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Culture, traditions of India celebrated during Jhankar 2013

With more than 800 international students, WKU has a diverse community of world cultures. One of our largest populations of students is from India. Each year the Indian Student Association (ISA) enriches WKU campus life by hosting a performance of traditional dance, music, singing and a much-anticipated fashion show. After the performance the attendees are treated to a delicious array of Indian cuisine.

SaiSudha Kotla performed Kuchipudi, a classical Indian dance popular all over South India, as part of Jhankar 2013 -- Colors of India on Feb. 23.

SaiSudha Kotla performed Kuchipudi, a classical Indian dance popular all over South India, as part of Jhankar 2013 — Colors of India on Feb. 23.

This year’s Indian Night, Jhankar 2013 – Colors of India, was held Feb. 23 at the Downing University Center Auditorium.  With an attendance of approximately 170, the performances were colorful, vibrant celebrations of Indian culture. This event is always well attended by the WKU Indian population.  However, this year the ISA was pleased to double the attendance with students and faculty from the international and American populations.

In the Indian language, Jhankar is a synonym for music and the various musical productions were representative of the entire country.  “I love the music a lot and they did a good job of presenting music from the past to the future,” said Neelima Gajavilli, International Student and Scholar Services Graduate Assistant acquiring a master’s in health care administration from Vizag, India.

“In India, we have a lot of different cultures and traditions coming into one, it is not monochromatic.  It is a poly-culture where everything comes together and we still stay united,” said Arhant Panda, president of ISA and graduate student in computer science from Hyderabad, India.

“In India, the three dominant religions that we have are Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Looking at the flag of India, you see Hinduism is related to the saffron color, Christianity is associated with the white color and for Muslims green is the symbolic color. So when we say Colors of India, we mean that we are united within all three major religions, we are just brothers,” added Pavan Kumar Nallaparaju, vice president of ISA and a graduate student in computer science from Hyderabad, India.

“As students we are very busy. Indian Night brings us all together and gives us the opportunity to share our culture and food.  This is a way of showing our professors, advisors and other students how we actually do stuff in India,” Gajavilli said.  “It’s fun planning for Indian Night.”

This year the ISA included live streaming so the WKU alumni around the world could enjoy the performances. Event sponsors included NIC Infotek, SimplyOPT and Stat9Technologies; the caterer was the Claypit in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

More: Check out additional photos from Jhankar 2013 — Colors of India.

Contact:  Diana Howard, International Outreach Coordinator with International Student and Scholar Services, (270) 745-2319.

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