NEW YORK: After having tried in vain for nearly a decade, the Indian diaspora in the United States is bracing to make another concerted attempt, with the support of a US Congresswoman, to have a Deepavali commemorative stamp issued. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, addressing the Indian community yesterday at the Indian consulate-general in New York, urged members and leaders of the Indian diaspora to continue supporting efforts to get the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) of the United States Postal Services (USPS) to issue a commemorative Diwali stamp. Deepavali, as it is known in Malaysia, Singapore and some other countries, is also called Diwali in India, Nepal and other parts of the world. The large and financially powerful Indian diaspora, which has a three million population alone from India in the United States, is much larger with the inclusion of people of Indian origin from other countries such as the Caribbean islands, Mauritius, Singapore, Malaysia, etc., not to mention people from Nepal and Sri Lanka who have also urged the USPS in the past to issue a Deepavali stamp.
“It is high time the USPS issues a Diwali stamp. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, marks the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness … “ Maloney said. “Issuing a Diwali stamp would officially recognize the size and significance of the country’s Indian American population which comprises over three million people, and would also provide the USPS with the sorely-needed revenue,” she told Bernama on the sidelines of the event at the Indian consulate-general. Ambassador Dnyaneshwar M Mulay, the Indian consul-general in New York, was also present during Maloney’s presentation. Maloney has spearheaded efforts in Congress since several years to push the CSAC to consider issuing a commemorative Diwali stamp. Indeed, In January, Maloney introduced House Resolution 27, expressing the sense of the US House of Representatives that the CSAC should issue a Diwali stamp. She wrote letters to the CSAC in 2010 and 2012 requesting the same action. But the “big push”, as the Indian diaspora calls it, comes from Ranju Batra, who until recently was the president of the Association of Indians in America – New York, and who says that it has been her “uppermost desire” to get the Diwali stamp issued. Batra, a close friend of Maloney and a major catalyst in the effort to get the Diwali stamp issued, had asked the Congresswoman to provide the national leadership on the effort.