Biden Reminds Diwali Observers to Work for Others’ Welfare

Joe Biden and Ram RamanathanVice President Joe Biden talks with Michigan social worker Ram Ramanathan.

Vice President Joe Biden hosted the White House Diwali celebration in the Eisenhower Executive Office building on Nov. 9, and among the invitees was Michigan social worker Ram Ramanathan.

Ramanathan presented Biden with a copy of a forthcoming text about social work that he co-authored.

Biden “was keen to know about the book and was intrigued that social workers are interested and actively engaged in global issues,” Ramanathan said.

Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a holiday observed by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists.

President Barack Obama celebrated in India; he hosted the White House Diwali celebration in 2009.

According to Ramanathan, the celebration started with a dance performance by high school girls, with a Bharatanatyam rendition of “God Bless America.” Three priests from the Shiva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Md., performed the Lakshmi pooja ceremony, followed by Biden lighting the traditional Diwali silver lamp.

Ramanathan said Biden quoted Mahatma Gandhi: “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow men.”

Said Ramanathan: “The celebration ended with refreshments and each of the attendees were given a box of Indian sweets as a typical Diwali gesture.”