The Volstroff Ballroom at the student union building wore a festive look last Saturday, as it pulsated to the sights, sounds, and flavors of India.
It was the first official day of spring. It was also the last day of the year 2060, as per the Hindu calendar.
To greet the arrival of the green-season and to ring in the New Year, the Indian students association on campus put up a cultural extravaganza, under the banner, “India Night 2004.”
Dressed in an elegant, pastel-blue traditional Indian ensemble, South Dakota State University president Dr. Peggy Miller lighted an Indian-style lamp to mark the opening of the occasion.
Expressing pride in the students, who sponsored the evening’s event, Dr. Miller spoke about the “power of diversity.” Dr. Allen Branum, director for Diversity Enhancement and Dr. Karl Schmidt, director of International Program, were among those that attended the gathering.
The show got off to a solemn start with the national anthems of the two countries—”The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Jana Gana”—played on saxophone by 17-year-old Abha Mistry.
The program kicked-off with an ode to the Hindu god Ganesha— captured in a resplendent Indian classical dance recital by Sheetal Nalla. Dr. Chandradhar Dwivedi, professor in the pharmacy department took guests through a 10-minute slideshow of India’s polity, languages, heritage, and performing arts.
A bunch of graduate students did some power-packed dances based on Bollywood movies. Bhanu Lavanya, a pharmacy graduate student gyrated to the lively beats of an Indian pop song, “Made in India.”
A visual feast ensued with a video montage, showcasing the various facets of modern India.
The hoopla was marred to some extent by the inept compering by two Indian graduate students. By punctuating sentences with inordinately long pauses, they left guests guessing as to whether the event had come to its conclusion.
All in all, the party was, as Dr. Karl Schmidt put it, “a bright spot on the first day of spring.”