The campaign to get the U.S. Postal Service to issue a commemorative Diwali stamp gained momentum this week with the introduction of a resolution in the House of Representatives on January 14 and a Congresswoman writing a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to support this cause on the eve of his visit to India.
On Friday Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the Consul General of India in New York Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Chair of the Diwali Stamp Project Ranju Batra, and Chair of the National Advisory Council of South Asian Affairs Ravi Batra gathered at the Indian Consulate along with supporters to encourage the USPS to issue a postage stamp to commemorate the holiday Diwali.
In her letter to the White House Ms. Maloney said, “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.”
Ms. Batra underscored the efforts to take forward Diwali stamp campaign saying, “We have gathered thousands upon thousands of signatures, letters and petitions. 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.”
Ms. Maloney also introduced House Resolution 32 to build congressional support for the stamp, which builds upon her multi-year campaign to, initially, push the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) to consider issuing the stamp and then in 2013, introducing House Resolution 47, with 46 cosponsors expressing the sense of the House that the CSAC should issue the Diwali stamp.
This week the Indian Consulate threw its weight behind the cause too, with Consul General Mulay saying, “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. It bonds together a billion people all over the world who celebrate the uplifting spirit behind the lighting of lamps… [and] shall definitely add to the already existing good will and strengthen the relations between our two countries.”
Ms. Maloney also emphasised that USPS had recognised other major religious and cultural holidays through stamp issuance including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Eid.
Mr. Batra said that the USPS could no longer ignore Hinduism and the calls for a Diwali Stamp from the Hindu community adding, “This year, the Diwali Stamp will be approved – U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has to be reminded that they are currently in violation of a core Constitutional obligation of government – ‘Equal Protection of the Law.’”