The resolution, co-sponsored by Ami Bera, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal, recognizes the religious and historical significance of the festival.
Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi on Thursday introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives recognizing the “religious and historical significance” of Diwali “for millions of Indian Americans.”
The resolution has six co-sponsors, all Democrats: fellow Indian American Representatives Ami Bera, Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Joe Crowley of New York.
A Krishnamoorthi spokesman said so far no Republican has signed up as a co-sponsor, but the congressman is hoping that a few will be on board by next week.
The resolution also “recognizes and appreciates the religious diversity in both India and the United States and throughout the world,” and “acknowledges and supports the relationship of collaboration and respect between the United States and India.”
In a press statement, the lawmaker said that he was “proud to introduce this resolution recognizing Diwali’s religious and historical significance for millions of Indian Americans.”
Krishnamoorthi, who represents the 8th District of Illinois, is one of the four Indian Americans in the House.
“For Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains here in the United States and across the world, Diwali represents a time for giving thanks, and celebrating the triumph of light over darkness as well as good over evil,” he said. “It is a time for families to gather, light lamps in the home, and pray for good health and peace. To all those who celebrate, I wish them a safe and happy Diwali.”
Krishnamoorthi serves on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and on the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Here’s the text of the resolution:
Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.
Whereas for millions of Indian Americans, Diwali (or Deepavali) is a time for thanksgiving and prayer for health, knowledge and peace;
Whereas this year, 2017, many Members of Congress will celebrate Diwali in the United States Capitol for the first time;
Whereas Diwali, a festival of great significance to Indian Americans, is celebrated annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and others throughout the United States;
Whereas Diwali is a festival of lights, during which celebrants light small oil lamps, place them around the home, and pray for health, knowledge and peace; Whereas celebrants of Diwali believe that the rows of lamps symbolize the light within the individual that rids the soul of the darkness of ignorance;
Whereas Diwali falls on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar and is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and the beginning of the New Year for many Hindus;
Whereas for Hindus, Diwali is a celebration of the belief that light triumphs over darkness, and good triumphs over evil; Whereas for Sikhs, Diwali is feted as the day on which the sixth founding Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind, was released from captivity by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir;
Whereas for Jains, Diwali marks the anniversary of the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankaras (founders of the Jain philosophy); and
Whereas Diwali is a celebration of great importance in Indian American communities throughout the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
recognizes the historical and religious significance of Diwali;
in observance of Diwali, the festival of lights, expresses its deepest respect for Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world on this significant occasion;
recognizes and appreciates the religious diversity in both India and the United States and throughout the world; and
acknowledges and supports the relationship of collaboration and respect between the United States and India.
President Trump celebrates Diwali by lighting ‘diya’ in Oval Office (October 18, 2017)