Scores of Indian-Americans including elected and appointed officials, and faith leaders, attended Diwali celebrations hosted by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy, Nov. 8, at Drumthwacket, the gubernatorial mansion.
“Tammy and I are thrilled that, for the first time in eight years, @DrumthwacketNJ opened its doors for #Diwali. Diwali is the perfect time to celebrate our state’s incredible diversity as we work to build a stronger and fairer future for all,” Gov. Murphy tweeted next day with a video showing him and several guests holding up sparklers.
Ashok Dave from the BAPS temple, jumpstarted the event with a prayer and speeches were given by several invitees including Khyati Joshi, scholar and consultant on multicultural issues. Joshi emphasized working together and helping each other was important for moving forward citing examples from the Ramayana here Lord Ram went into exile, not alone but with his beloved wife Sita, and his brother Lakshman; when he had to go to present-day Sri Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana, he got help from Hanuman.
“It is delightful how the Governor and First Lady opened their home to everyone. It is a wonderful way to celebrate our holiday and have our community recognized,” Joshi told ITV Gold.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the celebration is all about the victory of good over evil, and sharing in achieving social justice goals.
Gov. Murphy spoke about diversity and how the celebration of Diwali spoke volumes about the state of New Jersey.
“I love the notion of – it takes a village, love and justice. No matter how good any one of us is, we can’t get there by ourselves,” Murphy said.
“That’s why we need legislators who are outstanding, great cabinet members, community leaders, elected officials up and down, faith leaders … we get there faster and stronger,” the Governor added. Indian-Americans, he said, were a great example of how to keep one’s identity even in a melting pot.
In an interview by ITV Gold during the event, Mayor Saddaf Jaffar of Montgomery, N.J., praised the celebrations and wished everyone a year of “much light and celebrations.”
Among others interviewed were Freeholder Shanti Naara; Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin; Passaic County Council President Anand Shah; Passaic Councilmember Salim Patel; and Edison Councilman Sam Joshi.