The Hindu Student Council (HSC) hosted its first semi-formal dinner on February 6 at the Blind Duck Pub. It was organized to celebrate Jashan-ebahar, a traditional South Asian festival that celebrates the oncoming of spring.
Due to the hard work of over twenty volunteers and organizers, such as Maryam Masood, Meenal Tayal and Neetipriya Pandey (who was also Master of Ceremonies), the event, called Basant, was a success, attracting over 150 UTM students.
HSC organized this to mark the arrival of the spring season [and] Basant is a festival celebrated throughout South Asia, but has an important cultural aspect in Pakistan, explained HSC president Rohit Dubey. Thus, at HSC we felt the dire need to unite everyone in a bond that is not limited to religion, cast, creed, race or sex.
Furthermore, as part of efforts to reach out to all communities on campus, performances were chosen in such a way in which everyone could relate to. In the process of preparations, the HSC also made sure to promote recycling and eco-friendly material by using recycled material for all their decorations.
When asked about the emphasis on unity, Maryam Masood revealed that much of the decision to celebrate Basant, (celebrated widely in both India and Pakistan) was in light of the recent Mumbai attacks and increasing tension between Pakistan and India. Holding this event at UTM promotes the message that we are one. We should not put ourselves behind unnecessary boundaries which can one day create unwanted hostility.
The event began with a traditional Indian dance performance by Rohit Dubey and Nikitha Paluri and a musical performance by Saad T., Ahsan A., Ashar, Anum R., Utsab D., Rohit Dubey, Arqam P. and Hassan Waqar, who performed a combination of modern guitar- based pop and traditional Indian music. Shortly after that, a customary Indian dinner was served, accompanied by another traditional Indian dance performance by South Asian Alliance members Mayukh Mitra, Rupi Mangat, Rajmeet Chohan, Azima Ihsan, and Karun Pathak.
Towards the end of the evening a raffle was held before the floor was opened for dancing to a unique fusion of modern and traditional Indian music. The event wrapped up around one in the morning.
The South Asian Alliance is looking for dancers to participate in an upcoming dance competition in March. If you are interested, please contact Mayukh at utmdanceteam@ gmail.com.