Indian Student Association hosts annual India Night to share culture, celebrate diversity


Tanat Maichan

India Night started with a traditional dance performance by Jinee Patel and Divyavani Duddu.

To raise awareness about diversity and to celebrate culture, the Indian Student Association hosted an evening of food, dancing and traditional music as part of India Night. With the organization being one of the oldest on campus, the event has taken place each fall semester for 35 years.

On Saturday, the first part of the event was a dinner of traditional Indian dishes prepared by members of the association. Attendees could visit the Rhatigan Student Center Harvest Room to sample authentic Indian cuisine prior to the show.

Later, guests were invited to the Campus Activities Center Theater where the rest of the India Night event took place.

The show began with a slideshow presentation about key elements of Indian culture and immediately afterwards, performers were introduced and a talent show of musical and dance performances began.

Briyanka Nimbalkar, a graduate student, watched the show from the audience and also perform.

“When you’re an Indian student coming to WSU, the association reaches out and sends you invites to all events that they host,” Nimbalkar said. “I just wanted to be in it because I love to dance and I love to perform.”

In addition to singing and dancing performances, awards and a scholarship were also presented at different times throughout the evening. The awards ranged from recognition of excellence in games such as chess and table tennis to sports such as badminton and cricket.

One of the highest regarded awards presented during the event was the Golden Hand award, given to one student each year for exceptional volunteer work. The 2017 award was received by Aditi Pandey.

“Helping to make the events run smoothly is what really matters,” Pandey said. “This award is really great and I had no clue I would get it. I didn’t know my work would be this valuable.”

Though she isn’t a member of the Indian Student Association itself, Nuwanthi Perera heard about the event through friends who had performed in it before and agreed to perform in this year’s event.

“My favorite part is the performers because I’m a part of that,” Perera said. “I know how happy you feel when you’re sharing your talent in front of people who want to admire you. When I see other performers who are into what they’re doing, I feel happy too.”

Originally from India and now a sophomore transfer student at WSU, Sri Krishna Vastav Alla is currently the President of the Indian Student Association.

“I work with my team and try to give them support in every way,” Vastav said. “A leader should be involved with his team. If he’s not involved, the team can’t function. We have 26 members in the committee and 23 of them are freshmen, so this is a great experience for all of us. We know how to work together now, and we get the entire community to come together.”

While a huge reason for the event is to share their culture with the surrounding community, it also serves as an opportunity for the student group to learn and grow alongside each other.

“We know how to deal with people who are trying to criticize you and your team,” Vastav said. “Every organization has that, but that’s when the team comes together and works together. That’s what gets students like this to be here.”