Indian students bring culture to University

The Indian Student Association’s Diwali celebration offered a glimpse of Indian culture with brilliant colors, inspired music and the occasional trivia question Saturday night.

Students, parents and Foggy Bottom residents gathered for the celebration in honor of Diwali, which means Festival of Lights. Diwali has its roots in Hindu mythology, though it is celebrated throughout all of India during this time. Lakshimi (the Hindu goddess of wealth) is honored to recognize the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Singers and dancers, dressed in traditional Indian garb performed for an active crowd.

The first song, in which the audience participated, expressed the importance of service and love. Bringing clapping audience members to their feet, the evening came alive as the celebration got underway.

Eleven separate dance pieces were performed throughout the evening, many with different styles and meanings. Student dancers added everyday dance moves to the traditional vocabulary of Indian dance.

Sikhs and Hindus celebrated the shared tradition.

It is a great way to expose such a rich culture because we are so diverse, said ISA member Smita Kampani, a dancer at the event. The collaboration of various dances and traditions was central to the evening.

Venay Puri, president of the George Mason University ISA, urged students to participate in an upcoming blood drive at GW. A 22-year old Indian student at George Mason dying of leukemia needs a blood transfusion to have a chance of survival, the speaker said. ISA members from many area schools, including the University of Maryland, Georgetown University, GMU and GW collaborated to organize a series of blood drives in hopes of finding the right donor.

The benefits from Diwali will go to Asha for Education in India, a group dedicated to improving Indian schools.

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