India Night educates on culture

Student organization hopes to connect attendees to diverse, colorful traditions through food, teaching



Praveer Tiwari, treasurer of the Indian Students’ Association, discusses how India Night is a chance to represent the Indian culture in various ways Wednesday afternoon in the CUB.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Indian Students’ Association (ISA) will hold its biggest fundraiser and cultural event this weekend to help teach community members on the Palouse about Indian culture through food, dancing and drama.

India Night will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Gladish Community and Cultural Center at 115 NW State St. Tickets are available online on the WSU ISA website until midnight Friday. Admission is $12 for students and $15 for non-students. A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door for $17.

“We want to give everyone a brush with Indian culture, either for the first time or for those who have been away from India for a while,” said Charudatt Pachpute, ISA social and cultural chair and mechanical engineering graduate student.

The ISA’s goal for the night is to teach American students about Indian culture through India Night, said Praveer Tiwari, ISA finance chair and physics doctorate student. India is a very diverse country, with a different language spoken in every state and many different cultures. The ISA wants to celebrate all these cultures in one place and teach American students about the diversity.

“If someone talks about Indian folk dance, there are a hundred different types of folk dance,” Tiwari said. “If you look at any other country, there isn’t that much diversity. India Night is bringing all this diversity to one place and letting people on the Palouse celebrate the unity in diversity that India has, and know that we still live as one community.”

Indian students who have been in the U.S. for extended periods of time will have the opportunity to get back in touch with their Indian roots, Tiwari said.

India Night will open with the Indian National Anthem and the lighting of candles, a tradition held at many celebrations in India. Performances by members of the WSU ISA, the University of Idaho ISA chapter and the Pullman Indian Families Association will show those in attendance the diversity of Indian culture.

A traditional Indian dinner will also be provided, consisting of onion pakora, or spiced and deep fried onions, butter chicken curry and seviyan kheer, a traditional Indian dessert of sweet wheat noodles cooked in milk.

“I remember last year we were with someone who was tasting Indian food for the first time, and after he tried one bite the expression he gave was priceless,” Tiwari said. “He was so amazed by the taste. I love seeing people get a bite of Indian culture for the first time and love it.”

Many American students have already purchased tickets, and more are encouraged to, Pachpute said.

“India is always on the news and in the media so people want to know more about our culture,” Pachpute said. “Lots of Americans have purchased tickets, not just Indian students, because they want to learn more.”