Being on a campus with such diversity affords us great opportunities to learn about the customs and histories of other cultures, or to celebrate our own. On Friday, the Centre for South Asian Civilizations did just that by holding an event called South Asia Day. The event took place in the CCT Building and allowed students to learn about South Asian culture, admire their peers’ work, and indulge in food.
According to the CSAC, the main purpose of the event was to raise awareness for the South Asian Studies minor program that will be introduced at UTM. The event included a sign board that explained the program, which will be classified under the Department of Historical Studies. South Asia Day also served to anticipate the new Centre for South Asian Civilizations that will open this summer. The centre is described in its proposal as an opportunity to “support research, teaching, and co-curricular engagement in South Asian history, religion, languages, cultures, and civilizations”. The centre is set to open in July.
South Asia Day included a display of student artwork. The art display mainly comprised several delicate watercolour paintings by Fatima Fasih, a fourth-year health sciences and environmental sciences student at UTM. Her expressive paintings were a highlight of the event, depicting people from South Asian cultures of all ages and walks of life. Students could also participate in the tradition of henna body art at a booth. Other displays included information on the tradition of Bollywood films, a variety of South Asian religions, and South Asian calligraphy.
One of the main activities of South Asia Day was the show held in the MiST Theatre. The performances highlighted different styles of traditional South Asian dance and music. From an intimate trio of musicians to the lively dance group calling themselves Rhythm, there were many varied and vibrant facets of South Asian culture.
The festivities offered just a peek at what students can expect from the upcoming South Asian Studies program, which will include an interdisciplinary approach that draws from other departments, including those of historical studies, language studies, political science, and visual studies. South Asia Day’s lively celebration of culture certainly set a positive tone for these new developments at UTM.