Indian Americans celebrate Diwali at Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota: October 18th marked a historic moment for Indian Americans across the State of Minnesota as the leadership from the community celebrated Diwali at the state capitol in Saint Paul, Minnesota with Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flannigan.

The celebration began with the recitation of the Shanti Mantra from the Vedas chanted by Vishal Agarwal. The prayer for peace to encompass every corner of the universe was translated in English by Sarang Tantry, a senior at the Wayzata High School who along with several high schoolers attended the event. Amongst others, guests included leaders from the Hindu Society of Minnesota, S.V. Temple, BAPS, IAM, and the Sikh and Jain Community. Eminent leaders from the Business, Arts and Music, and Community Outreach sections of the community were also part of the celebration.

Lauding the contributions made by some 40,000 plus Indian Americans who live in Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz said, “This first ever Diwali celebration is a testament to the rich cultural heritage and contributions of the community to the state of Minnesota in all walks of life.”

Governor Walz emphasized the importance of embracing diversity and the role that the community plays in making Minnesota great. The Governor also stressed the significance of religious freedom and the responsibility to ensure that everyone feels seen, heard, and welcomed. Governor Walz issued a special Proclamation declaring October as The Hindu Heritage Month.

The proclamation acknowledges the millions of Hindu, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhist followers living in the United States and the vibrant Indian community in Minnesota. It highlights the immense contributions made by Indian Americans in various fields, including science, education, medicine, law, politics, business, technology, culture, and sports. This proclamation signifies the cultural richness and diversity that the Indian American community brings to Minnesota.

Governor Walz was joined by Lieutenant Governor Flanagan to light the traditional Diya along with Vallabha Tantry and Gopal Khanna. Tantry and Khanna representing the Association of Indians in America (AIA) in Minnesota worked with the governor’s office and Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans in bringing Diwali to the State Capitol.

The celebration continued with a speech by Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and other distinguished representatives. Flanagan, herself the first Native American Lt. Governor of the state, appreciated being part of the first-ever Diwali at the State Capitol.

Upon receiving GANESH Murthi presented to the governor as a special gift, he said “This gift will have a permanent placement in the governor’s mansion as a momento for the first Diwali celebration.” The Lt. Governor was presented with The Bhagwat Gita by Shri Chinmayanand.

Image courtesy of Provided

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