From Narain Kataria
Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights, was celebrated at the City Hall in New York on November 2, with great fanfare and enthusiasm.
Addressing the gathering, Rajiv Gowda, a Democrat, and 1st Vice President, NYC Community Education Council, Staten Island, stated that recognition of Deepavali as a festival by the City Council is very important for over one billion Hindus all over the globe. It is a historic milestone for Hindus of New York.
Shri Gowda said the Bill for suspension of parking rules on the eve of Deepavali was pending for a very long time. It was Speaker Gifford Miller who played a pivotal role in getting the Bill passed in the Council. He expressed his special thanks to Gifford Miller, Gale Brewer, John Liu, Alan Gerson, Helen Sears, David Weprin and all other members of the City Council for their whole-hearted support for the Bill.
John Liu, Transport Secretary, said the Bill for suspension of parking rules, which was passed earlier by City Council, has been vetoed by Mayor Bloomberg. ?We have enough support in the Council?, said Shri Liu. To the delight of the audience, Shri Liu announced: ?We will override the veto in the November 16 meeting and then it will become a law.?
Arish Sahani, President of Association of Indians in America (NY Chapter), said: ?Deepavali is a very important festival for the Hindus. It marks the triumph of good over evil and gives a universal message of peace and harmony. We Hindus are very law abiding and hard working citizens of this country. We have immensely contributed to the economic development of New York.? He also expressed his gratitude to the City Council members.
Normally Deepavali function is organised by Indian organisations at their own expenses. This is the first time that Deepavali function was arranged at the expenses of the City Hall.
Madhulika Khandelwal explained the significance of Deepavali. Dances were performed by students of Sadhnalaya.