Washington: Maryland state Governor Martin O`Malley, who last November led the largest state trade delegation to India, opened his house to celebrate Vaisakhi to recognize the Sikh community`s growing influence in the state.
Over 150 Indian and Sikh community leaders gathered at O`Malley`s residence for the celebrations on Monday in Annapolis, capital of the state that bounds Washington on three sides.
This Governor, who had opened his house to the Sikh community for the second time, issued a proclamation to mark the holiday and announced the formation of a new commission of South East Asia headed by Jasdip "Jesse" Singh.
Dr Rajan Natarajan, who has been appointed as Maryland`s deputy secretary of state, external affairs, was also present.
"Vaisakhi is not only a Sikh or Punjabi holiday but now it has become an American holiday," said Maryland state delegate Aruna Miller.
Asking the Indian community to be involved in the political system, Maryland delegate Sam Arora thanked the governor for making Maryland the sister state to Indian states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab.
Noting that O`Malley is the first governor to start Vaisakhi celebration at his residence, Lt Governor Anthony G Brown said: "This certainly reminds us of our goal to have One Maryland recognizing its own diversity."
Sikh community leaders presented a `dhal` with two `kirpans` as a memento to O`Malley along with a book about Sikh religion.