Indian Student Association Hosts Diwali Night

On Saturday, Nov. 4 the UM-Flint Indian Student Association (ISA) held their fourth annual Diwali festival in the Michigan Rooms, located in the University Center.

Diwali is the festival of lights, which is celebrated for five days. It takes place in the fall in the northern hemisphere, and in the spring in the southern. It is celebrated, “To honor of the return of King Rama to his Kingdom as mentioned in the great epic of Ramayana. The history also chains the significance with the triumph of good over evil,” said Junior Anushika Srivastava, ISA’s president.

Activities to celebrate Diwali include dancing, feasts, fireworks and lamps, as well as family gatherings, according to Srivastava. ISA is student-run and, “Aims to share the richness and diversity of the Indian culture at UM-Flint,” said Srivastava.

The club organizes and hosts several events throughout the year, such as Diwali, Holi, a Henna fundraiser, and a Bollywood film night. The club is open to all, not just those of Indian heritage.

“People think that ISA is only for Indians, but anyone can join ISA who has a great interest in Indian culture and wants to get an experience about Indian spirit,” said Srivastava.

As ISA’s biggest event of the year, planning for the Diwali festival began in mid-September, and Srivastava explained there was a lot of time dedicated to making the night a success. The event was paid for through fundraising, and required advertising to students and the public. While admittance did cost $2, attendees were treated to a catered dinner by Grill of India, which featured authentic Indian cuisine.

Chancellor Susan Borrego was in attendance, and helped participate in the Ganeshu Ritual, “Which is a very sacred way of paying a tribute to God,” said Srivastava. Chancellor Borrego spoke at the event, touching on how international students bring new experiences and cultures when they come to the university.

“What international students bring in that learning exchange, to us and to our lives, how it shapes and shifts our perspective, is such a gift,” said Borrego.

Members of ISA danced, sung, and played instruments for attendees at the event.

“We did a classical prayer dancer performing dance form Kathak from the state of Uttar Pradesh,” said Srivastava. “We also had multiple solo and group dance and singing performances followed by a Bollywood dance routine by E-Board members.”

Faculty members were also involved in the performances, including Mary Jo Sekelsky, the Director of Alumni Relations. She preformed a Bollywood dance with her friend, Neelam Puri.

ISA will host its next event, Bollywood meets Nollywood, during International Week on Thursday, Nov. 16, which will be a collaboration with the African Student Association.