Community leaders, elected officials in New York, join Arts4All Foundation Diwali

Elected officials and special guests joined in the lamp-lighting ceremony at the Nov. 21, 2023, Arts4All Foundation Diwali in New York. PHOTO: Arts4All

The Arts4All Foundation, founded by Dr. Sumita SenGupta, held its annual Diwali Extravaganza Nov. 21, 2023, attended by notable Indian Americans and South Asians from the tri-state area as well as numerous elected officials of New York, to celebrate family, friendship, community, and praying for world peace. Dr. Sumita SenGupta said her late mother Uma SenGupta had entrusted her to continue her legacy especially the annual Diwali Celebration in her name.

Late Uma SenGupta was, “the first South Asian American elected official in the State of New York and one of the first Indian Americans to organize a community celebration of Diwali in the United States,” a press release from Arts4All said.

Congressman Gregory Meeks, D-NY, with Arts4All Foundation founder Dr. Sumita SenGupta at the Nov. 21, 2023 Diwali event. PHOTO:Arts4All

Among the attendees was US Congressman Gregory Meeks, D-NY, State Assemblyman David Weprin, NYC Councilmen Jim Gennaro and Shekar Krishnan, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and former Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, along with well-known Indian Americans, including Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold.

A lamp-lighting ceremony, traditional decorations of rangoli, diyas, flowers and rice as well as cultural performances were highlights of the event. The cultural program was named Glimpses of India, a concept created by Dr. SenGupta’s mother more than 50 years ago when she began teaching and having Americans perform the numerous forms of Indian cultural arts.

The elected officials joined Dr. Sumita SenGupta in the diya-lighting ceremony which commemorated the nine types of “yoga’s” or pathways to obtain “moksha” or salvation.  

The elected officials, Meeks, Weprin and Gennaro were honored respectively for their excellence in leadership and dedicated service to the Borough of Queens, the New York City, New York State and to the nation.

Special guests including awardees, and other attendees at the Nov. 21, 2023 Arts4All Foundation Diwali in New York. PHOTO: Arts4All

Community leaders, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Dr. Narendra Lodha, Dr. Tara Lodha, Beena Kothari and Adris Chakraborty were honored for their service to the community here and abroad. In particular, Dr. Sudhir Parikh’s remarkable philanthropic work here and in India were especially recognized and highlighted. NY Assemblyman Weprin also recognized Dr. Parikh with a New York State certificate of recognition for his services to the community.

Dr. Sudhir Parikh being recognized with the crystal award by Dr. Sumita SenGupta, as Dr. Sudha Parikh and other special invitees and awardees look on. PHOTO: Arts4All

Congressman Meeks was heralded for his continuous support of the South Asian community as well as for his efforts strengthening US -India relations, as well as his work as chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party, and for being a co-sponsor of the Deepãvali National Holiday Act legislation, which was written by Dr. Sumita SenGupta, and was introduced in Congress on Nov. 4, 2021, by then Congresswoman Maloney.

Assemblyman Weprin has been a strong supporter as well as initiated  legislation that prevents discriminatory acts against the South Asian Community, the press release said. Similarly, Councilman Gennaro has been a very strong supporter of the South Asian Community and has legislated the Co-Naming of the Street Sign, Uma SenGupta Way, to honor the late pioneering leader.

“Diwali has grown into a cultural phenomenon that has over 7 million Americans celebrating this holiday and the number of celebrators continues to grow every year. For over 53 years, my mother, the late, District Leader Mrs. Uma SenGupta celebrated Diwali in New York to share the values and traditions of this auspicious holiday with Americans and to also ensure that observers across different faiths, cultural and social backgrounds can come together in celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and justice or good over injustice or evil,” Dr. Sumita SenGupta is quoted saying in the press release. Diwali, she said, celebrates universal values of “dharma”, “seva” and “vidya” and it meant committing one’s self to building a better future for the world and in improving the quality of life for all.

Sudarshana SenGupta, the son of Dr. Sumita SenGupta, said, “It is wonderful that the holiday of Diwali is being celebrated everywhere since the message of Diwali transcends all cultures and faiths because of its universal values in humanity.”

Dancers Sweta Goswami and Shreya Dastidar receiving a performance recognition certificate from Dr. Sumita SenGupta and Councilman Jim Gennaro. PHOTO: Arts4All

The cultural dances at the event were performed by Shriya Dastidar, Sweta Goswami, musical performances by Sitar player , Kavindra Sahabir, Tabla player, Kushal Sahabir, singers Manik Malhotra and Yaswini Malhotra.



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