WASHINGTON: Elated at the swearing in of California-based physician Ami Bera and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard as US lawmakers, members of the Indian-American community today termed it as a "historic day" hoping that their success story would inspire the younger generation.
Bera and Gabbard created history today after being sworn in as new members of the US House of Representatives. They were administered the oath of office by Speaker John Boehner.
Bera is only the third Indian-American to be a Congressman. Though not an Indian American, Gabbard is the first Hindu ever to be a US lawmaker.
A large number of members of the Indian-American community, in particular the Hindus, have supported Gabbard's campaign from the very beginning.
"Representative Gabbard and Dr Bera serve as an inspiration to Hindu students across the nation. These historic elections have hopefully opened the flood gates to having more members of the next generation with Hindu backgrounds find their voices in America's political system," said Sohini Sircar, general secretary of Hindu Students Council.
"It is a historic day for all of us," said Vijay Pallod, a resident from Houston.
"I came all the way from Texas to see this happen," he said, as he attended the receptions of both Bera and Tulsi Gabbard.
"It is a momentous occasion for us," said Samir Asthana an attorney from Massachusetts.
"I am sure this would be an inspiration for the second generation Indian Americans," he said.
In a statement, Washington-based Hindu American Foundation (HAF) welcomed the inauguration of Congresswoman Gabbard.
"As she serves her constituents from Hawaii, we also look forward to her giving voice to the concerns of her fellow Hindu Americans and bringing her uniquely pluralistic worldview to American policymaking and governance," said Suhag Shukla, HAF's executive director and legal counsel.
"It's exciting that this session we will have the opportunity to work with the first and only Hindu in Congress," said Jay Kansara, HAF associate director of Government Affairs.
"We are confident that Congresswoman Gabbard will join many of her colleagues in prioritizing the curbing of human rights violations against minority Hindu communities globally as well as rigorously upholding religious liberty and promoting religious pluralism right here at home," he said.