ON-CAMPUS EVENT

ISA puts on great Diwali show

Diwali, also referred to as Deepavali, is the Hindu festival of lights, that signifies the win of good over evil. In Hinduism, the story of Diwali revolves around Lord Ram and his battle with the demon king Ravana. Ram defeats Ravana to bring his wife, Goddess Sita, back home after 14 years.

The Hindu New Year, one of the religion’s most well-known holidays, lasts five days. This is a time when families come together to exchange gifts, light candles, and pray. Additionally, whether in India or in Indian communities across America, all homes, shops and temples are illuminated with candles, string lights and rangoli—which is art made from colored sand. Many temples also recreate Ram’s victory by burning a statue of Ravana and lighting firecrackers. While there are multiple variations of the story behind Diwali, they all preach the idea that good will ultimately defeat evil.

To celebrate the holiday, the Indian Student Association held a Diwali Show in Academy Hall. Different dance groups and performances were featured, along with a running skit, singing, a fashion show, and a Carnatic music group. The turnout for the event was higher than expected, and attendees reflected the diversity on campus.

The show was opened and emceed by Adithya Srikantha ’20 and Snehansh Pabba ’19. Then, we saw the first scene of a skit that ran throughout the show. ISA members portrayed a visit from God to a young, spoiled teenager named Rhea. After being forced to spend a day in multiple of her family members’ shoes, Rhea realizes all the work that her loved ones do for her and her family, and comes to appreciate them and their support. The Diwali show closed with their final scene, leaving the audience with the message of love and family.

Many different cultural dance groups from RPI also performed. RPI Sangam put on a classical dance about gun control, a high energy Punjabi folk dance was performed by RPI Bhangra, and ISA members danced together in a Bollywood group number. There was also an Indian fusion a cappella performance by RPI Swara and a Carnatic music performance by ISA members. ISA members also put on a fashion show to portray the current fashion trends in India.

Food was provided by Spicy Mint Indian Cuisine, and guests were offered appetizers before the show and dinner halfway through. Appetizers were chili paneer, gobi manchurian, and chicken 65. Dinner was paneer butter masala, malai kofta, naan, garlic naan, rice, and galub jamun.

Overall, the show was exciting and fun to attend. For Madeline, as someone who has had a rather limited exposure to Indian culture, it was really interesting to see how the students on our campus represented the holiday. Each dance group was unique and their performances were beautiful and captivating. The food was good, and though it was mostly gone by the time she was served, the menu was a new experience and she really enjoyed trying it. Each of the performers put so much work into their acts, and the Diwali show was truly amazing to watch and attend.