Diwali is a special occasion in India and is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm across the world. The festival of light, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil, brought people together to make a grand spectacle of unity and brotherhood. While Diwali is celebrated with full enthusiasm in India, the Indian diaspora living abroad left no stone unturned in putting the best festive foot forward.
New York's iconic Times Square was lit up with Diwali festivities as the Indian diaspora living in the US got together to enjoy every moment of it. Jaipur Foot USA in collaboration with Association of Indians in America (AIA) New York chapter hosted a grand Deepavali event at NY's Times Square, displaying the true spirit and grit of India away from home.
The Diwali function at Times Square had everything from the Diya-lighting ceremony to the playing of drums to the delight of spectators. People were enjoying the festivities organized as a part of the Diwali celebrations at Times Square. People played drums and danced their hearts out and sweets were also distributed to add the perfect desi touch to the festival in the US.
Heads of many organizations, including AIA, FIA NYNJCTNE, RANA, Bihar Foundation of USA, ETZ, and REDIO came together to wish Deepavali to one and all. Harish Thakkar, President of the AIA NY chapter, was accompanied by chief guest Dr. Samin Sharma, a noted interventional cardiologist at Mt Sinai, Prem Bhandari, Chairman of Jaipur Foot USA, Dr. Varun Jeph, Deputy Consul General of India in New York, for the Deepawali celebrations at Times Square. A poster with Deepavali greetings from the leaders was also displayed at Times Square.
Srinivas Ranga, Corporate Vice President at New York life insurance company, Dr. Samin Sharma, John Liu, New York State senator, and Prem Bhandari lit the lamp during the inaugural ceremony at Times Square.
What truly stood out at the event was the personalized message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishing the Indian diaspora on the occasion and commending the philanthropic work carried out by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), Jaipur Foot USA.
PM Modi's greeting addressed to not just 46 lakh Indians living in the US but to 40 million OCIs across the world, was displayed on a mobile LED screen van at Times Square. People were seen taking photos in the backdrop of PM Modi's message as many foreigners were also taking selfies in front of the mobile LED screen van with the PM's message on it. Besides, the Prime Minister's message will be displayed on the NASDAQ billboard for five days.
PM Modi's Deepavali greetings for Indian diaspora
"It is heartening to note that Jaipur Foot USA, The Association of Indians in America and members of the global Indian diaspora will be celebrating Deepavali and spreading joy at many prominent places in the United States of America.
There are many reasons that Deepavali is a very special time for people of the Indian community, which also showcases our unique diversity. For some, this is a time to welcome a new year, for some others, it is an occasion that represents the victory of good over evil and for many more, it is a time to celebrate prosperity.
No matter what the reason to celebrate is, one thing that binds everyone together is that this is a time for coming together and spreading joy.
I would like to commend Jaipur Foot USA and its mother organisation Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti for the sterling work that is being done to bring hope and cheer into the lives of many people.
It is also interesting to note that this work is happening in some strife-torn areas which desperately need a healing touch.
Acts of service that bring hope into the lives of those enduring pain and violence represent the true spirit of Deepavali — which is that of light dispelling darkness.
The humanitarian work being done by these organisations are yet another example of the way the global Indian diaspora brings alive the quintessential Indian ideal of "सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः, सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः".
I wish all the members of the Indian community across the world a very happy Deepavali.
May Maa Mahalakshmi bless the world with health and happiness."
India for Humanity & BMVSS
Speaking to International Business Times on the sidelines of the Times Square event, Prem Bhandari, a prominent voice of the Indian diaspora in the world, thanked PM Modi for the praising words and said "we are very thankful to Honourable PM Modi for making our parent organization BMVSS partner for India for Humanity initiative and under this program, our parent organization has done 17 international camp and 18th camp is going on in Syria."
Bhandari, who is also the chairman of REDIO, added on behalf of BMVSS founder and chief patron Padma Bhushan DR Mehta that the 19th camp in Fiji will start soon.
So far, BMVSS under the "India for Humanity" program has conducted Jaipur Foot camps in Malawi, Iraq, Nepal, Egypt, Vietnam, Senegal, Tanzania, Namibia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Syria, Myanmar, Uganda, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Equatorial Guinea, and South Sudan, where over 8,500 artificial limbs have been fitted for the needy at no cost.