Washington, Oct 30 (UNI) For the first time in the history of the US Congress, a bill recognising the religious and historical significance of the Indian festival of Diwali was adopted by the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority.
House Resolution 747 was passed last night by a vote of 358 to 0.
Congressman Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, said during the debate,''Celebrated by the people of India, the Indian Diaspora and the nearly two million Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains who call America their home, the Diwali festival is a five-day event held in the fall that celebrates the values of kinship, knowledge, and goodness. It signifies the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. This is commonly represented by individuals lighting oil lamps and placing them outside their homes.
''My resolution acknowledges the international, religious, and historical importance of the festival of Diwali as well as the religious diversity in India, the US, and throughout the world. It shows our support for the strong and growing partnership and dialogue in international efforts between the US and India. Lastly, it recognises the importance of Indian Americans-- a strong and vibrant immigrant community.'' He went on to say that his admiration for India and all that is Indian went back to childhood days when his father served in India during World War II, and often told him how entrepreneurial and competent the people of India are. He called upon his colleagues here in the House of Representatives to think of India, as a very important, strategic and economic ally.