Dozens of Countries Support UN Diwali Event

Ravi Batra, Amb. Syed Akbarrudin, Ranju Batra, A-PGA Mwaba Patricia Kasese-Bota, Amb. Andrei Dapkiunas

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New York – The United Nations recently hosted a dedication ceremony to commemorate the release of a Diwali postage stamp by the United States Postal Service (USPS). Earlier this year, the facade of the UN headquarters was lit in bright hues and the words ‘Happy Diwali’, along with the image of a traditional ‘diya’, projected onto the building.

“Today’s celebration is not of a religion, not of a nation, but it is of the spirit of harmonious inclusiveness and cultural understanding that all religions deserve,” said Ranju Batra, Chair, Diwali Stamp Project, noting the touching journey, “While my journey took 7 years, Diwali Stamp is here FOREVER.”

A total of 23 countries, including two UN Security Council permanent members, France and the UK, supported the dedication ceremony. On October 5th, the Diwali Stamp was unveiled and dedicated by USPS with full official pomp and circumstance. Kevin Crocilla, Postmaster for New York City was present at the UN event, as he was on October 5th.

Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations told the audience, “The celebration of Diwali at the United Nations is a reaffirmation of the foundational objectives of the UN Charter and its purposes and principles, which stand as a force for universal good,” adding, “The Diwali Forever stamp is similarly a shining tribute to the celebration of multi-culturalism.”

Applauding the unflinching efforts of Ranju Batra as “one of the leading lights of the Diwali Forever stamp movement,” Akbaruddin said amid laughter and applause, “I may be pardoned if I take liberties with an established adage a bit and say that behind every successful woman stands a strong man. Also welcome in our midst Mr Ravi Batra, the man who stoutly supported Ranju’s efforts.”

Ravi Batra told the audience, “For the Recipe that Ranju painstakingly employed over 7 years – consent-based support from Good people willing to pledge their “sacred honor” with their signature – is the exact path for the United Nations to honor and deliver on its highest Ideals and help create “a more perfect world.”

Giving details of her 7 year journey to pursue the stamp issuance, Ranju Batra pointed at her favorite paper petition. “The one I liked the most was where I put actual images of stamps already issued by US Postal Service for Christmas, Eid, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Lunar New Year with the message saying: We are happy you have issued all these stamps. Now it’s time for Diwali Stamp. From my side those petitions were messages of peace,” said Ranju Batra.

Ranju Batra expressed her “heart-felt thanks and share the success of the Diwali Stamp with all 23 countries who joined this event: Belarus, India, Armenia, Austria, Azerbajian, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Germany, Honduras, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Moldova, Morocco, Nepal, Panama, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine.”

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