In India, they say that it is a man’s karma that will forever turn the wheel of life toward a better future for all.
At India Night 2006, it was the goal of the Indian Student Association to turn their colorful cultural history into a night of entertainment with skits, dances, singing, movies and a fashion show.
Rhythmic drums pulsed in the Lory Student Center Theatre Saturday night before the event, an annual tradition.
“I think this night was excellent,” said Loona Borgohain, a biomedical engineering graduate student. “Everyone’s enthusiasm was uncontrollable.”
Borgohain took part in the planning of India Night and also participated in the fashion show.
The fashion show, dances and songs were several months in the making.
“India Night always happens in November,” said Rheea Mukherjee, president of the ISA. “We start planning and getting excited at the end of September, and then we practice the whole month of October.”
In addition to the fashion show, students from the ISA performed Bhangra, a celebratory dance that originated from Northern India, in Punjab.
“On the Bhangra team, we like to say that it’s the highlight of the show,” said Michelle Gurule, a speech communication graduate student and member of the ISA.
Bhangra has certain core moves that highlight the shoulders, twisting wrists and tapping feet. The dance was usually danced in celebration of the harvest.
Dancers and actors played their parts and so did the audience. Audience members yelled, chanted, whistled and sang throughout the performances.
“That’s typical behavior,” Gurule said. “When people see Bollywood films they clap and yell when their favorite actor comes on screen. It’s just part of India Night. That’s what makes the night so lively and entertaining.”
The crowd stood silently, hands over hearts, while two members of the ISA sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then, the entire crowd softly sang together “Jana Gana Mana,” the Indian national anthem, as the flag and the wheel of Dharma – the wheel of life – appeared behind them.
The evening culminated with the singing of two national anthems, bringing the two countries and cultures together.
“The preparation for this night is such a bonding experience,” Mukherjee said. “It is our favorite time of year.”
Staff writer Hilary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.