CU celebrates India Night An Aggie Tradition

Photo by Vicky Smith

Photo by Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith
Copy Editor
@pinkwritinglady

The culture and heritage of India bloomed once again at Cameron University during India Night at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 in the McCasland Ballroom. Attendees listened to keynote speaker Dr. S. Narasinga Roa, watched Indian dances and dined on authentic food of India.

Dean Emeritus of Jackson College of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Central Oklahoma Roa began the night with the speech “Contributions of Indians and Indian Americans to Globalization and Nuances of Globalization.”

Roa said his emphasis on globalization is “how to connect India universities with the universities here [in America] so that the students from India can come experience sometime and get their degree from here…”

He said Indo-Americans are successful in today’s society through academics, politics, popular entertainment and sports.

“[Indo-American] Bobby Jindal,” he said, “…is the governor of the state of Louisiana.”

Roa also explained the valuable contributions that Indians gave to the world historically.

“Albert Einstein,” Roa said, “said ‘We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.’”

After the speech, attendees feasted on Indian fare provided by Ajanta Cuisine of India, a restaurant and catering service in Oklahoma City.

Amy Smith, a senior business major who coordinated the event with the help of faculty and local residents, said food is important to every culture.

“No matter where you’re from,” she said, “family meals – everything usually centers around food, and it’s no different in the Indian culture.”

Smith said the food compliments this year’s theme of India Night, Diwali, which is India’s biggest holiday.

“It’s kinda like their Christmas,” she said, “so there’s a lot of lights and decorations that are involved with that, and the food they bring in to help emphasize family and the togetherness and celebrating their culture…”

Although it is celebratory, Smith said India Night is also a learning experience.

“To celebrate Indian culture…it’s important,” Smith said, “especially with Cameron being such a diverse campus, to celebrate not only with students but the local community – bring everyone in so they can kinda experience and learn about Indian culture.”

Another spotlight of the night was the Sainrithya Dance Academy of Oklahoma City who performed both classical and Indian folk dances. Barefoot, the dancers wore colorful, traditional dresses of India, accessorized with jewelry and paint.

Sudipti Baral, a senior business major from Nepal, said she enjoys the dances most.

“The favorite,” she said, “[of India Night] actually there are three, the first is when we have highly intellectual people presenting…The next part is first the food – I love the food…Next the performance, most importantly the performance.”

Baral said India Night is a special event to her at Cameron.

“…we [Nepalese] have similar cultures,” Baral said, “very similar because we celebrate Diwali as well…having a time and place to celebrate here in America – it’s a big thing, coming here and enjoying the food…it reminds of home.

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