no longer ignore Hinduism and the calls for a Diwali Stamp from the Hindu community and our dear friend and champion, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney,” said Ravi Batra. “This year, the Diwali Stamp will be approved – US Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe has to be reminded that they are currently in violation of a core Constitutional obligation of government – ‘Equal Protection of the Law.'”
Shiv Dass, President of Jackson Heights Indian Merchants’ Association recalled his effort in 2003 to have a Diwali stamp issued. He said his friend Congressman Joe Crowley had tried to have the stamp issued but the effort proved abortive. He said he was happy that Ranju Batra had revived the demand and Congresswoman Maloney and community leaders were supportive of the demand. He appreciated the role of Ambassador Mulay in encouraging the community to come together in support of Ranju Batra and Congresswoman Maloney.
On January 14, 2015 Congresswoman Maloney introduced H. Res. 32, urging the USPS to issue a commemorative holiday stamp for Diwali. For several years, Congresswoman Maloney has headed efforts in Congress to push the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) to consider issuing a commemorative Diwali stamp. In 2013, Congresswoman Maloney introduced H.Res. 47, expressing the sense of the U.S. House of Representatives that the CSAC should issue a Diwali stamp. The bill had 46 cosponsors. Maloney wrote letters to the CSAC in 2010 and 2012 requesting the same action.