Over 20 countries, including two UN Security Council permanent members France and the UK, have supported a dedication ceremony hosted by India to commemorate the release of a Diwali postage stamp by the US.
India's permanent representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said at the event here yesterday the Diwali Forever Stamp is a "shining tribute to the celebration of multi-culturalism".
Noting that Diwali was commemorated for the first time this year at the UN, Akbaruddin said the celebration of Diwali at the world body is a reaffirmation of the foundational objectives of the UN Charter and its purposes and principles, which stand as a force for universal good.
"Though celebrated by different communities for different reasons, the essence of the (Diwali) celebration is the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. Philosophically, the fight is not only external but also within oneself," he said.
The event lauded the efforts of Ranju Batra, Chair of the Diwali stamp project who spearheaded efforts for years to get the commemorative stamp issued, reaching out to the Indian- American community members and influential lawmakers, garnering support for the stamp.
"The tens of thousands of paper petitions (for the Diwali stamp) were signed not only by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists but also by Christians, Jews, Muslims and every other faith and culture," Batra said, expressing gratitude for the support she got in her journey to get the stamp issued.
Capping seven-year long efforts by the Indian-American community and influential US lawmakers, the US Postal Service (USPS) had issued the commemorative Diwali stamp to mark the Indian festival of lights.
Over 170,000 Diwali stamps have been sold, making history by becoming the number one best-selling stamp in USPS history.
"Today's celebration is not of a religion or of a nation but it is of the spirit of harmonious inclusiveness and cultural understanding that all religions deserve," she said.