Indian Student Association celebrates Sanskriti Night


Photo: Andrus Nesbitt/Iowa State Daily

Diwali Night 2011, an Indian Students’ Association event, took place Saturday, Nov. 5, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The event was themed after the popular TV show “India’s Got Talent” and allowed the ISU community to celebrate India’s cultural diversity through dance.

Katherine Marcheski

College is a feeding ground for new ideas, the exchange of cultures and the spread of knowledge. For the Indian Student Association, this is what they try to accomplish in all their events. Sanskriti Night, a new cultural event, will be Sunday, Sept. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

“Sanskriti,” translated from Hindi means “tradition,” and that is what the Indian Student Association wants to expose to the Ames culture.

“There has just never been a big enough push for ancient or traditional forms of dance and culture. ISA has always done a lot of Indian pop culture events,” said Arun Sethuraman, graduate assistant in ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and the president of the Indian Student Association.

Sethuraman said the most traditional art forms are the true representation of India. There are two major forms represented in Indian music: Carnatic (South India) and Hindustani (North India).

The event is also unique from the past in that there will be a dance instruction workshop after the performances so audience members can learn the culture through firsthand experience. Krishna Athreya, a distinguished professor of mathematics and statistics at Iowa State, will be a special guest for the event, giving a speech to kick off the night.

“I want people to know that India is not just Bollywood and curry,” said Priya Ravindran, senior in chemical engineering, and one of the more than 20 performers for the night.

There is a specific style of dance from East, West, South and North India. “I thought it would be nice to show our culture; I’m participating in the Odissi [style] from East India,” Ravindran said.

Ravindran has been dancing since she was 10 years old, and joins more than 20 performers for the event.

“For me this is just good practice. Being in a different country, I want to tell people that there is much more to Indian culture than what they see in media, and what they think they know,” Ravindran said. 

Sanskriti Night is a first-time event hosted by the Indian Student Association that serves to educate the public, entertain and break down some of the images people have of India.

Rishali Chaplot, graduate assistant in apparel, events and hospitality management, is the club’s public relations director and is excited for the turn out.

“There will be musical performances, dances, a speech by Krishna Athreya, the dance workshops and Indian food,” Chaplot said. 

Traditional Indian food has been very popular in the past, especially at events such as the Veishea International Food Fair, and at this event, they will be serving samosas, chai tea and pakoras.

The event will be approximately from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

“Everyone come; we want everyone there. It will be fun, and people will be able to interact with the performers and learn some of the culture by participating in it,” Chaplot said.