India Night features traditional dress and dance

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A piece of India was brought to the WSU campus through traditional music mashups, cultural dress and dance performances at India Night 2016.

The Indian Student Association (ISA) hosted India Night, featuring displays of Indian culture through traditional dance performances, music and authentic cuisine. India Night 2016 was held to make students of Indian descent feel at home on campus.

On Oct. 30, Indians celebrate a festival of lights called Diwali. ISA Vice President Saketh Kakkireni hopes to reflect the atmosphere of the festive culture during Diwali.

“We reflect the festiveness of Diwali on India Night,” Kakkireni said.

India Night brought not only Indian culture to WSU students, but the event connected Indian students with a community that feels like family.

“This event will benefit the students in the sense that they’ll get to know a lot of people,” Kakkireni said, “The first time I came here, I didn’t know that there were so many people from India.”

India Night gives those of Indian background a sense of belonging by coming together and celebrating their culture as a group, Kakkireni said.

“We want to portray their talent in Indian music and Indian dance,” Kakkireni said. “This gives them a platform to do that.”

The ISA presented dance and music performances that originated from various regions of India, showcasing the culture of different ethnic groups.

“We have different type of genres. We have Bollywood songs and Ghazals,” Dr. Ajay, an Indian vocalist who performed at India Night, said.

The songs share traditional, sad and romantic stories learned in India. The songs bring a piece of India to the attendees, vocal performer Kanishka Bhunia said.

“Some of them are slow beat, and some of them are higher beat, fast songs,” Bhunia said. “It represents the culture and society of India in a different form.”

The song “Chitti Aayi Hai,” meaning “The Letter Has Come,” is written as a letter from the family of an individual who migrated from their home country.

“It’s a message to the people who are outside of the country that are staying abroad and that are missing their country,” Dr. Ajay said.

The night also featured cuisine intended to provide a taste of India. The cuisine included butter chicken, daal fry, basmati rice, muttar paneer (peas in tomato sauce), naan and kheer (rice pudding) and other traditional dishes.