History was created when on October 5, USPS representatives officially unveiled the Diwali Stamp at the Indian Consulate in New York. It took almost seven years for a determined lady to achieve what appeared unachievable to many before her. The crusader was not deterred by numerous obstacles and setbacks which were formidable enough to break any body with lesser courage. But here was a Ranju Batra who felt it was unjust that while other religions had their festivals recognized by the USPS and a stamp issued to commemorate them, there was no such commemorative stamp for one of the most widely celebrated festivals in the world. She decided that this injustice was to be undone.
While Ranju was President of the Association of Indians in America, New York Chapter which organizes the now famous South Street Seaport Diwali, way back in 2010-2011, she conferred with Ambassador Hardeep Puri on the subject of having the USPS issue a Diwali Stamp. Ambassador Puri encouraged her as also her husband Ravi Batra. Once she started, there was no stopping her. She made the Diwali Stamp her song for ever. She got lawmakers together to introduce a legislation in the Congress. She spent hours, days, weeks, months cajoling community leaders in to supporting her crusade. Some did. Many did not. But she remained undeterred. When she got an opportunity to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she made a request that he use his good offices with President Obama to have the Diwali Stamp issued to commemorate the festival of millions in the US and billions in India. She even made a request to President Obama.
Seven years is a long period to tire any one. But not Ranju who succeeded, ultimately in fulfilling her dream and brought honor and cheer to billions of Indians across the world. They say in Persian “Himmate marda, madade Khuda”-God helps those who help themselves. Three Cheers to Diwali Stamp;three cheers to Indians everywhere and surely, many more cheers to Ranju Batra.