White House welcomes India with open arms
Almost every full moon, every month year around, every excuse… brings something to celebrate in India.
“India is a land of festivals” – someone in the White House must have told this to President Obama; may be he overheard it somewhere!
Somewhere somehow, there is a wind blowing from Indian ocean to Washington DC; or someone in the White House is looking at the Indian calendars much closely.
The Indian community in USA is one of the most affluent and successful immigrant groups and someone is paying attention – someone all the way up to the President of United States.
President Obama joins Diwali celebration
Last month, the White House celebrated the Indian festival of lights. Even though George W. Bush began the Diwali celebrating in the White House, President Obama is the first President to personally attend the ceremony. He lit the traditional diya (oil lamp) to mark the special occasion. This followed by a cultural performance by Indian artists and a message from Obama himself.
“While this is a time of rejoicing, it’s also a time for reflection, when we remember those who are less fortunate and renew our commitment to reach out to those in need,” president said in a balanced message target to Indian and global communities.
White House celebrates the Sikh festival ‘Gurpurab’
For the first time ever, White House celebrated the Sikh festival Gurpurab (Gurparab) last week, marking the birth anniversary of Sikh Guru Nanak Dev.
“This is your White House and this first event is just the beginning and it will be part of many gatherings of your community here. We want you to stay in contact with us,” said Christina M Tchen, head of the White House office of Public Engagement, as she welcome a group of 125 members of Sikh community.
The celebration included exchange of best wishes, Sikh prayers and kirtan – chanting of hymns and religious mantras.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s upcoming state visit to USA
White House is preparing for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s state visit on Nov 24. This is the first official state visit hosted by President Obama – a signal of honor and respect for the Indian prime minister. USA views India as one of its important partners in the 21st century.
Meera Shankar, the Indian Ambassador to USA, says, “We are at an exciting moment of hope and opportunity as Prime Minister Singh and President Obama prepare to build on the progress we have made to take the relationship to a new level,”
With fight against terrorism showing no results in Afghanistan, and a dead-end relation with Pakistan, America is open for new friends in south-east Asia.
With India is in the midst of a major economic expansion, America may be looking for new opportunities in this new friendship with India and Indians abroad.