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Greater Austin City Councils Honor Hindu Heritage

By Dushant Reddy

The biggest celebrations for Hindus around the world occur in the months of October and November during the Dussehra and Diwali season. Hindu communities indulge in festivities and socializing with friends, family and neighbours.

The Austin Hindu community is no different. They had their own share of celebrations for this year. What they didn’t know at the beginning of the season was that the City councils in the Austin Metro area had some plans to surprise them.

They issued proclamations honoring and acknowledging the contributions of the Hindu community. The Hindus in the Austin area were thrilled and felt grateful and honored.

The first proclamation was done by the City of Austin. Hon Council member Ms.Mackenzie Kelly took the key initiative in preparing the proclamation and she was the lead sponsor of it.

On October 21, 2021 the Austin City Hall, Ms. Kelly read out the proclamation and announced it was unanimously approved by all members of the Council.

It is also important to mention the supportive role played by Hon Mayor Steve Adler who has always championed the cause of diversity and inclusion in our City.

Hon Judge Ms Dimple Malhotra also stood with the community members during the event and voiced her support for the proclamation.

Abhiram Garapati, a well known entrepreneur and activist also took part in the proceedings and made the event memorable.

The Hindu community of Austin has always found great support in Ms. Kelly, when it comes to discussing issues affecting them or to seek opportunities to offer their service in areas where the City needs help.

Ms Kelly spent time discussing with community members in the hallway, and gracefully accepted a “Rakhi” offered by a Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh(HSS) representative.

The Rakhi, according to Hindu tradition, embodies her as a protector of the city. The Hindu community members prayed for her continued success in her endeavors, and are looking forward to supporting her in the times ahead.

As the clock ticked closer to Diwali, the City of Cedar Park got ready to celebrate.

The City Council of Cedar Park had their proclamation ready, which was a timely and generous gift for the Hindu community handed out during the public section on October 28.

Several Hindu residents of the city had turned up for the event in their colorful clothing bringing a festive mood to the occasion.

The City Council Member Hon. Jim Penniman-Morin was the initiator and the lead sponsor for this proclamation. It was supported by all the City Council Members and approved by Hon. Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale.

After the proclamation was read out by Council Member Morin in the main chamber, Mr. Rajesh Agny, a prominent member of the Hindu community, shared the community’s gratitude and appreciation for the proclamation.

He pointed out the compassion and support experienced by the Hindu community in the inclusive city of Cedar Park and shared some key points about Diwali. He also mentioned the numerous services rendered by the Hindu community and organizations on an ongoing basis and especially during the pandemic.

Mayor Arsdale requested all the City council members to come down and join the picture taking ceremony. This gesture was highly appreciated by all the attendees and the Hindu community.

The Mayor talked about his visit to the temples on New Hope Drive, his appreciation of the temples’ architecture, and relishing the Basmati rice.

He expressed his appreciation for the contributions made by this community, the colorful tapestry it has brought, his affinity for the Indian attire and inquired where he could buy them.

This event seemed to have lightened and cheered all the people in the City Hall in an otherwise stressful time where the Council members & people at large have had to navigate challenges posed by the pandemic and economy.

The Hindu community thanks the Cedar Park City Council for this uplifting proclamation and firmly believes that this will further propel their commitment towards progress and betterment of this beautiful city. Namaste and Happy Holidays!”

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