Diwali at Times Square 2021

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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, left, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, 2nd from right, and Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, right, lighting the lamp at the Times Square Diwali celebrations held Oct. 30, 2021. Photo: ITV Gold
Dancers from one of the troupes that performed at the Oct. 30, 2021 Diwali at Times Square. Photo: ITV Gold.

A massive crowd gathered at Times Square Oct. 30, 2021, to celebrate Diwali at the ‘Crossroads of the World’ and usher in the new year for more than a billion people around the globe.

Neeta Bhasin, founder of Diwali at Times Square, an event being held since 2013, addressing the crowd at the Oct. 30, 2021, Diwali celebrations. Bhasin is the president of ASB Communications, a multicultural events management and marketing company.

Dances and songs, bhangra and speeches marked Diwali at Times Square which had a special meaning this year coming as it did after the devastating Covid-19 pandemic.

United States Sen. Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, New York State Sen. John Liu, Padma Shri Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, H.R. Shah of TV Asia, representatives of the Indian Police Officers Society from the New York Police Department, and several other special guests spoke on stage about the meaning of Diwali and the joy of celebrating it after Covid.

Dr. Parikh thanked Shoprite and for the ‘great function’ of Diwali that it was supporting, and praised the company for the work it did for the community, and encouraged it to continue the good work.

U.S. Senator Charles Ellis Schumer addressing the crowd at the Oct. 30, 2021 Diwali at Times Square, as Neeta Bhasin, founder of the event, India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal, 2nd from right, and Dr. Sudhir Parikh look on. Photo: ITV Gold

“It is an honor to be here at this historic occasion, when the ball will drop for Diwali jus as it does for New Year, which shows how wonderful and important the Indian-American community is here in New ork and all over America,” said  Sen. Schumer.

Indian-origin police officers from the NYPD address the crowd at Diwali in Times Square Oct. 30, 2021, as Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, 2nd from left, and India’s Consul General Randhir Jaiswal, right, look on. (Photo: ITV Gold)

Schumer said he believed in immigration and “immigrants make America great” because they believe in the American Dream and embody American values even as they bring their traditions to this country. He bemoaned a rise in hate crimes and emphasized, “We must shout it down. We must fight it. We must prosecute it, and we must welcome more Indians to come to America and New York, because the more Indians there are in New York, the greater New York will be.”

Consul General Jaiswal wished everyone a Happy Diwali for their loved ones and peace and prosperity for all. “More importantly, it is a time when we must introspect on some of the foundational values of our spciety – on kindness, compassion, sharing, being unified, being together…”

Congresswoman Maloney wished everyone present and dwelt on the need to recognize Mahatma Gandhi with a Congressional Gold Medal, something for which she has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives.

“Look at this amazing crowd!” exclaimed State Sen. Liu. “We are finally getting out of this long dark tunnel of Covid-19.”

 Dancers from one of the troupes that performed at the Oct. 30, 2021 Diwali at Times Square. Photo: ITV Gold.

This year in contrast to last year, Liu said, the number of Diwali celebrations has risen, “in our schools, in our mandirs, and City Hall,” he said, a tradition he started when he was a New York City Councillor. “There’s no better place to celebrate Diwali than at the ‘Crossroads of the World’, right here in Times Square, New York City. Because this is such an important holiday for billions of people around the world symbolizing the victory of good over evil, light over darkness …”

The Times Square Diwali was started by event organizer Neeta Bhasin, president of ASB Communications, a New York-based multicultural marketing and event management company, in 2013. “After the pandemic, we are here to uplift the spirit of the people. And we want to showcase this vibrant India, and India’s culture, art and diversity to the world,” Bhasin told Yahoo!News.

Presented by Shoprite and organized by Bhasin, the event included an invigorating bhangra performance by Sarina Jain’s Masala Bhangra group that got people on the ground moving to the beat.

Also among the speakers was Sparsh Shah, singer, songwriter, inspirational speaker and philanthropist from New Jersey, who got the crowd joining with his powerful singing. Several dance troupes performed at the event.

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