New York: The 10th annual ‘Diwali on the Hudson,’ New York City’s premier, and longest running, Diwali party and charity event, put the spotlight on the health and livelihood of more than 7 million women and children in India. The event, which supports The Desai Foundation’s programs, was held in Hell’s Kitchen where high-profiled guests spent the evening reveling in the triumph of good over evil in its annual festival, colorful, and joyful celebration. This event always featured upland coming talent, great food and drink, and the music has attendees dancing all night. All proceeds from the event will go to the women and girls served by the Desai Foundation.
“We’re thrilled that our 10th annual festival of lights benefit raised awareness and support for The Desai Foundation’s programs,” shares Megha Desai, President of the Desai Foundation. “Diwali is typically celebrated more privately, but we wanted to connect second- and third-generation South Asians of all backgrounds and educate New Yorkers about Diwali. This has become an inclusive tradition for not only generations of Hindu New Yorkers but also a growing number of non-Hindus, who return each year for an unforgettable night of music, food, mithai, fashion, and of course, dancing.”
This year’s event took on special significance this year as Diwali is now officially a New York City public school holiday. U.S. lawmakers have also introduced a bill that, if passed, will mandate federal recognition of the Hindu “Festival of Lights.”
The sold-out event featured a performance by Arianna Asfar, and was attended by celebrity chef Palak Patel, TV star Aparna Shewakramani, Actress Ami Sheth, Nina Davuluri, Singer Falu Shah, Filmmaker Shruti Ganguly, Nikhil Saboo, Actress Sway Bhatia, Sean Gupta (Paramount), Aditi Shah (Peloton), Preeta Nooyi, Anjali Kumar (Author), Shalini Sharma (NBC), Bea Arthur, Raj Girin (Anokhi Magazine), Kunal Merchant (IndoWarehouse), and over 400 New York celebrities, influencers, and business moguls, who celebrated the occasion in elaborate East-West fusion style. It also featured the organization’s executive director and head of advancement programs who lead the team in India and who shared stories from the field about the women the foundation serves. As in previous years, every dollar raised this year will go directly to Desai Foundation’s programs, which range from women’s vocational training and computer literacy programs to “Heroes for Humanity,” a transformative COVID relief and recovery initiative that garnered international accolades from former Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton.