By Parimal M. Rohit
Photo credit: Ram Karamchandani
A group of nearly 100 Indian Americans filled the halls of the Texas Governor’s Mansion on Oct 30, as Greg Abbott – the Republican governor of the Lone Star State – hosted a Diwali dinner and fundraiser in downtown Austin.
Abbott and the First Lady of Texas, flanked by Indian Americans from Austin, Dallas, Houston and San of the Diwali festivities.
The Texas governor shared his understanding of Diwali and commended Indian Americans for their many contributions to the Lone Star State.
The Lone Star State’s top executive also boasted he was the first governor to host an official, state-sponsored Diwali event – a sign of the growing influence of Indian Americans in Texas.
Indian CEO Council, co-founded by Arun Agarwal and Sanjiv Yajnik of Dallas, organized and coordinated the Diwali dinner and fundraiser at the Governor’s Mansion.
“This governor truly realizes the many contributions Indian Americans have made to the Texas economy,” Agarwal stated. Agarwal personally escorted Abbott and his wife, Cecilia, on a trip to India a few years ago.
“After their time in India, both the governor and the First Lady have an appreciation for Indian culture and our various religious holidays and traditions,” Agarwal continued in his statement.
Texas happens to have the second-largest Indian American population in the country, according to a recent report by the Dallas Morning News.
The news report, which was published on Oct. 28, 2020, stated there were 452,598 Indian Americans in Texas, second only to the 815,948 Indian Americans in California.
The Lone Star State was also home to the famous “Howdy Modi” event, where then-President Donald J. Trump hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in front of 50,000 people at a football stadium in Houston.
Metro Houston is home to about 88,000 Indian Americans, according to U.S. Census Bureau data between 2014 and 2018.
That’s the eighth highest concentration of Indian Americans, nationwide. Dallas-Fort Worth has about 112,000 Indian Americans, good for the fifth largest concentration in the nation.
Abbott, who wore Indian clothes at the Oct. 30 fundraiser event, could be looking to capture that audience should he pursue a third term as governor. Hosting the Diwali dinner and fundraiser at the governor’s mansion is certainly the first step in that direction.