The colors of India decorated Brindley Auditorium Oct. 16 as students and faculty gathered to experience the culture. Platters of chicken, seasoned rice and red curry lined long white tables in the hallway filling the air with a fragrant aroma of Indian spices.
To begin the evening’s festivities, President of the Indian Student Association and graduate student Kiran Kumar Kasireddy welcomed guests and invited them to stand for a moment of silence to honor Adarsh Johnson Din Basco who passed away this past summer.
Basco was influential in the founding of the association at UMHB.
When he first arrived, there were only two Indian students on campus, but in three years the program has seen tremendous growth. There are currently 54 Indian students involved with the organization.
Graduate student Margret Daiva came to UMHB because of Basco who was a childhood friend from India.
“He told me it is one of the best places to come,” she said. “He started this organization and now it’s growing so much.”
Although more and more people from India are furthering their education at UMHB, their culture is somewhat of a mystery to American and other international students.
“We are a small group here and we want to get together and show a little bit of Indian culture to other people like our dances and our food,” said Kasireddy.
After guests of the Indian culture night sampled dishes native to India they were entertained by several performances including a traditional dance, a choreographed Bollywood style routine and a hip hop number.
The crowd was very involved in the show by clapping along with the music and cheering for the dancers.
The night could have ended there, but the students wanted to share more about their home country. A slideshow was prepared to enlighten the guests about the ancient history and traditions of India. Pictures of breathtaking waterfalls, peaceful lakes, elaborate palaces, gourmet food and famous landmarks flashed across the screen.
To continue the emphasis on India’s diversity the stage was transformed into a catwalk as women showcased a variety of dresses worn in the 25 states. Fabric swayed, golden bracelets jingled and heels clicked as the audience continued to witness India’s culture first hand.
One of the models, a graduate student, Sara Yasmeen enjoys the fashion of India.
“Here in America, everyone is dressed the same way,” she said. “We wanted to show how unique our culture is – every state has its unique dress.”
The Indian students were grateful for the opportunity to share their own culture with the people who are sharing the American culture with them. They are very thankful for the support and encouragement of the professors at UMHB.
Graduate student, Sindhura Challagulla thinks UMHB is a great college.
She said, “In other universities the professors stay as your professors, but here they are more like your friends. You can share anything and they take good care of us.”