Governor Hochul joins community for Diwali, thanks Indian-Americans for supporting her

Several guests joined New York Governor Kathy Hochul for lighting the lamps at the Diwali celebrations held in memory of late Dr. Uma Sengupta, October 30, 2022, at World’s Fair Marina. Photo: Kripa Prasad

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, attended an event to celebrate Diwali held in memory of late Dr. Uma Sengupta, a community activist and Democratic District Leader. The event was hosted by her daughter Dr. Sumita Sengupta at the World’s Fair Marina in New York City October 30, 2022.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, center, flanked by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, left, and Dr. Sumita Sengupta, right, as well as other members of the community including Dr. Sudhir Parikh, 2nd from left, State Senator John Liu, behind Dr. Sengupta, participating in the lamp-lighting ceremony at the Oct. 30, 2022 Diwali celebrations at World’s Fair Marina. Photo: Kripa Prasad

Among the guests were several politicians and community leaders, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, New York State Senators John Liu and Toby Stavisky, New York City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, as well as Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media/ITV Gold, and Dr. Sudha Parikh, Dr. Susmita Jasty, and Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori. Four women were awarded recognition for championing legislation to have Diwali celebrated as a National holiday, advocating for the South Asian community and working to advance society through community service. They included Gov. Hochul, Rep. Maloney, Assistant Commissioner with New York State Homes and Community Renewal Simone-Marie L. Meeks and philanthropist Swati Bhise.

New York Mayor Kathy Hochul with Dr. Sumita Sengupta at the Oct. 30, 2022, Diwali celebration held at World’s Fair Marina. Photo: Kripa Prasad

Dr. Sumita Sengupta started the celebrations and commemoration of her mother’s life by reciting a Sanskrit shloka. She spoke about her mother’s life, describing her as “the first South Asian American elected official in the State of New York,” a trailblazer, and one who celebrated Diwali every year where elected leaders came. Just before her death, Dr. Uma Sengupta held a party where heavy hitters like Sen. Charles Schumer came. Dr. Sumita Sengupta said she is holding this year’s event to uphold her mother’s tradition.

Governor Hochul in her speech, praised the Indian-American community. “I come with a heart full of gratitude to a community that has supported me,” she said. She praised the late Dr. Uma Sengupta. “Tonight, I think of Uma for the light she brought from her humble beginnings to come here and build a strong sense of engagement and empowerment and lifted up this community.”

Gov. Hochul called it a “privilege to share this night with you,” and recognized among others, Rep. Maloney, saying, “She continues to show up because she loves this community so dearly and I remember her being so proud when she could finally deliver something that was so important to all of you and that was that the first ever dwelling stamp.”

The Governor indicated she knew how important the Diwali stamp was to Indian Americans, “And I was truly proud to invite many of you to the first ever Diwali celebration offered by the state of New York. I thought it was long overdue.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, speaking at the Oct. 30, 2022, Diwali event at World’s Fair Marina, organized by Dr. Sumita Sengupta in memory of her mother, the Late Dr. Uma Sengupta. Photo: Kripa Prasad

In her interview with ITV Gold, Rep. Rep. Maloney called it a great honor to celebrate Diwali with Indian-Americans and other South Asians. “We’re here in a blessed memory of Uma Sengupta and Sumita is carrying on a legacy of Uma and it’s very appropriate because she was education. She was learning. She was light. And that’s what Diwali is about.”

Maloney hoped the Diwali stamp would be reissued as it was “so successful.” She referred to the bill she introduced in Congress making Diwali a federal holiday.

Dr. Sudha Parikh told ITV Gold Dr. Sumita Sengupta had done “a great job for celebration of Diwali and she continued her mother’s legacy.”

Guests at the Oct. 30, 2022, Diwali event in World’s Fair Marina, included from left, Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, Dr. Susmita Jasty, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, and Dr. Sumita Sengupta, organizer of the event. Photo: Kripa Prasad

Dr. Sudhir Parikh praised the event and said, “Congratulations and kudos to Sumita because she is very caring over her mother’s legacy, not only mother’s legacy but Community Legacy.” He praised Rep. Maloney describing her as “a dear friend and long-standing friend of the community and we always count on her and she should count on us because we are always … standing next to you and behind you to support you.”

Some of the guests at the Oct. 30, 2022 Diwali event at World’s Fair Marina with host Dr. Sumita Sengupta, 4th from right. Photo: Kripa Prasad


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