On Tuesday, October 25, 2022, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Assemblymember Alex Lee, members of the California Legislature, and prominent Indian-Americans gathered to celebrate the festival of Diwali at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. Diwali is also known as the Festival of Lights and is the most widely celebrated festival in India. It signifies the triumph of good over evil celebrated by Hindu, Jain, and Sikh communities. This was the second time in its history that Diwali was celebrated at the California State Capitol.
BAPS organized this event by partnering with Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Assemblymember Alex Lee, and Senator Dave Cortese. The festival was celebrated with an annakut, an offering of traditional, vegetarian dishes to the sacred images of Bhagwan. Before the event, BAPS members visited the offices of state senators and assembly members to offer them traditional Indian sweets to celebrate Diwali. During the celebration, state leaders highlighted the diversity of California and the increasing contributions of Indian Americans in the state.
Assemblymember Ash Kalra, the first Indian American elected to the State Legislature, narrated the historical significance of Diwali in his welcome address and recalled the experience of visiting Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi while leading a delegation of six legislators of California to India. In his keynote address, Assemblymember Alex Lee commended BAPS for organizing the Diwali celebration at the state capitol building and promoting cultural diversity.