United States President-elect Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris on Saturday wished Indians on Diwali and said they looked forward to celebrating the festival of lights at the White House next year in a that is “nation united and healed”.
“On behalf of our families, we wish a happy Diwali to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, and everyone celebrating the festival of lights across the United States, India, and the world,” the two leaders said in a joint statement on their newly launched website. “Like so many cherished traditions during the pandemic, we know this year’s Diwali and its symbolising of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and empathy over apathy arrives with a deeper meaning.”
Biden was the victor in last week’s presidential election, claiming at least 290 electoral votes and winning the popular vote by more than 5 million votes. The Democrat, who turns 78 on November 20, is the oldest person ever elected to the White House. Harris, 56, a senator from California, is the first woman, first African-American person and first South Asian person to be elected vice president.
The two leaders also extended their greetings on Twitter. “To the millions of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists celebrating the Festival of Lights, @DrBiden [Jill Biden] and I send our best wishes for a Happy Diwali,” Biden said. “May your new year be filled with hope, happiness, and prosperity. Sal Mubarak [Happy new year].”
Harris, who will become the first occupant of the White House who is of Indian heritage, wished everyone a safe, healthy and a joyous year.
The Democrat leaders extended their condolences to those who lost their loved ones to the coronavirus pandemic this year. “Our prayers remain with everyone fighting the pandemic on the frontlines instead of staying safe at home in prayer with their families,” they added. “And, we know the sadness of being apart on a day that truly signifies the blessing of family and friendship.”
But Diwali, they said, is reminder of the “light that’s within us”, and to overcome differences and keep the faith in each other. “That’s the light we see shining on this day and that will guide us through the darkness with knowledge, science, truth, unity, and compassion,” the joint statement said. “And that’s why as Diwali is celebrated via video calls and while socially distanced this year, we look forward to celebrating Diwali at the White House next year — in person, together with you, and in a nation healed and united.”
Meanwhile, incumbent President Donald Trump, who has refused to accept defeat till now, also extended Diwali greetings on Twitter. He shared a photograph of him lighting a lamp in the White House last year.